Sof Socratous, Head of Northwest Europe, Poly Hybrid Work Solutions at HP
Prior to the pandemic, hybrid learning was almost unheard of. And while technology was already an important component of the traditional classroom to aid learning, it wasn’t until the pandemic that many educational institutions embraced hybrid learning in order to ensure ongoing education could be provided. This was true regardless of whether you were a daycare facility, or a primary, secondary, or higher education school.
As a result of this shift, school has become more fluid. It’s no longer a fixed location for students. Hybrid learning has become a viable option. But this means learning providers must make sure that the appropriate technologies are in place for students and teachers alike to ensure that everyone’s hybrid learning experiences are equally engaging and immersive.
Creating the best learning experience
But what will these tools and technologies look like? For students learning from busy, noisy homes or shared accommodation, they’ll likely require technology that caters for high levels of noise. For example, they could use active noise cancelling (ANC) headphones to fully engage in the lesson without being distracted by their surroundings.
Educators will also require tools to provide the best learning experience for their students while working from home. This means no interruptions that will cause their students to lose focus. Teachers will want the same freedom to move around and gesture to the board, as they do in a traditional classroom setting. They are frequently limited to a single frame when using cameras on traditional devices such as PCs and laptops.
This can disrupt the hybrid learning experience and cause the class to lose engagement. As a result, they could miss out on important information from the curriculum and may be less productive in class. This problem can be solved by implementing technology such as pro-grade video bars with tracking features. These allow everyone, regardless of location, to have an equal learning experience while remaining engaged and immersed.
Catering to children, teachers, and parents
Hybrid learning is becoming more common and is changing the way students learn. As a result, one of the main concerns parents have is knowing that their children are receiving the same quality of instruction as they did in the physical classroom. Parents must be assured that the experience will have no negative impact on the quality of learning or teaching. To ensure that everyone has an equal learning experience, the appropriate technology must be in place to educate, but to also help parents stay in touch with their children’s educators – and vice versa.
Schools can use technology to communicate with parents and keep them up to date on school news and developments, as well as their child’s academic progress. KORU Independent AP Academy, a London-based alternative provision school for children aged 11 to 16, is an example of a school that has successfully used technology to deliver inclusive remote learning, while also meeting the needs of parents. KORU used technology to deliver a hybrid learning approach that ensured a seamless, consistent experience for any combination of in-class and remote students – all while allowing parents to communicate with educators as needed and participate in virtual parents’ evenings.
Universities have also turned to premium solutions to help minimise distractions and create natural experiences for all. For instance, Aalborg University was one of many universities who had to make the quick shift to hybrid learning during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The restrictions impacted in-person teaching and the university had to seek alternatives for continuing the curriculum. One solution was to equip lecture halls with audio and video conferencing solutions to support hybrid learning. But to do this, Aalborg University had to evaluate spaces to ensure that educators had the right technology so that they could be heard clearly, and move around freely without escaping the camera frame, thus not losing the interest of students. By implementing technologies with NoiseBlockAI and automatic speaker tracking functions on video bars, they could continue to work to deliver a productive, undisrupted, and quality study experience.
Hybrid learning is here to stay. But students’ educational standards do not have to suffer as long as educational institutions use the appropriate technologies. Education is becoming more accessible than ever before as schools become more fluid in their learning environments, with no fixed location for students or educators. However, in order to maintain the same level of teaching quality as in a traditional classroom setting, the appropriate video and audio conferencing solutions must be installed, allowing everyone to have an uninterrupted, engaging, and immersive study experience.