After AT&T’s* 2021 Future of School Report indicated that most teachers would support hybrid learning models going forward, how likely is this as Covid enters the endemic stage?
9 Out OF 10 Support Hybrid Learning
AT&T’s Spring 2021 report, based on the responses of US teachers showed that 94 per cent of teachers were open to the idea of hybrid learning with the proper resources, curriculum, and support. The report also showed that almost 8 out of 10 teachers (78 per cent) and 84 per cent of parents supported virtual tutoring or enrichment programs.
That said, the same report showed that almost half of teachers found it challenging to learn to use the hybrid learning technology, and wanted a curriculum better suited for hybrid or online teaching.
In the UK, it has been noted that although the rapid digitisation of education was necessary during the pandemic restrictions, it left those families with a lack of suitable resources or home learning environments at a big disadvantage. For example, a British Academy report highlighted a widening “gap based on socioeconomic background” which “widens as education progresses, with the result being poorer students an average of 18 months behind their peers by GCSE age”. The same report highlighted another inequality, with 74 per cent of privately educated students having received full virtual school days, compared to only 38 per cent of state educated pupils.
At Best A Partial Substitute?
An ONS report from June 2021 agreed with the idea that remote learning during the pandemic did lead to inequalities and challenges. The report commented that Remote learning was, at best, partial substitute for in-class teaching during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and that “pupils covered substantially less material when working from home than their peers in the classroom, according to teacher assessments”.
Many education and tech commentators believe, however, that schools did the best they could in the situation, adapted well, and that with investment, virtual learning has a place in school education.
Although university students broadly seem to have found the flexibility offered by remote and hybrid learning beneficial, as restrictions have been lifted, the real value appears to be coming from universities now being able to offer a mix of face-to-face seminars, online lectures, and timetables going forward.
One other factor that may be considered for change following the the experience of students and schools in the pandemic is how learning assessments are carried out. It may be the case that the high-stakes end of course, big exams are replaced by are teacher-driven formative assessments that make greater use of technology.
What Does This Mean For Your Organisation?
At the moment in the UK, one of the big challenges of recent months has been how to manage staff shortages due to Covid infections. Hybrid learning / blended learning is certainly one option to help tackle this issue, and a more flexible approach is also something that the government is advising. The learning from digital transformations that occurred over the pandemic is likely to be here to stay and this means that schools, colleges, and universities are now more prepared and able to offer hybrid/blended options depending on how Covid, or other disruptive factors behave in the future.