Hybrid Classroom A Concept Paper

Presented to: Mahmood Sadiq, Chairman University of South Asia

This papers examines different classrooms layouts and their impact on students and teachers in different traditional, synchronous (Distance) and asynchronous (Virtual) learning environments with detailed design and architectural analysis and finally concludes with the new and multipurpose classroom model named as Hybrid Classroom to be used as Virtual Classroom, Studio Classroom, Traditional Classroom and Interactive Multimedia Classroom.

Technology is reshaping the world setting transnational models and connecting communities at instance of a click. This whole technological revolution is taking place where E-Village/s is becoming the most important component of Global Village theory.

A natural concept of learning is that it takes place everywhere, anytime and any place because human thirst for knowledge always inspires him to know more and more and to know until last exploration of human beings, which his/her end of time.

We are dependent on our environments because we learn from them. We don’t control environments because we are retrieved from them. Hence the best environment is that which matches to the principles of natural consciousness, imagination and reflection where more learning activities and strategies mean more diversity, and more diversity means more learning. By combing technology and educational philosophy and refining the architectural design we can define an artificial environment close to natural environment of learning related to human behavior, cognition and construction.

In the rush to the distance learning markets, universities have not always been careful to take into account the lessons learned from the centuries of higher education. Many of these programs are driven by technology and not pedagogy. Technology is a powerful driving force that must be reckoned with, but centuries of history and the recent research coming out of the cognitive sciences on how human beings learn will have much to say about where this technology will take us.

For the virtual university to be successful, it will have to replace the traditional modes of distance learning such as satellite video, tele-training keypad response systems, and interactive video conferencing with a much more robust educational model. Our goal is to provide the distant learner with as much of the studio experience as possible. In this model of interactive multimedia distance learning, one creates a virtual studio with students connected together over a network that carries data, voice, and video to the students’ computers. Each student has access to multimedia materials created for the course and delivered from CD-ROM or across the network. In short, we plan to take the Hybrid Classroom to the distance!

Part of any virtual classroom will be synchronous activity in which the students and instructors interact through live voice and video while working together with a synchronous collaborative software package. Part of any virtual classroom will be asynchronous activity, or activities done at the students’ own time and pace. The actual mix of synchronous and asynchronous activity will be adjusted to suit each course and audience. The more of the course that is conducted asynchronously the more flexible the course can become.

What is to prevent the course from becoming fully asynchronous? If we are to fulfill the desire for anytime/anyplace education then a fully asynchronous course sounds quite desirable. Why should students be bound to a particular time, if not a particular place? There are many efforts underway to do just that. Interactivity is included through asynchronous use of email, news groups, or other electronic discussion modalities.

Our work indicates to us that a course in which most of the activity is asynchronous but which includes regular synchronous meetings might be effective, flexible and efficient. Perhaps 10-20% of the course activity could be synchronous. The synchronous activity also allows one to incorporate the discussion, small group projects, and role-playing that are so important to student learning. This model referred to as the 80/20 Model.

In our experience an effective interactive multimedia distance-learning environment will have the following characteristics:

  1. Delivery on standards based multimedia PC’s equipped for live video/audio interactions and connected to a robust ip multi-casting network.
  2. A mix of synchronous and asynchronous activity.
  3. Use of Web and/or CD-ROM based multimedia materials.
  4. Use of professional quality software tools for CAD, symbolic math, spreadsheets, word processing, etc.
  5. Live audio and/or video interactions among the students and with faculty.
  6. Email interactions among the students and faculty.
  7. Small group discussions.
  8. Collaborative software for application sharing over the network.
  9. Access to rich resources on the network.
  10. Ability to “pass the floor” to students to allow them to lead the class through an activity.
  11. Course administration software to track student progress.
  12. Classes with a mix of students in traditional and workplace settings.
  13. Classes with a global perspective and global audience.

A number of organizations have deployed hybrid systems that have a portion of the course delivered asynchronously and a portion synchronously. The particular proportions can be adjusted to be appropriate for the content, the audience, and the instructor’s preferences. At RAD CORPORATION, we often refer to this as the 80-20 model, because 80% asynchronous and 20% synchronous is often our starting point in the design. The 20% synchronous can be done by web based audio, video, and collaborative data sharing using live on-line tools. The actual percentage can be selected to be small enough to be efficient and flexible and provide for student access, but large enough to increase the success rate for students enrolled. The number 20% is not a magic number, but is adjusted based upon the audience and material. These hybrid approaches that use both synchronous and asynchronous learning techniques are often referred to as Hybrid Classroom and Hybrid Virtual University introduced by RAD CORPORATION.

Difference between Traditional and Hybrid Classroom Models

Traditional Classroom

  1. Quality instructors Required every time to teach same lecture
  2. Economically unfeasible
  3. No or mere technology integration
  4. No more space to implement dynamic educational strategies hence resulting poor process of learning based on limited activities
  5. Educational System is always dependant on Quality Instructors hence resulting Quality Faculty Shortage in overall system
  6. Uncontrolled Learning Environment with intangible measures
  7. Improper feedback system to ensure quality of instructions and student learning outcomes

Hybrid Classroom

  1. Quality instructors Required Once to Teach the lecture which is delivered on any kind of media, at anyplace and anytime
  2. Economically Feasible
  3. Real-time Learning with the help of latest Technology Integration which enhances learning
  4. Maximum Educational Strategies Implementation, Resulting Maximum Activities and diversifying whole process of learning on a focal point. More Strategies means more activates, more activates means diversity, and more diversity means more knowledge
  5. Educational System is not always dependant on Quality Instructors. Mentors required in Educational System after design and development of Instructions.
  6. Controlled Learning Environment with tangible measures
  7. Proper feedback system to ensure quality of instructions and student learning outcomes
  8. Active Learning Process. Student Seek out information, get self-motivated, work hard while faculty stay at rest.
  9. Learning is entertaining and interactive rather than passive.
  10. Sound, music, visuals, movement and talking encourages users to participate in the learning process and stay with the program once they’ve started it.
  11. Multi-sensory input provides more opportunities for engagement, interest, motivation, and retention.
  12. The Web allows us to overcome the limits of time. The time-independent nature of Web materials allows anyone to have access to materials whenever they are needed and from anywhere.
  13. Cognitive Distribution
  14. The “Client-Server” model.
  15. Connecting students, instructors, and resources into a rich interacting community of learners.
  16. Peer Teaching
  17. Cooperative Learning
  18. Student-student as well as student-instructor and student-resource interactions
  19. Synchronous as well as asynchronous
  20. Video/Audio/ and Multimedia interactions
  21. The real “World Wide Web”