Hyflex Learning…Will it work?

In our breakout room we pondered what Hyflex learning was. It was a brief discussion as it happened just as the room was coming to a close. We simply mentioned we had not heard of it and were curious what it was. When I saw that it was one of our blog prompts it seemed like a no brainer to do some research and see what I could come up with. Basically it is a learning model that combines face-to-face and online learning. According to 7 Things You Should Know About the HyFlex Course Model article, it states that “the lessons are taught in-person, synchronously online, and asynchronously online.” This provides students with a selection of how they want to learn based on their preferred learning style. This also allows for the course to be student-directed and provides them with some flexibility. This type of learning is currently found in Universities over public schools.

A set up for this model could follow the design mentioned in the What is HyFlex Course Design? article. This shows how students determine when they will complete assignments and also demonstrates a combination of online work and face-to-face meetings.

“While there are different practicing definitions of HyFlex, I worked on a grant that focused on flexible attendance with due dates. Students can choose to attend face-to-face meetings and earn weekly participation points or complete equivalent work online and earn participation points. There are due dates for the online set of materials to ensure students stay on task.To prepare students for the face-to-face meeting or online activities, they have Before Class Work (BC), which closes on a specific date. The next set of activities is in-class work or in-lieu of in-class (online work). Once in-class or in-lieu of in-class is complete, they have after-class assignments to bring the weeks objectives together (AC). Both sets of activities (in-class or in-lieu of class) will cover the same objectives, but the format is different, and the activities will reflect the difference in format—online versus face-to-face.”

This is one example of how a professor used this model, it is not the only way. Throughout the course it is important to provide your students with feedback as they work through the outcomes. A formative assessment at the end of each module provides students with a voice about what they learned and how effective it was. Clear communication is key to success.
Here is Dr. Jenni Hayman, Chair of Teaching and Learning at Cambrian College in Sudbury Ontario discussing how they have used HyFlex Learning amid the Coronavirus Outbreak.

Source

HyFlex Pros…

I think if I was writing this post a year ago, it would have a very different perspective. This past year due to Covid we have been forced to take our schooling online. This has changed the way outcomes are met and how classes may be administered in the future. This experience may have prepared public schools to learn how to use a HyFlex approach in their schools. It will allow for students, that for whatever reason are require to stay at home for extended periods of time, can keep up with their studies. This type of format may help students with special needs. It may help students with anxiety that struggle with attending school and being face-to-face on a consistent basis. It simply provides options for students to finish their studies.

HyFlex Cons…

I think one of the biggest challenges will be the digital divide. Do the students have devices that they can use to access the course content? Do students have internet access at home to use the devices if the school supplies them? Do the students have the knowledge to use the technology to complete the online component? For example a newcomer may not be familiar with using a computer and this could be very challenging for them. If we are teaching in the primary grades, we may require the parents to help out with the online part and that may not be possible due to work and other circumstances. Some teachers may not have the knowledge to create online lessons plans so there is a lot of extra training and time required for the planning of this type of learning. There are privacy issues that need to be considered and finally as stated in the 7 things we should know article, ” HyFlex places more responsibility for learning on students, and some lack the skills, maturity, and self-motivation to succeed in such an environment”

In the end, I think the Hyflex model has some really great ideas. Blending face-to-face and an online component seems to be the direction we are headed. What that looks like exactly after the Covid dust settles (hopefully) who knows. I know I missed some pros and cons, I would love to hear some that you feel should be included. I think a blended learning approach is more likely our future but I am not sure it will look like the HyFlex approach but hey, I could be wrong! What do you think?

7 thoughts on “Hyflex Learning…Will it work?

  1. Jocelyn, reading for blog post for this week was very interesting to me, as our thought process and ideas of what Hyflex Learning is and can do to the world of education aligns quite well. This new type of learning has just recently come about and is starting to mold university classes and I would not be surprised if we start to see this trickling down and being an option for high schools and even elementary. I am also in agreeance with you on what that will look like post Covid-19 as the future is unknown. However, it excites me to know that I will not be alone with learning the ropes of this “new and innovative” teaching and learning platform. While delving into this topic a little more, I came across an article from UBC and it gives a detailed description of the implementation of a Hyflex teaching approach. I tried to add link in, but of course, my ‘tech savvy” self cannot seem to figure it when responding in the comment section on your page. The information is quite fascinating, as it goes through where the learning took place, what the instruction looked like and so many other great ideas to aid in best practices for 21st century education.

    On a final note, as a young educator in my seventh Masters course, I see both the need coupled with the incredible rewards that collaborative practice with colleagues has done. As long as we continue to stay close together, whether we are online or teaching face-to-face, the education we are providing our learners’ will be as effective, if not more than it has in the recent years. Change is hard but being flexible and open to new ideas to enhance the learning and engagement of our students is where knowledge, power and creativity unfolds.

    Thanks for sharing, Jocelyn!

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    1. Like you, I feel excited about what things might look like post covid! I do agree that change is hard but sometimes it is for the better. We may not see it now but looking back hopefully we see some positives. I guess until we see how it all unfolds we really won’t know what change has come! Thanks for commenting.

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  2. Pingback: To flex or not to flex – CATHERINE READY

  3. Hi Jocelyn,

    Thanks for sharing your insights into Hyflex learning. I too was intrigued when I was introduced to the idea last week.

    I think one pro of hyflex learning that is relevant, especially given our Covid experiences, is that it allows for students to stay home when they are sick and keep learning. Prior to Covide we were used to going to school or work when we had a cold or after a day or two of sick time at home for something more serious, even if we still had symptoms, because we did not want to get behind. This as we now see is a health risk for all of those around us. It is healthier and makes more sense to stay home and rest until our bodies are fully recovered. Hyflex learning, when it works, could make this possible without the issue of falling behind.

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    1. I never really thought about the benefits of this when it comes to illness. I do agree that we often go to school when we are sick because we do not miss something. Teachers too. It is more work to create a sub plan than it is to just suck it up and go to school. That idea will change tho with having the ability to create lessons online. On that note the subplans might also improve. I know there have been times I have woke up feeling terrible and had to rush to the school at 6:00 AM to quickly create a subplan for my little guys. Having the ability to create a few lessons on google classroom or whatever platform you use makes this a lot easier to do.

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  4. catherineready

    Hi Jocelyn! Great post on HyFlex learning! I was trying to figure out what to write about this week, and your post definitely put me in this direction. I think you highlight a very important point regarding the digital divide. The HyFlex model depends on everyone having access to a device and Internet. Can you imagine trying to teach in this model? While it sounds great as a student, I think it would be incredibly challenging for the teacher to plan material that is engaging for the synchronous and asynchronous learners. I am curious if this model with make it’s down to the K-12 world. Great post, and thank you for encouraging me to explore this model of learning!

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed my post! I do think this would be challenging to do in at an elementary level but maybe it is doable at the high school level. I guess we will have to see what comes post covid to see how much online learning sticks around!

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