The technological innovations from the past 20 years have caused real transformations in our society, impacting the way we behave, think, consume and organize ourselves as a community.

The hyperconnected generation of today does not go to school seeking for information. All they need to know is one click away of them. More aware of their preferences and with new learning demands, they no longer fit into a conventional classroom, with the traditional 50-minute class and a short break between subjects. It is the era of tutorials, interdisciplinarity, real time videos, collaborative construction, open licenses and codes, gamification on learning and even work.

Therefore we will immerse in the Hybrid Learning universe, a methodology that has been tested, modified and improved in recent decades to meet the needs of the new generation of students (and educators!), which stimulates entrepreneurial culture, creativity and the search for solutions. Always on the move, just like the new times.

The traditional model:

From leisure to production

School: public or private institution whose purpose is to offer collective education; teachers, students and staff of an educational institution; building where this institution operates.

Skholè: leisure, free discussion.

The word school evolved from the Latin word schola which, in turn, originates in the word skholè, from Greek. The term is the same used to define leisure and refers to the generation of knowledge from a free and fluid discussion model, with organic learning pace and format. But at what point in history did the concept and experience of school begin to pull away from its original meaning ? Let's go back a little bit in time...

Brief History of Schools

The earliest forms of teaching started in 4,000 BC with the Sumerians in the region of Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Teaching was practiced at home and within the community in an informal way, having parents as the main responsible for transmitting knowledge focused on survival and the perpetuation of cultural standards. Agriculture, astronomy and commercial practices started the cuneiform writing (writing with wedge-shaped objects), used to register harvest seasons, river flood season and other important aspects for community life and for the dynamics of the first towns and cities.

It was only around 387 BC in Ancient Greece - birthplace of Western civilization and modern pedagogy - that the school model as we know began to be forged. Aimed at teaching the elites, schools were not intended for vocational or manual labor education. Rather, they were places for discussion of themes related to arts, philosophy, politics and arithmetics, with the objective of educating the intellectual and leading class of society.
It was also back then that the figure of the teacher was instituted. Philosophers, called masters, usually met with a group of up to five apprentices to teach human virtues and ethics. The teaching aimed at integral formation, which involved body and spirit, preparing men for the exercise of citizenship and social interaction.

The learning spaces were also the most varied - education happened at sports arenas, theaters, through group activities, political meetings and architecture, for example.

But at what point in history did the concept and school practice begin to distance itself from its original meaning?
Teaching the masses

The growing complexity of trade and economic practices has had a significant impact on the educational model and since 1750, as a result of the Industrial Revolution, the priority of formal education has become training workers to operate in factories and industries.

Large-scale and standardized production has created the demand for laborers with at least a basic level of instruction to operate the machines. At the same time, bourgeoisie began to see schools as a powerful tool to control and discipline working masses.

The great secret of education is to direct the vanity to the proper objectsAdam Smith

In order for teaching to reach as many people as possible in the most standardized way possible, the logic of industrial production was brought into the classroom. Many students in class, chairs lined up, almost exclusively expositive classes, little interaction and silence during classes. The rest is history ... and we all know it well.

A much needed

(and urgent!) renovation

Little or almost no update was made on the teaching model throughout the history of modern education. In most schools the content continues to be transmitted in lectures, having the teacher in the center of attention and as the main responsible for learning, with little space for an active participation of students.

Universities were founded in Western Europe in 1050 and lecturing has been the predominant form of teaching ever sinceScott Freemanprofessor at the University of Washington.

The new generations

The rapid technological evolution in the last decades has been changing the way we consume, relate to each other and, of course, learn. With each generation, the consequences of technology reflect more intensely in the behavior of young people and their demands in the classroom, creating a huge challenge for teachers and education institutions.

Generation Y, of people born between the 1980s and the mid-1990s, watched closely the democratization of Internet and the transition from analogue to digital. Personal computers, portable games, digital cameras, cell phones (and right afterwards smartphones), the first blogs ... all of that was part of generation Y’s teenage years, which is now in the job market.

These young people demanded some changes and around the 1990s the term Hybrid Learning began to be discussed as an alternative to the traditional model of education. The generation that is currently in the schools, called generation Z, however, was born connected and is hardly able to set their online and offline lives apart. A renovation of the teaching model has, therefore, become a way one road.

Generation Z

Hybrid Learning:

what is it and what are the possibilities

Hybrid: made by combining
distinct or disparate elements.>>>

What, after all, is Hybrid Learning? Unlike many people believe, Hybrid Learning is not just the simple combination of face-to-face and online lectures. It is based on the mix of varied techniques and methodologies and online and offline platforms that make the learning process richer, more attractive and more effective.

One of its fundamentals is personalization which, not coincidentally, is also one of the premises of digital consumerism. Personalization and experience or, even better, personalized experiences - are fundamental elements for young people also in education.

Some students have more ability to concentrate, others have more diffused attention, some are more practical, some are theoretical, some prefer to chose their own study schedule, others need help to establish a routine ... If people are different, why should teaching be always the same? Hybrid Learning believes that the paths to building knowledge are multiple and must take into account the pace, personality and different realities within the classroom, becoming a unique learning experience for each student.

CustomizationConnectedExperienceDiversityDigitalVídeosYouthHybrid TeachingGeneration ZAutonomyFreedom

To ensure dynamism and diversity, activities can be divided into different moments:

'Hands on' projects
Guided tours
Field research
Digital platforms
In addition, students can work alone or in groups and also rotate between learning stations (see the rotational models here)
The most important thing is that everything is strategically combined to improve learning.

Hybrid Learning also brings some changes to teachers’ role. If before the teacher occupied a prominent place - often on a stage, literally! - and was seen as the exclusive owner of information, now his role is as facilitator agent in the collective construction of knowledge. That makes the teacher-student relationship closer and helps students feel more confident and active agents of learning.

The use of digital platforms can be done both inside and outside the classroom. Many softwares, apps and games already offer complete teaching solutions, with resources for classes or for individual development. In addition to task automation and workflow organization, one of the great benefits of these tools for teachers is the possibility of having detailed reports of each student's performance. That allows them to act more quickly on each other's weaknesses by offering more help and resources or redirecting the learning journey, if that is the case.

For students, digital resources mean more interaction and autonomy, since they can choose when and how to learn and are free to do and redo activities when they feel the need. Autonomy ends up having another good side effect: increasing student's sense of responsibility as they feel they are protagonists of their own journey.

Many of the digital tools are thought of in social networking format, which brings an even more interesting component to learning: the possibility to follow-up and exchange experiences with colleagues throughout the process.

Gamification is another methodology that has become a trend among digital education tools. The term refers not only to including educational games in learning but using the logic of the games (progression in phases, narrative, individual or group missions, bonuses etc.) in other activities, with the intention to avoid tedious lessons and engage students.

Hybrid education opens the horizon for customization with technology as an ally.The Lemann Foundation

Benefits of Hybrid Teaching:

customizationautonomycollaborationteam workdynamismdiversity

Hybrid models

There are four Hybrid Learning models categorized by the Clayton Christensen Institute, a reference institution for the subject.

flexIn the Flex model, learning happens almost entirely in online environments, which direct students to offline activities at times. The scripts are individualized and it is important that both teacher and student are in the same locality.

A la carteThe A La Carte model combines classes in traditional schools with online courses, which can be carried out inside or outside educational institutions.

Enriched VirtualIn the Enriched Virtual model student's experience happens full time within the school. The difference is that each course requires, in addition to face-to-face activities, remote dedication in study or online exercises.

RotationThe rotation model consists of four other submodels.

Station RotationThe Station Rotation methodology encourages the work in a kind of circuit in the classroom, with different workstations and at least one of them equipped with digital resources. Students take turns, alone or in small groups, between them and the idea is for everyone to participate in the whole circuit at the end of class. The activities should be independent of each other, but all should work, from different perspectives, on a main theme.

Lab RotationThe Lab Rotation model also works with alternation logic. However, students only alter between two different environments: the classroom - or another place with similar dynamics chosen by the teacher - and an environment with activities on digital media.

Individual RotationIn this model, the rotation path is defined from an individualized script, created especially to meet the needs of the student. It is not necessary to participate in all activities, only those that are pertinent to each one.

Flipped ClassroomInstead of being exposed to the class theme for the first time at school, in the Flipped Classroom model the student has the responsibility of researching the subject before - in his or her own references or the ones indicated by the teacher. That way, students actively elaborate the lesson, sharing the learned concepts with colleagues and teacher, who work as a guide to the construction of knowledge collectively. In a third moment, students return to research outside the classroom, this time to deepen and consolidate the learned concepts.

Main challenges

The main challenges to Hybrid Learning dissemination and adoption in Brazil are related to the access to technology, especially in public schools, and training teachers.

Although the scenario has changed positively in recent years, there is still a great inequality in the number of high school, elementary and basic education schools that count on a computer lab. Sometimes schools are actually equipped with computers, but they do not have access to internet or to a fast connection - which is fundamental to use the resources and platforms. The devices are still outdated and in many cases not portable, which hampers the dynamics in different places.

Click here to access the 2016 School Census

The adoption of a hybrid methodology also requires more of the teachers. In order to deal with the new technologies and their fast changes, they must seek continuous training and be always in touch with digital trends.

It is also important for educators to be aware that it is not enough to simply transpose traditional lessons into online platforms. It is necessary to adapt the teaching methodology to new media, to different niches of students who occupy the same classroom and, finally, to each individual learning journey. That requires more time and dedication when planning the activities. You have to break paradigms, think "out of the box."

Planning classes also becomes more dynamic. Because digital tools give virtually immediate feedback on all activities, teachers have the challenge of reviewing their planning all the time, improving strategies, adding new features or changing the pace of teaching.

An excellent infrastructure, therefore, is not enough: changing school culture does not happen overnight and requires places for group experimentation and reflection to have an effectLilian BacichPh.D. in School Psychology and Human Development and co-author of the book Hybrid Teaching.

Experiences and inspirations:

what has worked in Brazil

Carioca Experimental Gymnasium (RJ)

The Station Rotation model has been applied in the Carioca Experimental Gymnasium, a network of schools created by the City Hall of Rio de Janeiro in 2011. Mathematics and science contents, for example, are taught together in the 7th grade as follows:

1st station:math and science content.
2nd station:one student challenges the other with two mixed questions about the animal kingdom and decimal numbers.
3rd and 4th stations:activities on computers.
5th station:activity for those who finished the tasks ahead of time. The student can put on a monitor badge and help colleagues or read science journals.

EDIFORPII School, of the Municipal network of Ferraz de Vasconcelos (SP)Watch the testimony
Emílio Carlos Municipal School (RJ)Watch the testimony
Loyola College (BH)Watch the testimony

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