The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced all teachers worldwide to look on their lecturers from a new perspective. Due to the measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus, pupils and students had to stay at home, and lectures moved online.
One option, which might become a new reality in universities even after spreading the virus, is the HyFlex course. The term HyFlex is composed of a combination of hybrid learning and flexible learning (Beatty, 2006). HyFlex course is hybrid because lectures take place simultaneously live (face-to-face) and online. Flexibility represents an opportunity for students to decide how and even when they want to attend the lecture (Abdelmalak & Parra, 2016).
HyFlex class, therefore, provides three ways to follow the lecture:
- face-to-face in-person (in a classroom);
- face-to-face via video conference synchronously (online) and
- fully asynchronously (https://ctl.columbia.edu/resources-and-technology/teaching-with-technology/teaching-online/hyflex/).
Beatty (2010) argued for main principles of HyFlex learning:
- students choice (the possibility that individual student can decide how he/she will accompany the lecture – this principle is the most important in the HyFlex environment);
- equivalency (it is necessary to provide instructions that enable the students to participate and progress regardless of his/her choice of how he/she will attend the lectures);
- reusability (principle that students have equitable access to all valuable learning resources (videos, podcasts, discussion board posts and other) regardless of the way of following lectures);
- accessibility (the lecture must be prepared in the way that is accessible for everybody. In case that students don’t have good internet connectivity, there must be another alternative for participation on lecture).
HyFlex learning is student-centered. Student have an active role in the process of learning.
One of the main challenge HyFlex learning
At HyFlex learning, we face the challenge of having the same focus on all students. In this way of learning, professors tend to focus more on one group of students, for example, only physically in the classroom. In this case, they do not focus on students participating online. There are problems with online participating students not hearing the professor, the professor not sharing the screen, the camera not working, when students participating online have any questions, those questions are not addressed etc. On the other hand, we encounter that the professor focuses only on students participating online. In this case, the professor deals with students’ technical problems and does not pay attention to the physically present students. (Bower et al., 2015)
Like, mention before, HyFlex learning can also be performed asynchronously. This means that students can view the material and content that has been recorded. In this way, students face the problem of lack of interaction with professors.
Faced with such problems, there is still a lot of space for development here. More modern technology would certainly help prevent technical problems that may arise during lectures to reduce these problems. From a pedagogical point of view, the solution is to use tools that would be suitable for both types of collaboration, i.e., for physically present and online students.
HyFlex learning also has advantages. One of them is definitely the flexibility of students ’schedules. Research also shows an increase in student participation. Increasing their choice and control in learning also encourages their emotional and cognitive engagement. (Heilporn & Lakhal, 2021)
Abdelmalak, M. M. M., & Parra, J. L. (2016). Expanding learning opportunities for graduate students with HyFlex course design. International Journal of Online Pedagogy and Course Design (IJOPCD), 6(4), 19–37.
Beatty, B. (2006, October). Designing the hyFlex world – hybrid, flexible courses for all students. Paper presented at Association for Educational Communication and Technology International Conference, Dallas, TX.
Beatty, B. (2010). Hybrid courses with flexible participation – the HyFlex design. Draft v2.2. Retrieved from http://itec.sfsu.edu/hyflex/hyflex_course_design_theory_2.2.pdf [Google Scholar]
Bower, M., Dalgarno, B., Kennedy, G.E., Lee, M.J.W., Kenney J. (2015) Design and implementation factors in blended synchronous learning environments: Outcomes from a cross-case analysis. Computers & Education, 86, 1-17.
Heilporn, G. & Lakhal, S. (2021). Converting a graduate-level course into a HyFlex modality: What are effective engagement strategies? The International Journal of Management Education, 19(1), 1-12.