What Are Hybrid Courses? And Should You Take Them?

What does a hybrid class mean? Hybrid courses blend online learning and in-person instruction. Read our guide to see if a hybrid class is right for you.
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  • Hybrid classes combine face-to-face learning and remote learning.
  • You may consider taking a hybrid class if you're seeking more scheduling flexibility.
  • A hybrid course is a great choice for you if you value face-to-face time in addition to flexibility.

Hybrid courses have been around for many years, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, there was a massive acceleration in online learning. Many colleges and universities transitioned to full-time remote learning, and it became clear that the future of education would involve both in-person and remote learning models.

Hybrid learning has become a new normal for students and educators. According to a Barnes and Noble post-pandemic report, many students (49%) prefer a hybrid class format over an entirely in-person or online program.

So, what does "hybrid class" mean? We’ll break down the meaning of hybrid classes and how they work to help you decide if you should take them.

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Hybrid Class Meaning

A hybrid class is a learning approach that combines traditional in-person classroom teaching and remote learning. Educational institutions approach hybrid learning in different ways, so your experience might differ from a student attending another school.

Flexibility and mixed learning to support diverse learners are key features of hybrid classes. The hybrid learning model blends multiple learning formats and might involve face-to-face, asynchronous, and synchronous learning.

For example, online learning activities may include discussions, peer reviews, and quizzes. In-person sessions may include individual presentations and collaborative work.

How Do Hybrid Classes Work in College?

When you enroll in a hybrid class in college, you’ll generally attend class on specific days and times for what’s known as contact hours, or in-person sessions. Then, you’ll complete the remaining work on your school’s online platform.

The percentage of time spent in each component depends on the course, institution, and other factors. An example split is 50% in-person, and the remaining instruction is delivered through online courses.

The Benefits and Challenges of Hybrid Courses

Hybrid courses blend the best of both worlds, but these courses may not be right for you. Here are some benefits and challenges of hybrid classes.

Benefit #1: Greater Flexibility and Access

Hybrid courses give you more freedom, flexibility, and access than traditional learning programs. You can access your course materials at your convenience, which can be beneficial for balancing other obligations like work and family time.

Benefit #2: Diverse Learning and Personalization

Hybrid classes cater to various learning styles and preferences and give you more autonomy over your education. You can engage with course materials in the way that you learn best. If you’re a visual learner, you can review course slides often. If you’re an auditory learner, you can rewatch lectures.

Challenge #1: Less Engagement

Unlike traditional learning, hybrid learning limits real-time interaction with your instructor and other students. If you thrive off social interaction and find it challenging to connect with your teacher and peers, you may become less engaged in a hybrid course over time.

Challenge #2: Time Management

Hybrid learning requires self-discipline and good time-management skills. If time management isn't your strength, completing online work on your own might be challenging. If you struggle with passiveness or procrastination, you can become overwhelmed and fall behind on your assignments.

Hybrid Classes vs. Hybrid Programs

Hybrid classes and hybrid programs are blended learning models incorporating face-to-face learning and online learning. Do your research and consult with an advisor before enrolling in a program.

A hybrid class is a great option if you’re a campus-based student and want to add an online class to your schedule for more flexibility.

Hybrid programs are undergraduate, graduate, or certificate programs that mix a variety of formats, including hybrid, online, and face-to-face. If you prefer to complete most of your program online with few in-person requirements, a hybrid program might be the way to go.

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Are Hybrid Courses Right for You?

Whether or not a hybrid course is right for you boils down to your learning preferences and specific lifestyle needs. You should consider a hybrid course if you:

  • Want to save on college expenses such as transportation costs
  • Need some flexibility to learn on your own time
  • Prefer some face-to-face interaction with your instructor and peers
  • An independent learner with excellent time-management skills
  • Have the technological tools you need to succeed
  • Have great communication skills

Frequently Asked Questions About Hybrid Courses

What is the meaning of an asynchronous hybrid course?

Asynchronous hybrid courses blend in-person and online learning. With this course, you attend face-to-face instruction on specific days and times to engage with your instructor and classmates.

The online component involves asynchronous learning. You can access course materials and pre-recorded lectures on your own time. Although attending live online lectures is not mandatory, you still must complete assigned work by specific deadlines.

What does "blended hybrid class" mean?

A blended hybrid class means learning takes place in a blended format: online instruction and in-person teaching. The cadence of your class time vs. remote learning is based on the syllabus and course requirements.

The online instruction may be asynchronous, synchronous, or a mix of both. Lectures and exams may take place on specified days and times (synchronous), or you can watch them on your own schedule (asynchronous). Instructors may even teach in-person students and remote students simultaneously.

Are hybrid classes online?

Hybrid classes are online, but they are not the same as fully remote classes. Hybrid classes have an online component, but you must attend face-to-face, in-person class sessions. The time split between the two will differ by institution, but the percentage of time you spend in each modality ranges between 25% and 75%.

For example, you may be required to attend a lecture on campus once a week and then complete other coursework and activities online.

Note: The insights on this page were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges. Page last reviewed November 10, 2023.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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