Which is Better: Hybrid or Remote?

Morgan Hastain, News Editor

As we consider moving back to in-person learning in a hybrid form, I believe we must remember that the hybrid model has proved itself to be a more effective way of learning, while also keeping in mind that some students have become more comfortable (for emotional and academic reasons) with remote learning. Although I believe we must move back into hybrid learning, we also have to keep in mind the needs of students who say they learn better remotely. 

According to multiple peer-reviewed studies conducted in the years 2008-2016 by the University of Northern Iowa, hybrid learning has increased student engagement, achievement, and positive perceptions of learning. According to a graduate review submitted by Laura Hesse, an early study conducted by Garrison and Kanuka in 2004 shows that this type of learning requires teachers to think about how to deliver content in a creative, more engaging way. 

“The key difference, according to Garrison and Kanuka, is that teachers cannot just repackage old material and throw it online,” Hesse wrote. “Instead, teachers must rethink how to deliver and receive content to encourage students to think more creatively and more critically.” 

Ms. Vander Werff, a nutrition teacher at Minnechaug, prefers the hybrid model for the fact that, not only does she get to see her students face to face, but because she believes that everyone, teachers and students alike, have learned to be very flexible. 

“I think everyone this year has learned to be very flexible…I really believe that,” she said. “I think both the teachers and students, with the new technology and everything we have to use and do this year, that’s very different than any other year than any of us have ever experienced on such short notice.” 

When done correctly, the hybrid learning model can be very effective for students as well. In addition to the benefits of in-person learning, students will get the chance to develop their social and emotional skills, get physical exercise, and have access to needed meals, internet access, and any forms of counseling if needed. 

Between the reduced motivation and sleep disturbances due to constant screen time, it is no secret that the remote learning model has had negative effects on students. According to a study conducted by the 4-H National Council, around 70% of teenage students reported feeling depressed, anxious, or highly stressed, while 61% reported feeling lonely. 

Claire Robinson, a junior here at Minnechaug, feels as though that remote learning has impacted her mental health. Instead of being able to talk to people, she is forced to deal with it alone, given the circumstances. 

“There’s better days than others, as in everything,” says Robinson. “But I guess when I’m home I’m more dealing with it by myself than being able to talk to everyone else and share what’s going on.” 

Despite its drawbacks, the remote learning model can be beneficial to many students. In addition to preventing the spread of the virus, it allows students to not only strengthen family bonds, but also increase their brainstorming and self-regulation skills, as they need to get their assignments done on time. 

Katherine Bradford, a Minnechaug senior, prefers the remote learning model because it has benefited her mental health, as she feels much more comfortable in her own environment, and is able to help herself when she feels overwhelmed or anxious in any way. 

“When I am at home, I can focus on myself and eat,” said Bradford. “I can do things to help myself if I’m feeling sick or anxious.” 

Though I still prefer hybrid learning, I believe that the situation is not all black and white. It is important to understand that, because everyone is in a different situation, hybrid learning may not be the best choice for everyone. Factors such as bullying, stress, and mental illness can all be major deciding factors in a person’s decision.