Online Learning

5 Benefits of hybrid learning for adults going back to school

Hybrid Learning

The days of a brick-and-mortar education being the only option for college hopefuls are long gone. In fact, the number of college students enrolled in at least one online class climbed from 1.6 million in 2002 to more than 3.3 million in 2016. On the other hand, colleges saw a drop in more than one million on-campus students from 2012 to 2016.

The higher education landscape has been constantly evolving to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student base, including motivated students who may face hurdles in pursuing a traditional college education. Some students need to maintain full-time employment while in school. Others may need to cope with a difficult diagnosis close to home. Colleges and universities have made notable strides to adapt to their growing nontraditional student populations.

One result of this shift is that hybrid and blended learning models are becoming more and more common. In these programs, online learning is combined with a face-to-face classroom environment. There are numerous benefits of hybrid and blended learning for adult students. Join us as we examine the following five.

5 reasons adult learners thrive in a hybrid or blended learning model

Most consider blended and hybrid learning models to be interchangeable. While they do have slight differences, both leverage a mix of in-person and online learning to best meet the needs of busy students. The power of these learning formats lies in the ability to personalize education to meet the individual needs of each student.

That can make both hybrid and blended learning models particularly well-suited for adults who are hoping to head back to college to finish their degrees. If you’re intrigued by the opportunity to embrace a hybrid learning model in your own back-to-school journey, here are five compelling things to consider:

1. You get the flexibility of online learning with the stability of in-class instruction

As a busy adult, you may not be sure you can make going back to college work without some serious flexibility. But rest assured, hybrid and blended learning programs were designed with students like you in mind.

These learning formats give students the ability to, at least to an extent, learn at their own pace. Blended and hybrid models can be arranged so that some of the more complex or hands-on topics can be presented in the traditional classroom setting, while other subject matter can be facilitated online.

2. You may be among the many students who perform better with hybrid learning

If you’re worried about balancing your busy life with your studies in a way that actually lets you succeed in college, you might be interested to learn that blended learning models may actually improve student performance. A recent study found that blended and hybrid learning can actually help boost students’ grades.

Another study from the U.S. Department of Education has reported consistent findings that, while students in online courses performed modestly better than those in face-to-face courses, students in blended learning programs ultimately outperformed all others.

So, what’s behind these findings? Some suggest that presenting information in multiple formats increases knowledge retention. Others point toward the fact that when technology is integrated into learning models, students are more likely to remain interested and focused. In any case, it's evident that this dynamic learning model has its advantages. 

3. You can take ownership over your own learning

Another benefit of hybrid and blended learning models is increased student autonomy. The mix of traditional courses and flexible, online learning can really empower students to take charge of their own goals, track their achievements and seek out their own resources. These are all skills that translate well in the professional world.

The beauty of blended and hybrid learning is that while students are enabled to take ownership over their education, they still receive the steady support and guidance of professors and academic advisors both in person and from a distance online.

4. You can find ways to excel no matter your learning style

Programs that are either fully face-to-face or fully online often face a pivotal struggle in meeting every student’s unique needs. But blended learning models help provide avenues for all students to succeed.

Blended and hybrid learning offer students the unique opportunity to benefit from in-classroom instruction while also giving them the ability to take their lessons home where they can sink in. No matter a student’s learning style or—in the case of nontraditional students like adult learners—particular lifestyle needs, blended learning models offer advantages.

5. You’ll gain additional real-world skills to empower your career

Adult students are uniquely positioned for success in that they’ve spent years working, in the military, parenting or gaining other applicable experience. In doing so, they’ve likely developed a pretty impressive skill set. But maintaining a successful balance in a flexible, and sometimes self-paced, educational environment requires a whole new arsenal of skills.

In hybrid and blended programs, students can obtain an array of new real-world skills that could continue to benefit their careers for years to come. These include things like independent research skills, self-learning, proficient communication across modalities and computer literacy.

Find your success with hybrid learning

As you continue to weigh going back to school, you may be worried about some of the hurdles you could face. Those might become less intimidating when you consider the numerous ways you could find success with a degree.

As an adult learner, you now know how hybrid and blended learning models can benefit students like you. If you’re feeling empowered to take the next step, it’s time to start researching your options. Explore all of University of Massachusetts Global’s flexible learning options and take this quiz to determine which best fits your lifestyle.


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