What is the difference between hybrid and blended learning?

What is the difference between hybrid and blended learning? That was one of the key topics in the webinar Hybrid learning, license to skill DIGITALLY of Vet4Europe. Roberto Prieto Chief Education Officer of EIT Digital explained his global vision on this matter for professional education. “Hybrid and blended learning concepts are used interchangeable, but they are not identical.”

That the concepts of hybrid and blended learning often are mixed up, is understandable. After all, both styles of teaching incorporate traditional styles of learning with technology which brings the advantages of flexibility, accessibility, and scalability.

Yet the concepts are not identical. According to Prieto in the Hybrid model, the participants can choose to physically attend the classes partly or completely or follow them on screen from any location also partly or completely. “The hybrid model is a combination of face to face and online instruction, mixing traditional styles of teaching and learning with online teaching practices. Hybrid learning seeks to find a balance that ensures the best experience for students needs via any possible learning technique.”

Blended learning on the other hand is a split model between online classes and actual classes: it is and-and.  A blended course is fully online and fully physical. “In the blended model a face-to-face interaction is key part of education that cannot be provided online or via other digital means.” Usually in blended learning instructions are being given online to complement and supplement the face-to-face classes. “Unlike hybrid learning, blended learning does not compromise on the unique aspects of face-to-face interactions”, says Prieto.

In his presentation, named Upskilling and reskilling professionals: blended & hybrid education, Prieto pleas for vocational education to be blended or hybrid to keep the interactivity. “A classroom environment remains essential within professional education and beyond.”

The presentation was part of the webinar Hybrid learning, license to skill DIGITALLY held on 7 July and broadcasted on Vet4Europe, a hub for VET Professionals in Europe which is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. The webinar is hosted for the project VET European Networking Enhancement - in short VENHANS - that is about promoting excellence and quality in Vocational Education and Training (VET).

EIT Digital Professional School

Prieto has a lot of experience in online learning models since they are being used at the EIT Digital Entrepreneurial Academy for more than ten years. The EIT Digital Professional School, a collaboration of renowned academy and business partners, is based on a blended learning model. With the portfolio of customisable courses, the school aims to train European professionals who need to learn how to use digital technologies for their business strategies. “We want to provide them with skills to drive digital transformation”, says Prieto when asked.  According to EIT Digital’s philosophy, any company should know which and how emerging technologies impact its business and adjust its strategy based on that knowledge.  

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Co-Funded by the European Union