The Internet is changing the way we live in a number of ways. Just 10 years ago, the idea of taking a course online was a novel concept. Now, almost every major university offers online courses, with many of them delivering entire degrees online. Students have more educational choices than ever before, from flexible course scheduling to a variety of formats of study. Hybrid learning, the newest trend in online education, blends the flexibility of online learning with the benefits of in-class learning.

Online Classes Vs. Hybrid Courses

Online courses are those classes that are delivered entirely online. Students study via chat rooms, web cam and message board. Hybrid courses take the benefits of online learning and combine them with traditional in-class learning. These courses allow you to use the skills that you have learned in the classroom and apply them to real-life scenarios. In addition to building valuable relationships in class, you will become proficient in the technology that will give you the edge in the workplace.

Varieties of Hybrid Learning

Hybrid learning can be defined in a number of ways. In some cases, hybrid learning refers to online activities that complement their in-class learning objectives. An example of this is an in-class marketing course that requires the student to perform a portion of their coursework via webinar. These webinars with professionals in the field reinforce the learning that has been delivered in the classroom.

Another type of hybrid learning is the degree program that combines a blend of both online courses and in-class courses. In this format, some courses are delivered completely online while others are delivered completely in-class. This allows students to complete challenging courses in an in-person format, allowing them to take advantage of interaction with peers and professors. The remaining courses are delivered in an online only format, allowing students the benefit of studying remotely.

How Hybrid Courses Differ From Online Only Courses

While some courses may have an online component, their Web-based delivery format is a complement, not a replacement of in-class learning. Students meet for in-class courses while completing only a portion of their study online. True hybrid courses blend the components of both. As a general rule of thumb, an in-class course has to deliver more of 20 percent of its content online to be considered a hybrid course. Classes that deliver less than that amount are considered Web-enhanced courses.

To be considered a true online course, 100 percent of its coursework has to be delivered online. While many brick and mortar colleges may offer an in-class orientation prior to the start of the course, the entire coursework is delivered online. An online course is conducted remotely, with all exams, assignments and discussions delivered via the Web.

Benefits of Online and Hybrid Courses

There are benefits to both hybrid and online only courses. Online only courses are invaluable for students who live too far from the campus to study in class. Their flexible scheduling is ideal for adult learners who often have to juggle classwork with the needs of family and career. Hybrid courses allow students the benefit of relationship building, which is valuable to career success. The course you choose depends largely on your learning needs.

The Web has revolutionized the way we learn. With many colleges offering a variety of online and hybrid courses, there is a wide variety of learning choices at your disposal.

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