Distance vs. Hybrid Learning at Imagine Prep Surprise


Hybrid classrooms have spread out seating and students working on computers.

Here at Imagine Prep this year, the school is doing something they have never done before. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, online distance learning has been taking place since Aug. 5. Hybrid learning has been taking place since Sept. 21. Students had the choice to continue doing distance learning, or to come to school twice a week for hybrid learning. There are quite a few advantages and disadvantages for both of these new additions for the school.

The new addition of online learning has been a success for some students. One advantage of online learning is that it is very flexible. You’re able to study any time that you want and work with whoever you want. Distance learning gives you the flexibility to spend time with others, spend time on work, or other extracurricular activities. For those who have a busy schedule and have to go to many places in a day, online learning may be a good thing for them to try out. Another advantage is that you bring education right to your home. You’re able to customize your learning environment to the way that makes you feel comfortable, and to the way that helps you succeed. This also means that you have better opportunities to concentrate on things that you are working on. In a classroom full of students, it sometimes can be a bit distracting with all of the other people around and you may not feel comfortable. Adding onto the list, online learning has financial benefits. Although you may think that a computer and internet access is expensive, if you drive to in person school then the cost of gas can be a lot more depending on how far you live. Your computer is right there to access and your materials are right in front of you. Not to mention, online learning is very eco-friendly. You don’t have to waste a lot of paper on assignments or notes when you can do it and save it to your computer. Distance learning could be a good change for some students.

For some people, online learning may not be the best option for them. A disadvantage of distance learning is that it requires a lot of self motivation and that it makes it easier to procrastinate. Lack of self motivation is one of the main reasons why some students prefer in person learning over online learning. You don’t have a teacher in front of you to tell you to get your assignments done on time, and you most likely aren’t allowed on your phone during in person class to text your friend or play your favorite games. Procrastination is an issue for both in person school and online school, but it gets worse in online school. Time management also can be pretty rough when it comes to online learning. In my opinion, having paper assignments right in front of you is easier than having a bunch of assignments on your computer because it can be a lot to handle and it could be a hassle to find what you need to work on. Another disadvantage of online learning is that it may cause social isolation. It is obvious that you don’t have your friends to talk to with you in person, and you don’t have your teacher around if you need any help. Distance learners may experience lack of communication with others and it could make their mental health worse. This could lead to more amounts of unnecessary stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts, according to e-student.org. Your distance learning environment compared to your in person school learning environment can be a big change and it could be a lot to get used to, especially with COVID-19 stressing everyone out.

Some students wanted to stay online to stay safe, but some also wanted to try to go back to school and decided to do hybrid learning. Hybrid learning is going to campus two days a week and then having asynchronous assignments on two other days of the week. One advantage of this style of learning includes the fact that everyone is equal in discussions. For example, during in person learning, the more extroverted students are the ones to volunteer to answer questions more often. But during online learning, if you’re not very comfortable with answering questions out loud, you could type it and form a more thoughtful response. Another advantage of hybrid learning during this time specifically is that you still get time to see your teachers and classmates a few days a week, but it isn’t every day; you’re still required to stay at home two other school days so you can stay safe and it is less likely for you to get COVID-19. One more advantage of hybrid learning is that you get the flexibility of online learning with the stability of in-class instruction at the same time. This learning format gives students the opportunity to learn at their own pace and ask questions whenever they may need. Basically you can take ownership of your own learning. Hybrid learning is very different from what most people in Imagine Prep have experienced and it is taking a lot to get used to for some, but we are all getting through it together.

Although hybrid learning may benefit some students’ way of learning, it also may disadvantage others. A disadvantage of hybrid learning is that it may be an overload for students and teachers. Coming to school two days a week and going online two other days a week may be a bit overwhelming. Transitioning between the two could get annoying as well. Another disadvantage of hybrid learning is that students may have a bit too much freedom, in terms of plagiarism, cheating, and credibility. Due to students at Imagine Prep having to do all of their work online, some may have the urge to Google search the answer they are looking for instead of trying to do the work themselves. It is kind of hard for teachers to control this as well. This could fall under a disadvantage for distance learning as well. Hybrid learning has a lot of similarities to distance learning here at Imagine Prep, but they also have tons of differences.

COVID-19 is very rough for a lot of students and Imagine Prep had to undergo many changes in the way that teachers do their job and the way that the school operates. Students have different preferences between hybrid learning and distance learning as well. In my personal opinion, I prefer distance learning over hybrid learning. I like being able to customize my learning environment and work at my own pace. It also is a lot less stressful for me, especially not having to wake up earlier and have to physically go to school. Although it is nice to see classmates and teachers in real life, I find it a lot easier for me to do my work at home rather than in a classroom. It is a big change for me, though. I wish for everyone to stay safe during the pandemic.