The modern student is busy. Between working, extracurriculars and raising children (which more than 20 percent of students are doing), simply coming to class can sometimes pose a challenge. Student expectations are also changing to include self-serve, online options at their fingertips, preferably on mobile. HyFlex courses allow colleges and universities to meet students’ expectations while still accommodating their full schedules. This teaching modality allows each student to choose whether to attend classes in person, via web conference or in a completely asynchronous manner.

HyFlex (“hybrid, flexible”) courses not only make learning more accessible, but also can increase student retention and benefit students of diverse backgrounds. However, some students may benefit more than others, and there are some best practices that need to be in place for the model to be most effective.

Dave Lungren, Collegis VP – Digital Content Solutions, gives his perspective and answers key questions about the HyFlex model.

Can HyFlex courses increase student retention? If so, how?

The vast majority of today’s students are adding school to an already busy schedule that includes work, family and other personal responsibilities. According to research, one of the largest negative impacts on student persistence and retention is the inability of students to fit school into their lives while maintaining a personal schedule that works. Students simply can’t handle the burden of school on top of everything else.

The HyFlex learning modality allows students the ability to choose how to consume their education. Rather than being locked into one set learning modality, from week to week (or day to day), students are able to choose to attend the in-person class session, attend the class session remotely over web conference, or participate in a fully online asynchronous manner. This type of flexibility helps students fit school into their busy lives and absolutely has a positive impact on retention.

What types of courses have the best results using the HyFlex model?

I think any type of course can be successfully migrated to the HyFlex modality. That being said, achieving the best results for the HyFlex model depends on commitment to three critical success factors:

  1. Course Design – A course must be intentionally designed to work for HyFlex delivery.
  2. Learning Technology Ecosystem – The proper learning technology, both the hardware in the classroom and the software supporting remote delivery, must be in place.
  3. Faculty Support – Instructors must receive the training and support they need to be successful.

What types of students seem to benefit most from HyFlex courses?

Any student who is trying to make school fit into a busy schedule benefits from HyFlex. Students who prefer the experience of attending the live classroom probably benefit the most, as they are able to participate in that live classroom remotely via web conference, which makes attendance much easier to fit into their schedule.

What impact do HyFlex courses have on diversity, equity and inclusion?

The flexibility of HyFlex delivery makes school more available and realistic for busy students. Increased open and available education almost always has a positive impact on DEI efforts.

What is the biggest mistake you see colleges and universities making in building HyFlex courses?

I see too many colleges and universities just putting a webcam in each classroom. HyFlex delivery requires a technology setup in the classroom that allows both in-person and remote students to interact on an equal basis, and a well-designed online experience that ensures that the fully asynchronous students achieve the same learning outcomes.

What is your number one suggestion for keeping students engaged in a HyFlex course?

Students must feel that they are getting the same educational experience no matter what learning path they choose: attending the class in-person, attending the class remotely or participating in a fully asynchronous manner. If a student feels that their chosen learning path is of lesser quality, they will quickly become disengaged and eventually drop out. So, the key to engaged students is a well-designed HyFlex course that equally values all three possible learning paths.

HyFlex Courses Can Improve Course Offerings

With the ability to make classes more accessible and easier to fit into loaded schedules, HyFlex courses can enhance a college or university’s course offerings and be a better fit for the modern student.

Get support implementing the HyFlex learning model.

Institutions interested in adopting the HyFlex learning model can turn to Collegis Education for the expertise and resources to design, execute and support HyFlex courses. Transition to this student-centered learning model and reap its benefits by partnering with Collegis.

Author: Jessica Conte

Jessica Conte is a content specialist with experience working in higher education. She holds a B.A. in English and an MBA from the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois.