A contraction of hybridity and flexibility, HyFlex technology allows schools to teach students at home and in the classroom at the same time. Students can choose how they want to follow their lessons, receiving the same teaching and reducing the disparity between those in class and those at home, as much as possible.
Are you familiar with HyFlex lessons? Since the start of the pandemic, we have been talking about these; lessons given in person, and online, lessons that use different means and equipment. It's also about flexibility. These lessons allow for adapted learning: sometimes more personalized, sometimes more fun. Well, that's what HyFlex courses set out to do -- the concept is based on the contraction of the words hybridity and flexibility.
This teaching model combines hybrid learning in a flexible way. It allows students to attend in-person and online lessons, or to alternate between the two. The real difference lies in the access to these sessions. Rather than being separated into several modules, the three possibilities are offered in a single module. Thus, students can follow from home in real time one minute and be in class the next.
Since Monday, February 8, France's Grenoble School of Management's (EM Grenoble) classes have been able to resume in this manner. "To further improve the student's experience and better adapt the teaching, we have invested in HyFlex classrooms, which allow hybrid in-person/ online teaching and we have trained the entirety of our teaching staff," explains Loïck Roche, Director of the Grenoble School of Management (GEM). Allowing those who wish to return to class to do so, from February 8 (depending on availability) was the goal of the school administration.
At CEU Cardenal Herrera University in Spain, nearly 150 rooms have been equipped with HyFlex technology. Students attend their lessons in their desired format and can choose, if following from home, the camera angles that have been set up in the room. There are three in total: facing the teacher, facing the students and one on the whole classroom. "The student becomes the director of the class with multiple cameras," notes the university on its website.
Optimizing HyFlex lessons
Even if the technology seems optimal, a few obstacles arise. First, regarding the methods adopted. According to Brian Beatty, associate professor of instructional technologies at San Francisco State University, who has been developing the Hyflex experience and design since 2006, for the concept of a HyFlex lesson to work, four principles must be respected.
Teachers must take into consideration the students' choices to remain at home or not, and to adapt their lessons so that in person, or online, students receive the same lesson.
Also, all learning methods must have equivalent outcomes for all the students . The student should be challenged to reflect on the content of the lesson, to contribute to the discussion with the ideas they are developing and to interact with their peers' ideas.
It also emphasizes the reusability of educational content , shared with students online or during face-to-face classes. Whether in the form of podcasts, transcriptions of notes or even chat discussions, these can constitute resources for revising.
Finally, accessibility . Brian Beatty explains that in reality, not all students have access to equipment allowing them to follow classes from home (a computer, internet connection), and they may also have travel constraints.
While Beatty himself admits that it's a challenge to fully implement the principles in all cases, he outlines that "if you follow these four guiding principles, you are likely to implement the four core values and provide an effective learning opportunity for all students, no matter where they are located and no matter which path they choose through the course."