So... how DO you run a successful hybrid programme?

08 November 2022

Ian Hawkings reflects on the increasing demand for hybrid programmes - even if schools are still debating its true meaning.


The short answer is simple. Hire someone who knows what they’re doing. And having spent almost an entire career in e-learning and online delivery, you could argue that Idoia Olazar, from BI Norwegian Business School, is that someone.

I met Idoia over drinks at the start of the recent EMBAC annual conference in Austin, Texas and, after setting me straight about the Oslo climate (it’s not as cold as I thought), she told me a bit about the online learning set up at BI (impressive but still learning) and that she was presenting a session on hybrid delivery the next day.

Needless to say, the session was great and generated a good discussion about how attendees’ schools were approaching the challenge.

Some key takeaways:

  • Half the room disagreed on what their definition of hybrid learning was
  • That ‘fake hybrid learning’ is a thing
  • And many are simply a bit lost when it comes to creating and optimising a high- quality hybrid experience for their students.

Covid may have accelerated the adoption of online options, but it never really afforded the time to perfect them. This seems to be where many schools are now.

Our own research has shown time and again that students not only expect flexibility in how they consume learning, but they expect it to be immersive and engaging. And they expect to get exactly the same experience and benefits from their online interactions as they do from face-to-face.

Students might have been forgiving at the beginning of the pandemic, but now they are used to being remote at least some of the time - and they expect quality provision and choice.

Despite this, there still appears to be conjecture about how important moving towards this kind of model really is for schools, many of whom are still beholden to the idea that in-person beats all. But as Cheryl Sandberg said when she was COO of Facebook, "If you want to know what people like us will do tomorrow, you look at what teenagers are doing today."

And when did you last see a teenager walk to a newsagent to buy a paper?


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

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