Fall semester was extra special this year for two reasons: one, it was my last fall semester ever, and two, everyone was going back to in-person learning. The thought of seeing other humans (not on a screen!) felt so exciting, and I looked forward to learning in a traditional way again. However, I ended up not loving it as much as I had hoped.
Of course, I loved being able to get together with my dance club and doing my homework at the library, but I found myself a lot more frazzled than usual. I wasn’t retaining as much of my class material as I had hoped, and everything seemed to be moving at a much faster pace than normal. I realized just how much virtual and hybrid learning had supported my education and allowed me to learn in a new way… and how much I missed it.
Virtual and hybrid learning offer a lot of great learning opportunities that can either supplement or replace in-person learning. Here are the main reasons I miss hybrid and virtual learning:
Ability to learn at my own pace
I love pre-recorded lectures. Being able to pause and really make sure you understand what was said or explained makes it a lot easier to absorb the content. Sure, it might take me a lot longer to get through a whole lecture, but it beats having to watch it multiple times.
It also meant that my learning was on my time. I could carve out the exact times of the day that I wanted to watch lectures that fit when I was most alert and willing to take in new information.
Closed captioning was a lifesaver during my virtual and hybrid learning days. Even though I had no particular need for it, having auditory and visual learning components that were working in tandem with one another made difficult information much easier to digest.
Closed Captioning also always goes hand in hand with transcripts! Sometimes when we don’t have the time to watch a whole lecture, it’s much easier to read through the lecture transcript and highlight/take notes on important points.
Much easier to meet with groups
I never realized how much more convenient it is to meet with a group virtually. Even during the pandemic, I felt like I was struggling to fit everything into my schedule. Being able to quickly meet with groups to discuss a project or an assignment made it all the easier and eliminated travel time.
Plus, sometimes you don’t always want to muster the energy for social interaction. Having a meeting over Zoom means that you can meet and get done what you need to get done quickly and efficiently
Not having to get ready in the morning
Everyone can agree that not having to get fully dressed and look perfect in the morning was pretty great. Being able to learn in my sweatpants with a hot mug of coffee in hand was the best form of living.
But my favorite part of being able to take it easy in the morning is that I was always comfortable. Being in my own environment and (and my sweats!) made it much easier to learn!
Customizable learning experience
All these different factors created a very customized learning experience during an unprecedented time. Being able to watch lectures on-demand and utilize virtual platforms in a way I never thought possible made a challenging time much, much easier
There’s no telling what the future of learning looks like given how much is changing in the world, but here’s hoping virtual and/or hybrid learning have a place in education for the long haul.