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Advantages of a Hybrid Model in Delivering the Nursing Curriculum

Advantages of a Hybrid Model in Delivering the Nursing Curriculum

Taking a nursing course can be hectic for students, especially if they are involved in other activities apart from learning. Taking a course that uses purely face-to-face teaching may be unfavorable for such students due to geographical and time constraints (De Castro et al., 2017). Potter (2015) explains that there has been an increase in the use of online learning over the past two decades. More and more students are taking online courses in pursuit of higher education. Advances in internet technology have enabled a wide range of online learning tools to be available to a larger student audience. Some of these technologies include electronic books, online testing and exam tools, course management systems, and simulations. However, there have been questions about the efficacy of online learning as compared to traditional face-to-face learning. In order to address this issue, a new model of teaching referred to as hybrid/blended model was created. This paper examines the advantages of a hybrid model over other forms of teaching in the field of nursing education.

A hybrid model, which is also referred to as a blended model or web-assisted/enhanced, combines aspects of face-to-face instruction with those of distance teaching (El Mansour & Mupinga, 2017). The model uses technology to introduce students to new concepts, information, or procedures before they can meet physically in a classroom setting for further teaching and discussion. The decision about the mix between the classroom and online instruction can be made by the tutor and depends on the specific course content and level of student comfort. However, most hybrid courses require students to meet physically for more than 50% of the time and the remainder is done through a course management system (Potter, 2015.

One advantage of the hybrid model is that it enables students from an extensive geographical area to take the course. The online component of this model allows students to participate in learning from different areas. These students only need to travel to meet during the face-to-face sessions but are free to complete the components of their learning that can be done online from their respective areas of residence. This is very convenient for most students as their lifestyles are not heavily affected by the need to study. For instance, a student is able to live at home and be with their family instead of relocating and living at a place near the school provided they are able to attend the face-to-face sessions. The hybrid format is also cost effective for both institutions and students. In the case of the institution, there will be fewer overhead costs needed to build more classrooms or pay for bills of the facility (De Castro et al., 2017). Students also have reduced traveling costs as they are not required to attend all teaching sessions in a classroom setting unlike in a purely face-to-face model.

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Flexibility is also an advantage derived from using the hybrid model of teaching. This model provides learners with a control over the pace of their learning.  This is unlike in a traditional face-to-face setting where the pace of classroom instruction is fixed (El Mansour & Mupinga, 2017). The tutor meets the students at specific times and for a specified period where teaching takes palace. A student who may be slow at grasping concepts may lag behind in his/her studies. The hybrid model offers a remedy for this problem. It allows them time to review if need be. The use of online modules also allows participants to access learning materials at any time of day (De Catro et al., 2017). This ensures flexibility as students are allowed to study at a time of their convenience. For instance, if a student has a day job, they may be able to study at night when they get off from their jobs or very early in the morning before going to work.

Using a hybrid model also allows for better understanding by the students or better learning outcomes. According to El Mansour and Mupinga (2017), putting courses partially online allows tutors to introduce concepts to students at an earlier time on the blackboard or other course management systems. This allows students more time to go through the concepts on their own before meeting in the classroom. Ultimately, this style of learning will ensure that the students are able to grasp concepts and ideas better. Moreover, being able to introduce course material in an online platform frees up faculty members who use the time to prepare for the face-to-face session. 

The hybrid approach counters the disadvantages of a purely traditional face-to-face mode of learning (Means et al., 2013). For instance, using a hybrid model makes it cheaper for the institution and students as has been explained above. Another advantage is that more students can enroll for a particular course which would not be the case with face-to-face learning. Face-to-face learning also lacks the flexibility offered by a hybrid approach. De Castro et al. (2017) explain that the hybrid model also allows people who work or have other commitments to pursue a given course. This is impossible in a face-to-face approach where students are required to attend class at stipulated times and hence cannot have other commitments.

Unlike in purely online teaching model, hybrid approaches do not completely eliminate face-to-face sessions and hence offset some of the disadvantages of purely online models. For instance, purely online learning requires intense self-direction and self-discipline. This may have negative impacts on students who lack these characteristics. Because of the component of face-to-face in the hybrid model, these students get the guidance they need from the teachers during the physical classroom sessions. Another disadvantage of purely online learning is that it is easy to cheat. Using the hybrid model can allow the instructor to give exams where students are physically present and hence the instructor is able to supervise them during the exam (Ndawo, 2015). Another disadvantage of purely online learning is that the workload is bigger. The hybrid approach remedies this issue as it has face-to-face sessions where the teacher is able to handle more tasks in the class setting that would otherwise have resulted in more work when using the online approach.

The hybrid model is thought to be the most effective way of delivering a nursing curriculum because it captures the best elements of both face-to-face and online instruction models. The essay has shown that the hybrid model has significant advantages over other models. However, the instructor should conduct extensive upfront planning so as to ensure the success of this model. Students should be given clear and unambiguous information about the components of the course. All in all, the hybrid model is considered the most efficient for teaching in a future driven by technology.

References

De Castro, A. B., Shapleigh, E., Bruck, A., & Salazar, M. K. (2015). Developing Blended Online and Classroom Strategies to Deliver an Occupational Health Nursing Overview Course in a Multi-State Region in the United States. Workplace health & safety, 63(3), 121-126.

El Mansour, B., & Mupinga, D. M. (2017). Students’ positive and negative experiences in hybrid and online classes. College Student Journal, 41(1), 242.

Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., & Baki, M. (2013). The effectiveness of online and blended learning: A meta-analysis of the empirical literature. Teachers College Record, 115(3), 1-47.

Ndawo, M. G. (2015). Challenges experienced by nurse educators on the delivery of content-laden curriculum at a nursing college in Gauteng. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 5(11), 103.

Potter, J. (2015). Applying a Hybrid Model: Can It Enhance Student Learning Outcomes? Journal of Instructional Pedagogies, 17.

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