What now: Hybrid, blended or dual?

What now: Hybrid, blended or dual?

The autumn semester begins and Covid19 hangs like the sword of Damocles over the heads of lecturers at the (higher) schools. A solution approach at many universities is the “dual format” and “hybrid learning”. What is that actually? And does it have anything to do with “dual studies”?

…and what is actually up with blended learning? Doesn’t that also help in this situation? And what is the difference?

Covid19 came to stay for a while

Okay, we all really have to accept that: Covid19 is here and will unfortunately remain a topic for a while. The question now is: How can we make the best out of the situation? In the fall, THE solution for many universities is: “dual” and “hybrid” teaching. But there are several pitfalls. And the first pitfall is direct: what do we mean by this? Do we mean the same thing?

Dual learning, hybrid, blended – uh, what now?

A certain confusion of terms fills the minds of teachers (and students). What is what now? And what do I plan to do? What is that called then? Here is a short overview:

Hybrid Learning

The term hybrid teaching is often used today. It refers to the hybrid form of classroom and distance learning that had to be implemented in the phase of resuming teaching after the temporary lockdown of the schools during the Corona crisis. [Translated] (Ines Bieler 2020)

Blended Learning

…all types of education that include some aspect of face-to-face learning and online learning are being described as blended learning in the literature. (Hrastinski 2019)

The “blended learning” definition is very general, there are many variants of blended (e.g. flipped classroom).

And as you can see from the definitions here: hybrid and blended – means the same thing. Some may want to define differences here, others use the terms interchangeably. More details can be found in the paper by Hrastinski (2019) “What Do We Mean by Blended Learning? (Open Access). But now to dual learning…

Dual learning during Covid19

The term should not be confused with dual studies! It is unfortunately somewhat misleading. During Covid19 experiments that were made with different terms at the Danube University Krems: At first, we speak of hybrid, then of “dual”. Dual means that a part of the learning group is present on site and another part of the learning group is connected online via livestream and other digital tools.

In 2019 I experimented with “dual” formats with my colleagues. This was due to the specifications of the EU project ApprEnt: We HAD to organize a conference in presence, but to bring the participants from all over Austria to Krems would have been difficult. Arrival, departure etc. – who has time for that? By the way, the conference was dual in two senses of the word: dual organized and about the dual study 🙂

Last year I could already gain experience with the dual conference for ApprEnt and in the next blog post I will reveal 4 tips.

Dual, how does that work?

One thing is clear: We piloted a “dual” plenary scenario back then, i.e. lectures and discussions with participants, some of whom were present and some of whom were online. That worked quite well, but it also had its challenges. There was no joint work or collaboration (which was not absolutely necessary in the plenary scenario). But exactly THAT is very important if you really want to create a good learning experience for yourself and for the learners that goes beyond a plenary scenario.


My tips for dual modules or courses are in the next blog post! And you have to think about it: How is this dual setting related to a blended learning strategy? What is the relationship between the concepts?

This post was originally published in ISABELL GOES EDU-TECH by Isabell Grundschober. It was translated to English by Nilay Aral.

Was jetzt: Hybrid, blended oder dual? on 10.09.2020 

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