Hybrid learning key for herding community

What is most important is all parties need to be emotionally, physically and mentally healthy

Pic BERNAMA

2020 was a very challenging year for all learning activities. This is because school and university study sessions are conducted via “Pembelajaran di Rumah”, or PdPR, and online learning.

However, many can breathe a sigh of relief because the government has already started a volunteer programme for the process of receiving the Covid-19 vaccine clinical study injection. Some groups have received the vaccine recently. Since this process will take gradually until the end of the year, it can be concluded that 2022 is the year of recovery for this pandemic.

Until a herding community is established, parents are still hesitant to release their children back to campus as long as they are not vaccinated. Thus, hybrid learning is the best way to prevent students from dropping out.

This can be done in two ways by introducing two-hybrid learning or study models.

The first hybrid model is alternate day sessions, for example, students from Form 1 and 2 need to go to school on Mondays and Tuesdays, and Form 3 to 5 students need to come to school on Wednesdays to Fridays. With this, the schedule of students and teachers can be adjusted more neatly.

The government can also implement a second hybrid model, and here, lectures can be done in alternate weeks which are seen as more suitable for university studies. Students on campus need to attend classes on an alternate weekly basis, meaning in 14 weeks of study, face-to-face lectures will only involve seven weeks, and the rest are online lectures.

Face-to-face and practical classes are crucial for courses involving medical and clinical fields. Medical lecturers, who are also physicians involved with clinical services, will undoubtedly see this as a good alternative.

Online teaching and learning methods also provide difficulties, especially for programmes related to applying knowledge and skills in the task of treating patients.

In preparation for hybrid learning, schools and universities need to be prepared with easy monitoring on a daily and weekly basis. This will prevent staff from working overtime and fatigue, especially in the next learning session’s sanitation process.

Internet facilities, teaching aids and classroom and lecture equipment can be placed in one building to meet these two hybrid models’ needs. School counsellors also need to be mobilised in motivating students to adapt to hybrid learning.

Face-to-face meetings with counsellors are vital for students who need guidance on emotions and education while the outbreak is still ongoing.

Some schools’ initiative in the past by providing boxes for students to submit their school work is also highly commended for reducing contact between teachers and students.

University students should continue to use online file storage and synchronisation services such as Google Drive and Dropbox to help lecturers review assignments. Universities also need to continue to subscribe to online services that provide online video conferencing features to ensure access to lectures is not disrupted.

Apart from that, schools and universities need to continue to follow the Ministry of Health Malaysia from time to time. Classes should be in small numbers of students, within a safe distance, supplying sanitary fluids and ensuring students always wear face masks. Just because Malaysia will start a vaccine programme for its people, this does not mean that we need to take lightly on the measures to prevent the spread of this epidemic.

While each hybrid learning mod- el’s purpose is to ensure students gain full knowledge and understanding, the first step is to ensure health protocols have been adequately implemented.

In addition to saving lives, hybrid learning will reduce students’ dropout distance and restore students’ motivation to continue their studies.

Hybrid learning is a process that will be a challenge for both teachers and students, although it provides greater flexibility to explore. Schools and universities should strive to find the most appropriate strategies to meet educators and students’ needs.

What is most important is that all parties need to be emotionally, physically and mentally healthy until the entire population in Malaysia has been vaccinated, and the situation returns to normal.

  • Associate Prof Dr Mohd Syuhaidi Abu Bakar is a senior lecturer of communication at Universiti Teknologi Mara’s Faculty of Film, Theatre and Animation.
  • The views expressed are of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the stand of the newspaper’s owners and editorial board.