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Higher education institutions (HEI) use different learning formats such as onsite lectures or online seminars to support their students learning. In the last decades, higher education actively supported an increase of online offerings to foster flexibility and freedom. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic learning circumstances in higher education transformed dramatically, and many HEIs were forced to shift all their courses to online learning formats. Some institutions implemented synchronous hybrid learning (SHL) as a solution between extremes that balances different needs in times of social distancing. This article outlines the benefits, trainer's challenges, and guidelines that can be ascribed to SHL under the circumstances of the current pandemic.
The results show that SHL strengthens communication and supports learning. On the one hand, SHL is an innovative, inclusive format, which supports social competencies, multiple perspectives, dynamic interactions, and immediate student-student as well as trainer-student feedback. On the other hand, SHL relies on students' equipment and depends on student as well as trainer adaption and reliable technology. Nevertheless, this report shows that SHL is a promising format, which can close one part of the digital divide between students. Future SHL endeavours should thus be carefully prepared and supported by the hosting HEI. Specifically, trainers and students should be trained on how to use the required technology, and trainers should learn about the pedagogical benefits and implementations of SHL by using protocols and chat trackers.
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