Hybrid learning combines the best that online and on-campus degree programs offer, giving students flexibility and control over how they manage their education. In the case of hybrid nursing programs, students enjoy the advantages of learning online while still getting the benefits of practicum experiences.
Houston Christian University uses a hybrid approach for its nursing programs, including the RN to BSN and MSN programs. Each allows students to plan work around busy professional schedules and includes practicum and role immersion experiences held at healthcare facilities near where the student lives.
What Is Hybrid Learning?
While hybrid programs combine aspects of online and traditional programs, they differ depending on the program and academic institution. For example, students might meet in person on some days during the week and online on others (an approach many K-12 schools used during the height of the coronavirus pandemic).
In another example, a hybrid class might mix those who attend class in-person and those who do some over a synchronous video platform, such as Zoom.
At the collegiate level, “A HL (hybrid learning) environment is a virtual learning experience that promotes a higher level of engagement and helps create a more immersive learning experience for both in-class and remote students,” according to The Star.
The Benefits of Hybrid Learning
While many may associate hybrid learning with the pandemic, it’s been around for years, especially at the collegiate level. Experts told U.S. News and World Report they expect hybrid learning to expand because of the benefits it offers students.
In a virtual environment, students can watch lectures on their schedules. They also can rewatch them whenever they choose, going over more difficult material a second or third time. This helps students better absorb knowledge and improve assignment and test grades.
The online nature of hybrid classes allows student participation from wherever they are. Programs include in-person experiences. For example, students in HCU’s hybrid nursing programs participate in clinical training at healthcare facilities near where they reside (with some exceptions for students in rural areas).
Different Learning Styles
Students in hybrid learning programs can learn audibly through lectures and recorded material and visually with presentations and videos. Online learning systems also allow students to collaborate on projects, even if they live many miles apart.
Students in online or hybrid degree programs build stronger time management skills. They are responsible for scheduling classwork and ensuring they spend the needed amount of time listening to lectures, completing coursework, and working on projects.
Improved Face-to-Face Time
With students having the ability to work on assignments at a time that works best for them, they can spend their time with professors more effectively, discussing topics brought up during the lecture or addressing any questions they have on the material. This works whether the face-to-face time is online or in person.
HCU’s Hybrid Nursing Programs
In a hybrid nursing program, students enjoy the benefits listed above. However, they receive the most in-person education through role immersion experiences that HCU assists in coordinating with healthcare facilities near the student’s home.
HCU’s hybrid nursing programs also offer other benefits that prepare nurses to apply the knowledge they learn to real-world practice. These benefits include:
- Personalized Support: HCU assigns each student in the RN to BSN program a success coach who works with them throughout their time at the university. Students receive real-time, personalized feedback from faculty and support staff as they work toward building their nursing skills and knowledge.
- Valuable Skill Sets: HCU’s hybrid nursing programs are industry-aligned, with the needs of employers central to what nurses learn. The university has also built strong relationships with healthcare facilities in the Houston area, home to the world’s largest medical center.
- Competency-Based Education (CPE): With CPE, students receive credit when they master a competency rather than when they complete credit hours. Students’ experience on the job can help them get credit quickly and allow them to progress at their own pace. The goal of the HCU nursing programs is to produce highly-skilled, competent nursing leaders.
A hybrid nursing program provides the right blend of educational approaches meets the needs of professionals who aspire to a BSN or MSN in nursing. Using the best of online and on-campus learning, hybrid programs offer the quality and flexibility professional nurses seek when entering a degree program.