Hybrid learning : a study of the impacts felt by students and veteran teacher alike during the completion of a hybrid online module rich in 21st century skills
McGeehan, Miles Michael
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A hybrid online unit was built by the researcher and implemented by a host teacher with the purpose of identifying the impacts hybrid methodology has on students and veteran teacher alike. The hybrid unit, which combines traditional classroom instruction with the best-of online course tools and activities, was implemented into a 7th grade science elective classroom located in rural Montana over the course of 16 weeks. The host teacher possessed a doctorate in education and concurrently instructed online graduate courses in Action Research. Neither the host nor students had prior experience with hybrid instruction. The hybrid course topic focused on climate science and was designed congruent to 21st century technology standards. The unit included a wide variety of vibrant online activities coupled with face-to-face classroom interactions and hands-on science labs. All student work, whether online or face-to-face, was completed digitally and uploaded within the online course. Data was collected from a variety classroom assessment techniques including student performance on summative assessments, frequent student surveys, host teacher journaling, host teacher interviews and surveys, researcher observations, and researcher journaling. Partial member checking was utilized for verification of data collection and analysis. In the end, an overwhelming majority of students preferred hybrid instruction to traditional classroom instruction. A majority of students found the course to be fun, easy to navigate, and they felt they remembered more from hybrid than traditional lecture or bookwork. Students showed strong academic gains in climate science topics, especially historically low performing students. The host teacher enjoyed the diverse curricular activities and approved using the unit again in future elective classes. The host also indicated interest in experimenting with creating his own hybrid course in future academic years once technology resources became more readily available. As a result of the hybrid unit implementation, the host teacher also noted secondary observations in students' improved computer literacy, problem solving, and expository writing skills. At the outcome of this study, it was evident that hybrid instruction benefits students in a variety of manors thus instructors should consider this methodology as technology becomes increasingly available within classrooms.