Hybrid Design and Delivery Principles

Hybrid/blended learning is difined in many ways by different scholars. Driscoll (2015) defines hybrid learning as a way to combine or mix modes of web-based technology and various pedagogical approaches with the face-to-face, instructor-led approach to create a harmonious effect of teaching and learning . On the other hand, Dziuban, Hartman, and Moskal (2004, p.3) defines hybrid learning as a “pedagogical approach that combines the effectiveness and socialization opportunities of the classroom with the technologically enhanced active learning possibilities of the online environment.”

Hybrid learning creates an opportunity for faculty to tap into a larger range of strategies and solve pedagogical problems. It allows instructors to use advantage of the in-person interaction and technology integration. While instructors play a dominant role in monitoring the teaching process, offering guidance, and creating student inspiration, hybrid learning is also a learner-directed process which allows learners to exert their own initiatives and creativity and learn in their own pace.  When hybrid classes put instructional goals in to consideration and when technology tools are intentionaly selected, instructors gain many positive outcomes from their class. Among the benefits are that students will:

  • Arrive in class with better preparation
  • Engage in deeper and more meaningful way
  • Demonstrate a better understanding and deeper exploration of concepts
  • Score better grades in differernt assessments

However, a well-designed blended course is not as simple as dividing your course into face-to-face and online components. There are some principles to guide the development, actual implementation, and evaluation of blended courses.

Focus on Learning Outcomes

Studies tell that the design of any course, regardless of the delivery format, should be based on the overall learning outcome expected of the course. Instructors should first ask "what do I want students to learn at the end of the course?" So, the first principle for developing a hybrid course is to “work backward from the final course goal… and to avoid a counterproductive focus on technology” Sands (2002).  

Structured Interaction 

In a  successfully deigned hybrid course, students have higher rates of interaction in multiple ways. They interact with course materials, they interact with the course instructor, and also among each other. To make the interaction successful, the instructor should intentionally create activities that require students to engage in the course content and with each other,and also with the instrcutor. More importantly, the interactions should contribute or lead to the overall attainamnet of the intended course outcome. It is also important that you make smooth transition between face-to-face and online interactions. For example, you may start a class discussion in your classroom and then extend it into an online discussion in which all students participate.  

Start Simple

If you are teaching a course in a hybrid format for the first time, it is very important that you start it simple. Start with fewer technology that integrate well with your course. Choose technology that you are familiar with or that your could get trainingor assitance for. More importantly, remember that you can modify your design in future semesters and add new technology tools that could work better in your course. 

Integrate appropriate Technology

Most instructors teaching hybrid courses focus on the type and amount of technology tools they have to design their hybrid course. However, an important design principle is that you do not use technology for the sake of using or only because it is available. You should select a technology tool into your course only if it integrates well win your course, and if it contributes for the overall attainment of course outcomes. 

One common truth in all course deliveries, whether it is face-to-face, hybrid, or online, is that it is never going to be perfect. There is always a room for improvement. As a hybrid instructor, you should collect feedback from your students on what can be done better and dedicate yourself to make the changes to make the course better for future students. Further more, it is wise consult with more experienced faculty members and learn from their best practices. 

For a more focused, one-on-one assistance on your course design, please conatct us at ida@wichita.edu.


Driscoll, M. (2002). Blended learning: Let’s get beyond the hype. E-learning, 54 

Dziuban, C. D., Hartman, J. L., & Moskal, P. D. (March 30, 2004). Blended learning. Educause Center for Applied Research, 2004(7). Retrieved November 15, 2004, from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERB0407.pdf

Sands, P. (2002.) Inside outside, upside downside: Strategies for connecting online and face-to-face instruction in hybrid courses. Teaching with Technology Today, 8(6).