“This is asking the teacher to simultaneously perform in two different modes, which can lead both to exhaustion for the teacher and less engagement, connection and learning for the students,” Professor Wilfried Admiraal says.

No pedagogical reasons to continue offering hybrid teaching

Combining remote and in-person teaching demands more preparations both from the teachers and the students, but has a poorer learning outcome, professor claims.

Hybrid teaching means having many students present in class and online – at the same time. There are few, if any, good reasons to continue with this practice post-pandemic, according to Professor Wilfried Admiraal.

Admiraal is currently a professor in Technology Enhanced Teaching and Learning at the Centre for the Study of Professions. His research interest combines the areas of teaching, technology and social psychology in secondary and higher education.

Wilfried Admiraal is currently a professor in Technology Enhanced Teaching and Learning at the Centre for the Study of Professions.

Striking research findings

In recently concluded research projects, Admiraal and his research partners, many of them Ph.D. candidates, have found the following:

  • Low social and affective engagement of online students, even lower than in online education. Online students feel like they are bystanders.
  • Limited interaction between students face-to-face and online.
  • Limited interaction between teachers and students, also with students face-to-face. Teachers often opt for plenary instruction, because this is less intensive than interacting simultaneously with both online and face-to-face students.
  • However, both teachers and students report that they are satisfied – mostly because they compare it to no education at all.

Studies show that students like online teaching, at least from a short-term perspective, because it gives them the flexibility to combine learning with other tasks and activities, Admiraal explains.

“Online students tended to say that they were happy with online education, even if they also stated that they felt like bystanders. However, in many cases, these online students attended face-to-face classes in addition to online ones, which compensates what they missed in their hybrid classes,” Admiraal says. “Students who only attended online in hybrid classes did show lower achievements at the end of the course, compared to their fellow students who also attended face-to-face teaching."

Virtual classrooms are cost-effective

“Administrators also like this form of teaching. It attracts international students, and lecturers, without demanding extra rooms or housing. This of course saves the institutions a lot of money,” Admiraal says.

During the pandemic, hybrid teaching had a clear advantage and made it possible to continue teaching in a difficult time.

And for sick students, this made all the difference.

“It is necessary to assess the consequences. From a learning perspective, there are no reasons to use hybrid classrooms or teaching,” the professor states.

Online students felt like bystanders

It demands the double amount of preparations for the teacher, he continues, because he or she has to prepare two different set of assignments. It also demands much more preparation from the online students, he continues.

In addition, it can be more difficult to ask questions online, due to lagging Wi-Fi, delays and/or teacher capacity. The dialogue also tends to become less spontaneous.

“It is no easy task to entertain two classrooms at the same time – both online and in real life,” Admiraal says.

Teachers also indicate that they prefer to teach together with a colleague when teaching both face-to-face and online at the same time.

Flipped classrooms work better

What the professor instead proposes, based both on research and experience, is flipped classrooms, or blended teaching.

This is a form of teaching where lectures are recorded beforehand, students are required to watch the recordings before class, and then use the face-to-face time in the classroom to reflect on, and talk about what they have seen and learned.

In this way, you can improve face-to-face learning by asking that the students prepare, and then use the time in the classroom on reflections and discussions, Admiraal explains.

“This creates more engagement, more interaction and deeper learning and understanding. In short, better results both for students and teachers,” he concludes.


Guo et al. The Community of Inquiry perspective on students' social presence, cognitive presence, and academic performance in online project-based learning, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 2021. DOI: 10.1111/jcal.12586

Irena Galikyan and Wilfried Admiraal. 'Students’ engagement in asynchronous online discussion: The relationship between cognitive presence, learner prominence, and academic performance', The Internet and Higher Education, 2019. DOI: 10.1016/j.iheduc.2019.100692 Abstract.

Klunder et al. Hybrid teaching of chronicle ill children: A teacher perspective on using a hybrid virtual classroom for students with a chronic illness in mainstream primary and secondary schools, Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 2022. DOI: 10.1080/1475939X.2022.2033824

Lai et al. University students’ use of mobile technology in self-directed language learning: Using the Integrative Model of Behavior Prediction, Computers & Education, 2022. DOI: 10.1016/j.compedu.2021.104413

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