December 8, 2023

Hybrid learning supports hybrid work

While the modus operandi of many organizations today is to transition to a partial return to the office, many employees are still struggling to adapt to these changes, with most preferring to work from home. According to the Pew Research Center, 61% of employees prefer to work from home even when the office is open. As a result, organizations struggle to define hybrid work barriers and find the right balance between employee engagement and productivity. A key element of employee engagement depends on opportunities for growth in learning and development (L&D). Employees who continue to work in hybrid environments also need related learning opportunities.

Over the past few years, organizations have been testing and piloting learning experiences using Adaptive AI and Extended Reality (XR) features such as Augmented and Virtual Reality. Harnessing such learning abilities and exploring how to use them to supplement personal learning experiences has not been easy. As organizations continue to find the right balance between face-to-face and online learning that resonates with their employees’ preferences, it will drive growth in this area. In this article, we’ll explore what hybrid learning is, some of the benefits it offers, and seven steps to consider when creating hybrid learning: defining learning objectives, mapping the experience, deciding on live elements, defining elements online, running pilots, iterating based on pilot results and launch.

What is hybrid learning and what benefits does it offer?

Hybrid learning is a learning experience that gives students the opportunity to connect in person or online. Hybrid learning differs from blended learning where part of the work is done online synchronously and part asynchronously. Key benefits of hybrid learning include flexibility for the student as they can join from anywhere, efficiency for both instructors and students as they can use personal time effectively, and time management as it forces the student to manage their time and stay ahead of the curve. curve.

Define your learning goals

Starting with the end result is a great way to visualize the business results expected from this learning experience. Work backward to define the behavioral changes expected from the learning experiences, learning activities, learning objectives, and learning objectives that will lead students to the goal.

Map The Learning Experience

This is where it’s essential to use human-centered design tools to put yourself and your team in the student’s shoes. What does the experience look like from their perspective if they join remotely or in person? How will distance and face-to-face students connect? Mapping out the learning environment will require scripting how it will all play out: which elements will be tackled first, how the online synchronous part will develop, and how the asynchronous feature will play out.

Decide on the elements of live instruction

This is critical because the learning experience will need to take advantage of face-to-face time, whether you live in the same physical room or live online. Some key activities to consider for live learning elements include small room discussions, individual check-in and feedback sessions, team presentations and social interactions.

Define online elements

The online elements are also important because they allow the student the freedom to be wherever and whenever it suits them. Online features may include absorbing new information, deep work, reflection, journaling, formative assessment, submitting work online, and engaging in informal chat with the instructor. Here you can incorporate virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) learning experiences using headsets and scenarios that resonate with your organization’s business goals.

Run the pilot

Pilot programs are a great way to test an idea because they have a short time span, low risk, and a large amount of experience gained. A well-designed pilot can serve as a testing ground for your hybrid learning. Make sure you have the right stakeholders and students participating in the pilot so you can gather valuable data and insights from their different experiences and benefits. Pilot phases can last from just a few days to a few weeks or a few months. A 90-day pilot typically allows L&D teams to plan, communicate and operate the pilot for 60-70 days, with the remaining 20-30 days to analyze results and lessons learned in preparation for an iteration. An important element of the pilot project is testing the technology platforms and tools that instructors and students will use in the hybrid environment.


The pilot results are a gift that you need to take advantage of and use to iterate on your hybrid learning. Review the qualitative and quantitative data you collected during the pilot project. Which learning elements did the students enjoy the most? Which elements did they hate? What recommendations did they give? How could you make the experience more engaging, less daunting, and more inviting? When iterating, it is valuable to include students in the team so that their perspectives and insights are embedded in your efforts. This can save time and money in the long run.


Once you’ve tested and replicated your earlier version, you’re now ready to start hybrid learning. Be sure to engage your communications team to launch an awareness campaign with web events, articles, and social media posts to get your students excited about the opportunity and excited to experience it. Ensure your L&D captures both qualitative and quantitative feedback through discussions and surveys so you can continue to improve as hybrid learning matures.


To retain employees in hybrid work environments, organizations must prepare hybrid learning experiences that complement the challenges of the hybrid work environment. This article offers six steps to creating a winning hybrid learning experience that focuses on the learner and their needs and preferences, including defining learning goals, mapping the experience, deciding on live elements, defining online elements, launching a pilot project, iterating based on pilot results, and start learning in your organization.

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