What does the research tell us?
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When we look at the research associated with HyFlex or other kinds of multi-modal and flexible learning environments, we find that there are some consistent findings across almost all of the studies, and these findings include: one, that students are satisfied with having the choice of being able to participate online or in a classroom environment.
Second, we find that most studies that look at grades are finding that the grades do not go down, and in many cases actually, the performance of some students, especially in the online modes, actually improves. This could be a finding that’s similar to what we find in the literature around hybrid environments in general. So that’s been a pretty consistent finding as well.
We do see that most of the studies done so far are primarily descriptive in nature, in that they’re telling the story of how they did HyFlex, and how it impacted their students and their faculty.
Right now, there are many studies ongoing and being launched this year that are looking at other aspects of HyFlex, including equity in HyFlex courses, equity in terms of different underrepresented groups. We want to make sure that when we’re creating these choices for students, we’re not creating choices that lead to worse situations around equity in our learning environments. So a lot of those studies will be coming out in the next year or so.
There have been many studies about HyFlex (or similar) courses and how they’ve helped faculty and institutions meet expectations and overcome challenges associated with providing multi-mode instruction with student flexibility. Many of these studies have been published as case reports, telling the story of an individual implementation or perhaps a program level implementation at an institution. Most of these studies are descriptive in nature.
Many of the published case studies report initial evaluations of student achievement, student participation patterns, and enrolment in these courses. The bulk of these studies indicate that student performance is at least as good in the HyFlex course as it is in any of the single mode courses offered. And in some cases, improved grades result when HyFlex course performance is compared to asynchronous online only courses. As well, student satisfaction with their learning experience is often reported as being very high.
Even though the literature base around HyFlex is small, it is growing rapidly, and all the studies so far are pointing to no loss in learning, and in many cases some slight increase in learning across the various modes. Research is showing us that well-designed HyFlex courses and programs are able to support the achievement of many faculty and institutional goals. See https://www.hyflexlearning.org/bibliography/ for a growing list of relevant literature.