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Why are hybrid degree programmes the new normal?


Online -plus-classroom is way to go!
October 13 2021: The circumstances emerging from the pandemic have caused some disruption in the education sector worldwide. With stringent pandemic-related restrictions and shutdowns in place, many international institutions had to close down their campuses and shift to remote learning.
Such arrangements haven’t really been quite helpful for students traveling from foreign countries for higher studies, as they prefer on-campus classes.  
Indeed, the pandemic has changed the way higher education is managed in major institutions. With the cost of international studies rising and institutions moving to online classes, students have started to explore alternate options for pursuing their study-abroad dreams.
Several educational institutions and pathway providers are offering twinning programmes and hybrid programmes to help international students pursue their higher studies abroad. Such programmes are not only cost-effective, but also quite flexible. 
A twinning programme allows a student to pursue an international degree from the home country before moving on to a partnering foreign institution for degree completion. Hybrid programmes, on the other hand, offer a blend of both online classes and traditional on-campus classes.
What are hybrid degree programmes?
A hybrid programme is an educational arrangement that combines both online learning and face-to-face classroom deliberations. In this programme, students can take up to half of their credits or more by attending online classes. 
However, learners have to attend a few on-campus classes as well to have a basic understanding of the introductory courses. The institution will usually limit the number of online classes that a student can take for each semester. 
What are the advantages?
Students have been seeking educational courses that offer additional advantages in the post-COVID scenario. A hybrid programme comes with various benefits that may not be otherwise available in regular courses.
These include:
1. Convenience
One of the most significant benefits of opting for hybrid programmes is that it comes with a highly convenient structure. Students are not required to attend on-campus classes for the entire semester. The programme structure is divided into physical and online classes, which allow students to look after other obligations and responsibilities.
2. Affordability
Hybrid college programmes are less expensive as compared to traditional learning, which requires regular access to campus facilities. Consequently, students can save on tuition fees. Moreover, the expenses of buying books are reduced as study materials are supplied online by the institutions. 
3. Aids in self-pacing
Traditional learning might be a highly effective model for learning, but it doesn’t necessarily help in self-pacing. Hybrid programmes, on the other hand, offer much scope for self-pacing. Under this programme, students can attend online lectures at their convenience, submit assignments in batches and communicate with the faculty with ease. 
4. Personalisation
Learners can benefit from the high degree of personalisation that a hybrid degree programme offers. Students can set up a learning environment of their own. Moreover, they can arrange the lectures as per their convenience and find the options that suit them best. 
5. Higher level of engagement
Hybrid learning programmes offer an incredible level of engagement in two ways. First, the engagement level of students tends to increase when they are in control of the process. Students get to attend the lectures in their own set-up and environment at their convenience. In addition, the traditional on-campus element allows them to have a rich experience through direct interactions with the faculty and peers.
6. Hybrid programmes are flexible
These college programmes are designed to offer maximum flexibility. For instance, unlike traditional learning, students aren’t required to attend classes physically every day. One can visit the campus as per a schedule. Some college programmes allow students to gather for an intensive month for on-campus classes. Following this, they can attend the course virtually from any part of the worldÌ£. 
Hybrid degree programmes are less expensive compared to traditional or regular courses. Most educational institutions usually reduce the tuition fee rate for online classes by $100 or more for each credit. Thus, with a hybrid programme, students need to pay less as they attend a combination of online and on-campus classes. 
Usually, hybrid options are available for MBA courses that are designed for students who are engaged in full-time employment. However, institutions are increasingly offering hybrid models for many other educational programmes.
With the pandemic altering the scope and mode of higher education, options like hybrid programmes are set to become even more popular. The convenience and advantages that this programme offers are unparalleled when compared with traditional programmes. 

Monica Kapadia Mehta, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at Leap, brings over 29 years of experience across strategy, investments, and operations. Before Leap, she was an Executive Vice President at the Wadhwani Foundation and led the Wadhwani Entrepreneur Initiative. Before joining the Wadhwani Foundation, she was a Director at Omidyar Network, where she led education initiatives as well as grants in India. She has also been the founding partner of Kaizen Private Equity, India’s only education-focused equity fund. She has an M.B.A from the Thunderbird Global School of Management