Skip main navigation

What are the new ways of learning?

We need to consider which approach to learning will best suit our students, to allow for connectivity, flexibility and interaction.

Many Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are changing to accommodate new ways of learning. No longer do we only have traditional face-to-face teaching – we’re now embracing blended, online and hybrid learning too, each of which have been driven by technological advancements.

‘Online education is serving as a catalyst, forcing faculty to reconceptualise teaching and learning’ (Gülseçen et al., 2013, p. 292).

Blended learning integrates face-to-face and online instruction and is widely adopted across HEIs with some scholars referring to it as the ‘new traditional model’ (Graham, 2019, p. 173).


The three ways of learning

These are in-person, online and hybrid.

  • Online teaching and learning are delivered on virtual platforms and can range from engaging in live classes, such as lectures and seminars – typically named webinars (synchronous) – to engaging with previously created learning resources (asynchronous).
  • Hybrid teaching refers to any scenario where teaching takes place at the same time for students who are physically present in the classroom with the tutor, and for students who join the class remotely via a web platform such as Microsoft Teams.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which started in 2019, witnessed many HEIs being thrust into online education to ensure continuity of learning for their students. Online learning has the potential to improve access and learning opportunities for students described as both non-traditional and disenfranchised (Moore et al., 2011).


In a study conducted by Diaz and Entonado (2009), it was reported that online learning can provide innovative educational opportunities to fit the needs of students who have time management problems in their learning strategies, with low anxiety, high problem-solving efficacy, thus making a strong case for more inclusive teaching and learning practices.

But online education does not come without challenges. We need to consider which approach to learning will best suit our students that allows for connectivity, flexibility and interaction, and will open doors for inspiring lifelong learning.


Diaz, L., & Entonado, F. (2009). Are the functions of teachers in e-learning and face-to-face learning environments really different? Educational Technology & Society, 12(4), 331–343.

Graham, C. R. (2019). Current research in blended learning. In M. Moore. & W. C. Diehl, Handbook of distance education (4th ed., pp. 173–188). Routledge.

Gülseçen, S., Reis, A., Z., Erol, S., Ç., Karataş, K., E., Gezer, M., Şimsek, İ., Asaadi, Y., Derelioğlu, Y., Yıldırım, K., Gürsul, F., Mutlu, D., Şişman, B. & Özen, Z. (2013). Comparison of on-line and F2F education methods in teaching computer programming. World Journal on Educational Technology, 5(2), 291–300.

Lee, J., & Choi, H. (2019). Rethinking the flipped learning pre-class: Its influence on the success of flipped learning and related factors. British Journal of Educational Technology, 50(2), 934–945. DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12618

Taylor, A. (2015). Flipping great or flipping useless? A review of the flipped classroom experiment at Coventry University London Campus. Journal of pedagogic development 5(3), 57–65. Web link

© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0 Images by Getty Images
This article is from the free online

Exploring Teaching and Assessment for Higher Education

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now