Green Decorative Wheat

Different Approaches to Hybrid Design

There is no single approach of designing hybrid courses. In this section we will discuss the most common approaches based on best practices of experienced hybrid instructors and programs. The instructor can choose one approach or a combination of the two. 

Modular Design

An important component of hybrid course design is dividing the learning materials into learning modules. A learning module is a discrete, self-contained learning experience. Organizing course content into modules makes course creation easier, simplifies course updates, and gives consistency for students. Standardizing the flow of content within modules especially helps students with only basic Web browsing skills with easy navigation to find information (Caulfield, 2011).  

Modular design utilizes three most prevalent instructional methods; lecture, discussion, and active-learning experience (Heineke & Meile, 1995). The lecture component of modular design approach is where the instructor conveys information to students who assume a mostly passive role. Lectures can be conducted in the in-person sessions or remotely using video tools. The discussion format allows students to actively participate in the course by exercising thinking skills and engaging in conversations among themselves or with the instructor. On the other hand, active learning experiences include a wide range of activities and exercises including games and role-plays, which are mostly conducted in the in-person session. Outside the classroom, students will be expected to complete homework problems,  go through lecture videos if available, and prepare for the next session by completing assigned reading. 

Assessment is another component of a hybrid course that needs the instructor's design consideration. Assessments can be at the end of every module, it can be online, in-person, or some in both settings; it can be individual work, group projects, or a combination of both.   

Delivery Design

Another important design of a hybrid design is differentiating the part and amount of course component to be delivered in the online format and in the classroom setting. A course will be considered fully online if at least 80% of the content is delivered in an online setting; and it will be considered as a face-to-face if at least 70% of the content is delivered in a traditional classroom setting. This means, a hybrid course has between 30 and 80 percent of the course content delivered online with some face-to-face interaction (Allen & Seaman, 2010)

When designing a hybrid course the instructor should decide how much and which part of the course content should go online and face-to-face. It is also important to consult the department or the program that is hosting the course. In this approach of hybrid design, the instructor can organize the learning materials, activities, and assignments based on the type of delivery. Similar to the Modular Approach, it is very important to organize course in an easily navigable way. Organizing the courses based on the delivery platform and at the same time with an obvious path to navigate through every content including assignments and test, helps learners to manage their time more properly. 


Allen, E. & Seaman, J. (2013). Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States. Wellesley, MA: Babson College.

Caulfield, J. (2011). How to design and teach a hybrid course. Sterling, VA: StylusPublishing

Heineke, J., & Meile, L. (1995). Games and exercises for operations management:Hands-on learning activities for basic concepts and tools. Englewood Cliffs,NJ: Prentice-Hall