Searching for Answers to Hybrid Approaches in Communication and Learning Environments

Searching for Answers to Hybrid Approaches in Communication and Learning Environments

Michael Anthony Brown Sr. (Florida Institute of Technology, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3355-0.ch011
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This examination focuses on hybrid approaches and highlights two in particular: blended learning and the hybrid shift. Blended learning can support online and face-to-face (F2F) students equally by providing similar learning experiences. Incorporating synchronicity is recommended as a way to address the limitations of asynchronous learning resident in the proposed hybrid approach. Synchronicity is connecting two or more people in related educational events at the same time. Another approach, the “hybrid shift,” features faculty design content and structure with a focus on being thoughtful, engaging, and intentional in promoting learning, effective collaboration, critical thinking, and communication skills. George Santayana said, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This is relevant in that social media grew, in part, out of a need to overcome communication limitations of geographical distance and time. This examination looks closely at hybrid approaches and offers some answers for educational implications.
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Today’s scholars are beginning to understand the importance of taking a hybrid approach to social communication that combines the best of face-to-face and online interactions. This approach considers internal and external forces on people and their communication environment. My research suggests a hybrid approach that combines the best of face-to-face and online communication. Researchers have found that even when digital communication is the better method, it was more effective when combined with face-to-face interactions (M. A. Brown, 2017, p. 209). All parties in a communication must strive to get the best possible message-medium fit tailored to the choice of media and type of use. This should result in enhanced collaborations focused on message, media-mix, task, digital communication competence, interaction partners, optimal outcomes, and considerations of context (Bubaš, 2001).

This article examines the continued growth of computer-mediated communication as a starting point in working toward a hybrid approach to combining face-to-face and online activities. We then move to a discussion of the importance of trust in effective collaborations. Trust is built, in part, by overcoming and adjusting to barriers to communication. Finally, the article discusses aspects of human interactions leading to the proposed hybrid approach.

For instance, James Arthur Baldwin, American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic, said, “Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go (2018).” Success in social networking relies on creating relationships and building strong ties.

The prevalence of digital communications might suggest that there are no issues with communication, or even that there is no need to focus on face-to-face interactions. I disagree. For instance, researchers in the United Kingdom analyzed the quality of face-to-face interactions and the way in which they are influenced by mobile communication technology (Przybylski & Weinstein, 2013). The results point to the difficulty that the mere presence of mobile phones causes difficulties in developing interpersonal trust and closeness, or even in starting a face-to-face communication at all (M. A. Brown, 2017, p. 3). The UK research also suggests that the more personal the interaction, the higher the level of difficulty (Przybylski & Weinstein, 2013).

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