India's educational landscape may have permanently accepted the mixed learning concept. Parents (89 percent), teachers (85 percent), and students (68 percent; by far the lowest of the three groups) would prefer to continue using online learning as a supplement to traditional learning methods in classrooms even after the Covid-19 pandemic is over, according to HP India's Future of Learning Study 2022.The HP Future of Learning Study 2022 covered 13 cities in India, which also included tier II and tier III cities; and some locations in Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Patna, Guwahati, Indore, Ranchi and Kochi. The study’s findings indicate that there are more students who are still using smartphones (53% of respondents) than PCs (44%) and tablets (3%).

Yet, there is a definite shift towards PCs, with almost 79% teachers recommending students using phones and tablets for online classrooms to switch to personal computers. At the same time, 56% of parents surveyed would like their children to switch to a PC.

Quite often, economic factors do come into play, for the slower shift from one device platform to another. Secondly, a smartphone generally costs lesser to buy than a PC-form device, such as a laptop, desktop or a convertible.

“Teachers feel online teaching helps with a better work-life balance,” says the report. That sentiment is echoed by as many as 92% of the surveyed teachers. It also adds that 88% of teachers believe digital tools help in better explanation of concepts, in different subjects.

Another observation is that students want to go back to school to meet with friends and classmates - that’s 77% of surveyed students - while an equal number say learning is easier when being physically around teachers. This is also perhaps why the acceptance of hybrid learning as a model is lower among students, compared with teachers and parents.

Educational institutions and parents agree that learning in online classrooms, which will transition into hybrid models in the future, will help in a variety of situations, such as periodical adverse weather spells, pollution spikes and heat waves, in different parts of the country. As many as 94% of the parents agree with this fact, and so do 90% teachers and 81% students.

“The hybrid learning model blends the benefits of online resources and in-person interactions of a traditional classroom setting to enhance the quality of learning. The remarkable shift towards digital learning has enriched student-teacher interactions while also ensuring the safety and comfort of everyone involved,” says Ketan Patel, MD, HP India. He believes that the learnings so far are going to play a pivotal role in creating a more efficient and effective hybrid learning model

Tech tools and training needs remain in focus. As many as 82% teachers believe that they could do well with more tools to help with online classrooms and 49% teachers believe IT support to solve any technical issues is critical. This should help with a point that 81% of the surveyed parents have raised – need more engagement between students and teachers.

(This is a slightly modified version of an article originally published in Hindustan Times. The original article can be found at https://www.hindustantimes.com/business/hybrid-learning-is-here-to-stay-and-teachers-suggest-use-of-pcs-hp-india-survey-101642676310627.html)