Investigating the HyFlex Modality: Students’ Satisfaction and Impact on Learning

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Background: The 2020 pandemic disrupted the higher education system. However, it provided an opportunity to re-examine the teaching modes and propagate innovative and flexible learning modalities. The HyFlex course was one of those modalities that flourished because of the challenges imposed by the pandemic. Universities across the nation offered HyFlex classes during the pandemic as a solution to open their campuses while offering students a flexible attendance choice. A HyFlex course simultaneously offers face-to-face, online synchronous, and online asynchronous instruction modalities. Students can choose to attend each session that works best for their current circumstances. Although the HyFlex modality has existed since 2006, there is scarce research exploring its impact on learners’ satisfaction and learning especially, on nontraditional students. Purpose: This study assessed the students' satisfaction with the HyFlex modality and their perceptions of its impact on their learning. It also compared the level of satisfaction and perceived impact on learning for traditional and nontraditional students. In addition, the study explored factors that influenced students’ satisfaction and perceived learning. Methods: This online study adopted a convergent mixed methods approach with a questionnaire variant that included closed and opened-ended questions. The study involved 162 undergraduate students enrolled in HyFlex courses in a college of technology in a large urban public university in the southern region of the United States. The participants were a mix of traditional and non-traditional students. The quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The qualitative data were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Findings: The results of the quantitative analysis indicated that 93.1% were satisfied with the HyFlex modality. Only 4.3% were dissatisfied. Also, 95.7% of students perceived that the HyFlex modality had a positive impact on their learning. The nontraditional students indicated a higher level of satisfaction and a more positive perception of the impact of this modality on their learning than the traditional students. The findings from the qualitative analysis revealed that students’ satisfaction and the positive impact was mainly attributed to the flexible attendance mode, which enabled them to balance the demands of their education and other obligations and eliminated many personal stressors. The recorded lectures were reported highly beneficial to students’ learning outcomes. Despite the high level of satisfaction and the positive impact of the HyFlex modality on student learning, some students reported some concerns related to personal preferences and roles, instructors' skills and attitudes, and suitability of the HyFlex for certain types of classes/subjects. Conclusion: This study suggests that the HyFlex modality is promising in addressing students’ needs of flexibility and convenience while providing them with a positive learning experience and outcomes. However, to fully achieve its potential, this modality requires students to be self-regulated, instructors to be trained to teach in this modality and have a positive attitude toward it, and classrooms to be adequately equipped with the needed technology.

Flexible attendance policy, HyFlex, Impact on learning, Nontraditional students, Recorded lectures, Students’ satisfaction, Traditional students