The Impact of HyFlex Training on Faculty Perceptions of Their Transfer Behavior and Inclusive Teaching Practices

Date

2021-08

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Abstract

Background: Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the spring 2020 semester, more than 600 higher education institutions adopted hybrid learning modalities to address the changing needs of learners and ensure the safety of faculty and students. Reports indicate HyFlex, a hybrid modality that enables students to choose their attendance mode i.e., face-to-face or online sessions, was widely utilized. This transition presented faculty with the challenge of acquiring new knowledge and skills to design and deliver HyFlex courses. In response to these challenges, one highly diverse, research university in the US created a training initiative to offer its faculty professional development (PD) that would help them navigate the complexities of HyFlex instruction during this time. The PD, which was created in-house by faculty and staff, consisted of online synchronous training sessions, consultations, and digital resources. This study explored the perceptions of faculty regarding the extent to which the PD and organizational support systems helped them implement HyFlex, and the extent to which HyFlex helped them address the needs of diverse learners. Studies indicate that the quality of an online course is strongly correlated to how PD addresses the needs of faculty members. In addition, research shows that organizational support, including supervisor support, peer support, and job relevance, are crucial determinants of training transfer. Purpose/research questions: This study sought to address the following research questions: 1) To what extent, based on faculty perceptions, did professional development influence faculty transfer behavior? 2) What organizational factors (training orientation, supervisor application support, and peer support) did faculty perceive to be most influential in their implementation of HyFlex? and 3) To what extent did faculty perceive the HyFlex model helpful in meeting the needs of diverse learners? Methods: A survey/mixed methods research design which included quantitative and qualitative questions was employed to (i) examine the correlations among PD, organizational support, and faculty transfer behavior, and (ii) to explore faculty perceptions concerning HyFlex as an inclusive instructional tool. The survey incorporated the Output of Transfer Behavior and Inclusive Teaching Strategies Inventory. It was administered to faculty who utilized the PD in the Fall 2020 semester. Conclusion: Multiple regression analysis was performed to analyze the relationships among PD, organizational factors, and perceived transfer behavior. Descriptive and thematic analysis was conducted to explore faculty perceptions regarding the utility of HyFlex in meeting diverse learners’ needs, particularly during the pandemic. The results showed that PD and training orientation were significantly related to faculty transfer behavior. In general, faculty felt neutral about HyFlex as a means for supporting learners with disabilities, although many agreed that HyFlex enabled individual accommodations. In addition, faculty felt neutral about HyFlex facilitating inclusive teaching practices, although they agreed that HyFlex enabled them to present course information in multiple formats. The results point to a greater need to invest in faculty development and teaching practices that provide students with multiple options to engage with the content.

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Keywords

Faculty development, Professional development, Training Transfer, HyFlex, Diverse learners, Inclusive teaching

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