BlendFlex and HyFlex Models to Increase Student Engagement and Retention
Posted by Laura McLoughlin on August 11, 2021 in categoryFacts & ResearchcategoryBlended Learning

Each issue of Adult Literacy Education: The International Journal of Literacy, Language, and Numeracy wraps up with the “Technology Solutions for Adult Basic Skills Challenges feature. 

In the current issue of the research journal, David J. Rosen from Newsome Associates explores Flex learning models to address the challenges of student engagement and student persistence. Specifically, he looks at the new teaching and learning models HyFlex and BendFlex, possible through technology. 

Read an excerpt from Rosen’s column here: 

Now we have Flex learning, an especially convenient and adjustable kind of hybrid or blended learning. There are two kinds of Flex learning, HyFlex and BlendFlex. “Hy” refers to “hybrid,” and “Blend” refers to “blended” learning.  

In a HyFlex course, students can attend face-to-face or online synchronously or asynchronously. Brian Beatty, Associate Professor of Instructional Technologies in the Department of Equity, Leadership Studies and Instructional Technologies at San Francisco State University, when he was Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Operations, called the new mode he was developing in the mid-2000s “hyflex.” HyFlex has also been implemented at Purdue, the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, and in many other colleges and universities. 

From Beatty’s (2019) perspective, here are four fundamental values or principles of HyFlex (see p. 52): 

  1. Learner Choice: Provide meaningful alternative participation modes and enable students to choose between participation modes daily, weekly, or topically. 
  2. Equivalency: Provide learning activities in all participation modes which lead to equivalent learning outcomes. 
  3. Reusability: Utilize artifacts from learning activities in each participation mode as “learning objects for all students. 
  4. Accessibility: Equip students with technology skills and equitable access to all participation modes. 

How Does BlendFlex Differ from HyFlex 

Although Beatty has described BlendFlex as very much the same as HyFlex (2019), in some BlendFlex implementations there is less flexibility. It is common in BlendFlex, for example, for instructors to pre-assign students’ face-to-face attendance on certain days. On other days they may choose how to participate, for example whether to attend remotely, watch a recorded session, or complete an online module.  


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