Course Design Models that Combine In-Person and Online Components: Definitions and Examples

There are several options for designing courses that have both a face-to-face (in-person) component and an online component. The following definitions are offered to clarify the differences between blended, hybrid, hyflex, and flipped courses. The key to your course design is to find the appropriate combination that best supports students in meeting the course learning outcomes.

Image from: A Guide to Hybrid and Blended Learning in Higher Education, World Wide Technology

  • Learning happens in face-to-face sessions and online, with both modalities integrated into a cohesive learning experience
  • Online materials and activities are meant to complement, supplement, and build upon (rather than replace) face-to-face time



  • In contrast with blended courses, hybrid courses replace much of the face-to-face time with online interaction. A significant portion of the course takes place online.
  • Online components can be synchronous or asynchronous



  • Students learn fundamental knowledge prior to class through an online component, and expand upon that knowledge through activities conducted in-class
  • Flipped courses are blended courses and may also be hybrid courses



  • Hyflex combines the terms "hybrid" and "flexible"
  • Each class is offered in-person, synchronously online, and asynchronously online to provide a flexible experience and multiple modes of participation
  • Students are given choice in how they participate in the course and engage with material, and can change their method of participation throughout the course (e.g., weekly, by topic, or according to preference)



  • Learning happens fully online through a balance of synchronous and asynchronous approaches
  • Synchronous learning opportunities allow for real-time interactions and responsiveness, and provide structure for both students and instructors. Asynchronous learning opportunities, when thoughtfully structured and delivered, provide greater flexibility for learners to digest the material, to engage in deeper reflection, and to work around any unanticipated challenges such as illness or emergencies.




Additional Resources:

Blended, Hybrid, and Flipped Courses: What's the Difference?, Center for the Advancement of Teaching, Temple University