Health Sciences and Hybrid Learning — Like a horse and carriage

“What is released by the post ganglions of the parasympathetic nervous system? By the way, this is just basic physiology; we haven’t even started on the actual pharmacology.” Ms. Zuki Tshabalala is addressing a classroom full of clinical associates and a group of healthcare professionals. And what better way to answer this question than by accessing a series of on-line videos.  These are placed on ClickUP, along with lecture notes, and other interactive material which combines theory with practice. So, whether you are in the classroom or in a clinical environment, you are able to source what you need, when you need it, using the technology that best suits you.

The University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Health Sciences is a perfect example of ‘you can’t have one without the other’. In other words, exposure to learning through a variety of platforms is not only desirable but essential. The advance of technology has made this possible. It has been able to bring into the classroom the realities of clinical experience. And the opposite is also true: it introduces into the clinical context the concepts of theoretical analysis and shared experience.

The Faculty of Health Sciences has a long and proud tradition of excellence in the education of health care professionals.  At the heart of this is the Faculty’s commitment to quality in teaching and learning.  Health Sciences curricula and teaching methods are constantly updated to ensure that they keep pace with the demands of a rapidly changing world. High standards and innovative approaches to learning ensure that graduates can deal with complexity and solve problems in their working world.  

Any platform that provides an opportunity for enhancing the learning experience, whether it is a teaching venue, laboratory, skills training unit, IT facility, residential and teaching hospital or clinic, is used optimally. Students learn through practice in hospitals, clinics, and community projects, they learn in the classroom, and they learn on digital platforms of various kinds. This is hybrid learning at its best.

Most students agree: the combination of different platforms, including classroom experience, ensures the best quality learning to prepare you for the world of work. Dr xx confirms: “It gives the student the ability to learn in a variety of ways. Each student learns differently. Some students prefer to listen, others prefer actual visuals. Using different modes ensures great success with the students. Students are able to pick what works best for them.”

Health Sciences is hybrid learning at its best! For two decades, the University of Pretoria (UP) has offered a hybrid approach to teaching and learning. This means that the University has adopted a delivery model which makes use of traditional learning tools such as classroom based learning, in conjunction with technology-supported platforms. This model has secured the University of Pretoria’s place on the African continent as a leader in the use of a hybrid learning model. This is just another way the University makes sure that students graduate not just with content knowledge, but prepared for the world of work.

With acknowledgment to Zuki Tshabalala, senior lecturer in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Pretoria.

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