Tips for teachers using hybrid and concurrent learning

Perry Fiorentino is an IXL Professional Learning Specialist with experience as a middle school teacher and department chair.

As each school district is faced with unprecedented challenges this school year, many classrooms are taking on diverse types of learning formats. One format that has emerged this winter is a form of hybrid learning called “concurrent learning” or the “HyFlex model.”  With this type of learning, some students are in the physical classroom, and some students are working from home—and the at-home group is watching a live video feed of what is happening in the classroom. This is slightly different than a traditional hybrid model, where students working from home would be asynchronous and working independently.

You can imagine that conducting a classroom with the concurrent learning model requires a great deal of preparation and classroom management, both in-person and virtually. Here are some tips and tricks for finding success with this new learning model.

Modify your lesson structure  

  • Flip your classroom: If you are able to pre-record your direct instruction for a lesson, students can watch this ahead of time. That way, synchronous learning time can be better spent engaging with students, both virtually and in person
    • IXL tip: Use a screen recording tool to record yourself teaching while you walk through practice problems from an IXL skill.
  • The flip-flop model: While you work with the students in your classroom, students working at home could work on a different independent activity. When it’s time to switch, you can then deliver virtual instruction to your at-home learners, and your students in your classroom can work on something independently. This reduces the need to have to manage both groups at the same time.
    • IXL tip: If you need something for your independent workers to do, they can always work on an assigned IXL skill, or a skill they choose from their Recommendations wall.
  • Pre-record activity directions: Help students who have trouble following along at home by pre-recording directions for an activity. They can pause and/or rewatch the video at any time to get clarity.  

Buddy system: If each student has their own device, you can pair a student working at home with a student who is working in person. When a student who is working at home needs extra help or attention (whether it’s logistical or academic), their buddy can either help them right away, or get your attention. This way, you can make sure that all student needs are met, without having to be bound to your computer.

Consistency is key: While the concurrent learning format might naturally bring some level of chaos into your day, it’s helpful to create a consistent structure. For example, students might know that you will always start the day with a warm-up activity or entrance ticket. Or, students might know that on Mondays before break time, there will be an opportunity to share a quick story from their weekend. When students are made aware of the structure, and it is held constant each day and each week, both you and your students will feel more comfortable.

  • IXL tip: Dedicate a section of the week for students to work on their IXL Recommendations wallfor example, “Work it out Wednesdays.”


More ways that IXL can support concurrent learning

  • Creating classes: Within your roster, create separate “classes” based on who is in person and who is working at home. This will allow you to assign skills, manage settings, and track progress for each group more easily.


  • Live Classroom: Take advantage of a teacher-favorite IXL tool, Live Classroom.  You can simultaneously monitor students who are working on IXL in class and students who are working on IXL at home. With Live Classroom, you can see who needs additional support, and redirect any students who are off-task. You can even message students directly


  • IXL skill practice: IXL skills are an excellent opportunity for students to practice what they’ve learned independently, as each skill provides immediate feedback so students can learn from their mistakes. If you need something for your students to do on their own, whether at home or at school, you can assign an IXL skill to them! See skills that perfectly match your textbooks, state standards, and test prep plans in your IXL skill plans.