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Leading adult education through support for and the effective application of technology.

Hyflex Successes and Challenges

by OTAN SME Francisco Xavier Pinedo Jr.


HyFlex combines the terms hybrid and flexibility. While in hybrid learning, the instructor makes all the decisions about the format, in HyFlex learning is based on students deciding how they would like to be taught. Some choices of a HyFlex environment can include the following as well as a mix of them:

  1. Synchronous face-to-face in person instruction
  2. Asynchronous face-to-face via video (Zoom, Google Meets, etc.)
  3. Fully asynchronous via a Learning Management System (LMS) like Canvas

I do suggest teachers check with their administrator to make sure HyFlex teaching is an option based on school and union agreements. There are four values that have guided HyFLex instruction since it was introduced in 2006. (Beatty, 2007) The values are:

  1. Learner Choice: Alternatives to class participation and student decides what mode to participate in class.
  2. Equivalency: Have learning activities in all participation modes that lead to same learning outcomes.
  3. Reusability: Use artifacts (student work) from learning activities in each mode as learning objectives for all students.
  4. Accessibility: Equip students with technology skills and equitable access to all participation modalities.

Classroom setting, students sitting behind a desk Illustrative Example: Soledad Adult School

At Soledad Adult School, we implemented a HyFlex ESL class with an Asynchronous modality. This fully equipped classroom houses an OWL camera, iPad for in class use with Zoom, and identified apps/ websites students used during the course. In a classroom of 35 students, on a given day about 25 participated in class and approximately about 5-10 students participated asynchronously during the 6:00-8:00 pm Beginning ESL class. Some of the reasons why students chose to participate asynchronously in this class are:

  • Lack of babysitting
  • Work schedules (students get home around 5:00 pm)
  • Underlying health conditions
  • Social anxiety

Classroom setting, students sitting behind the desk reading and being involved in a discussion

Currently, when a student registers for this class, they understand it will be in a HyFlex class format. The term HyFlex is explained to them, and students understand they will fully engage and participate in class regardless of the modality of attending class. After the initial registration at Soledad Adult School (SAS) for this class, students are asked if they have the technology needed at home to participate asynchronously if needed. If the student does not have the technology needed like tablet, Wi-Fi, or Chromebook/laptop they are then referred to a local nonprofit organization in Monterey County which has low cost or free devices. Unfortunately, if the equipment is unavailable, the recommendation is for the student to attend class in person.

Students at SAS like the flexibility they have when choosing how to attend class. Many times, students come in person, and other times they connect Asynchronously, but get the same learning experience across the board. Students learn how to use apps or sites like Padlet, Nearpod, and Google Forms in addition to curriculum. Students at SAS who feel they have limited technology skills, can meet with their teacher on Fridays, as those are dedicated “Tech Help Days” to brush up on tech skills needed to succeed in the online environment.

Some benefits we found at SAS is with HyFlex teaching, we can serve more students. Each classroom on site can accommodate 20 adult students. We only have 5 classrooms we use in the evening, and usually have wait lists for our ESL and HSE classes. We will begin to implement the use of HyFlex classes in all our ESL programs to serve more students and keep waiting lists low by the school year 2024-25. One of our goals is to also have 1 HSE class be in a HyFlex model by SY 2024-25. This will help many of our students who can’t attend traditional class schedules (am or evening) because of their changing work schedule in agriculture here in the Salinas Valley, Salad Bowl of the World. Students will be able to join class asynchronously via Zoom or on Canvas in their own time and still relate to the in-person learning happening in our programs.

Also, we found student persistence is higher in this ESL class where we have a HyFlex model compared to the other four ESL classes which are in person only. A lot of our students are seasonal farm workers, and many move to other parts of the state and southwestern United States because of work, but they remain active in class because of HyFlex learning.

Classroom setting, students sitting behind a desk involved in a discussion


Teaching in a HyFlex model has not been an easy ride. Many barriers are out of our agency’s control. Our biggest barrier is still connectivity. Many times, our District’s servers are worked on during evening hours, affecting the ability to transmit class over Zoom for our students to participate in class. Fortunately, because of our advocacy, we now, get 2–3-day notices in advance regarding scheduled maintenance and we can use a district issued teacher hot spot. Another barrier to connectivity is network outages in South Monterey County. Fiber optic lines used by two of our Internet Providers for Soledad and South Monterey County sometimes get damaged by farm equipment causing residents to not have Internet for up to two days while repairs are done. These types of incidents occur frequently in South Monterey County. Many areas of unincorporated Monterey County like many rural parts of the state of California, do not have access to connectivity at all. Knowing this, we do upload content on Canvas which requires low bandwidth usage. Instead of uploading a long video, we usually upload a 1–2-minute video. This helps students who use their mobile device to connect to the Internet.

Teacher preparation for HyFlex teaching can be a barrier. As a HyFlex instructor, I do spend more time creating activities for students because these need to work in-class, online, and they may be different from one another. One thing I keep in mind is any time spent curating activities is saved and can be re-used for future classes. HyFlex preparation is a different mindset for traditional instructors. However, with some professional development, mindsets can be changed. It’s altogether very rewarding when students can participate at different times and days of the week due to their busy work and family schedules.


Although sometimes it can be challenging to deliver HyFlex instruction, there are successes to this model of teaching. Some of our students have told us, that class time Asynchronously via Zoom has turned into a family bonding experience, as children are “in class” with the adult learner helping them with technology issues like using other apps (Nearpod, Padlet, Google Forms). Their children become the adult learner’s own tech support. Hyflex model supports the needs and goals of our busy adult learners.

Additional OTAN Resources

Digital Learning Guidance Chapter 4 features Designing Flexible Learning Experiences using Blended Learning and Chapter 5 features Adopting Models that Work with more about HyFlex.

Using Zoom as a Distance Learning Tool in Adult Education

OTAN Tech Talk - - Simultaneous Instruction Using the HyFlex Model

Blended Learning In Adult Education

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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.