Hybrid Flexible (HyFlex) Instruction: What, How, Why, and When to Use?


  • Lina Battestilli North Carolina State University
  • Elaine Bohórquez North Carolina State University
  • April Fogleman North Carolina State University
  • Sarah Khan North Carolina State University


HyFlex Instruction, Student Engagement, Academic Stress, Student Satisfaction, Self Directed Learning, Covid-19 Stress


The Covid-19 pandemic had a profound impact on the daily lives of students and revealed the importance of technology as an integral part of teaching in today’s educational arena.  As public health measures reduced virus transmission and enabled the return to in-person learning, the lasting impact of the pandemic required instructors to adapt to an ever-evolving academic landscape. The HyFlex structure provided much needed flexibility for students to mitigate education disruptions. HyFlex is a learner-centered model that combines three instructional modalities: 1)online asynchronous, 2) online synchronous, and 3)face-to-face in-person learning . Students have the choice of these three learning modalities and can change learning modes during the course’s progression without compromising academic goals and integrity. Previous studies have shown that HyFlex courses have a higher rate of student retention than online or asynchronous courses, suggesting that this flexibility positively influences student success. Yet, there are few studies that explore how effective HyFlex learning has been for students. The shortage of empirical studies investigating HyFlex in higher education led us to explore the effects of HyFlex on student engagement and academic stress during the transition back to campus instruction. During Spring of 2022, we surveyed ~750 students in courses employing HyFlex learning on our university campus. The study included undergraduate and graduate students and spanned 6 separate courses in 3 colleges across disciplines, including physiology, nutrition, computer science, and business. Survey topics included student perceptions of course content and technologies, stress related to academics and Covid-19, student engagement and self-directed learning, and overall satisfaction with the course. During this session, we will outline the key elements for the successful use of the HyFlex model from instructors’ experience and will discuss the results of our study to highlight how using HyFlex impacted our students, particularly as it relates to student engagement and academic stress in the transition to a post-pandemic era.