• Guide for Design and Implementation of Hybrid–Flexible (HyFlex) Models in Adult Education
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Section 1. Programmatic Planning for HyFlex Learning Before Implementation
  • Section 2. Instructional Planning
  • Section 3. Teaching in a HyFlex Class
  • Section 4. Implementing and Scaling Up Flex Models
  • Section 5. Program Evaluation
  • Section 6. Hardware and Education Software Application Choices
  • Section 7. HyFlex Program Vignettes
  • Appendix A. HyFlex Videos and Resources
  • Appendix B. HyFlex Technology Example - Waubonsee Community College in Illinois
  • Download
  • Translations
  • Section 2

    Instructional Planning

    Choosing a Class To Offer HyFlex

    Our initial scan found that HyFlex was being offered in many different types of adult education classes: English language, adult basic education, adult secondary education, and integrated education and training (IET). When planning to offer a new HyFlex model class, it's important to consider which classes have learners who have the academic skills, digital literacy skills, technology access, and resilience needed to pilot this new format. Many of the adult education practitioners we interviewed were offering HyFlex for English language learners with intermediate to advanced skills or for high school equivalency classes. However, that’s not to say these are the only learners who can excel in a HyFlex class. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that learners with a wide range of skills can thrive in online learning when given quality instruction, supports for learning, and access to digital devices and home broadband internet.

    Adult Education HyFlex Instruction Models

    Beatty’s (2019) model for HyFlex includes three instructional modes in which learners can daily choose which way they’d like to participate: in-person class, online synchronous class, or asynchronous online instruction. In our initial nationwide survey of adult education programs providing HyFlex, we found that most learners chose one instructional mode and tended to stick to that format. One variance was that occasionally in-person learners would choose to join the live online class because of weather, childcare, work schedules or transportation issues, but then would return to in-person classes once the driving factor for choosing the remote option was no longer operative.

    As you plan your HyFlex class or program, you’ll want to consider what instruction looks like in each of the HyFlex modes. Below are some models that we identified during our initial scan of HyFlex classes. Keep in mind that many of the programs where we observed these models continue to refine them to best meet the needs of their learners.

    Table 1. Examples of the Three HyFlex Modes at Different Adult Education Organizations 

    Program Location Of Note In-Person and Synchronous Online Class Online Asynchronous Activities

    Arizona (Mesa)

    • Students required to attend either online or in-person class
    • Asynchronous component used more for homework
    • Attending in-person open lab was optional

    Twice weekly, three hours each

    • Two hours a week
    • Homework with some assignments aligned to class and some self-paced assignments



    Students reserve in-person class spots using Picktime

    Twice weekly, for two hours each

    Class recordings

    Arizona (Arizona Center for Youth)

    Not-for-profit center for out-of-school youth

    Either two or four times weekly (depending on class), for 1.5 hours each 

    One hour per week minimum required as homework

    California (Garden Grove)

    Learners choose preferred method of attendance at the beginning of the semester but can switch between modes

    Four times weekly, for 2.5 hours each

    Class recordings

    California (Santa Barbara)

    Open-entry, open-exit model, as well as managed enrollment

    Varies, depending on class. ASE/GED meets four times weekly for four hours, with two of those days HyFlex

    As a resource for independent learning or as additional resource to accelerate progress

    Illinois (Waubonsee Community College) 

    Both daytime and evening classes are offered

    Twice weekly, three hours each

    LMS: Canvas


    (Hubbs Center)

    Offers HyFlex for ESL, ABE, and IET classes

    Four times weekly, for two hours each, plus homework

    Google Classroom

    Wisconsin (Milwaukee Area Technical College)

    Found that HyFlex worked for ESL learners with lower level English skills

    Twice weekly, for 1–3 hours each (depending on the class)

    Class recordings

    HyFlex Lesson-Planning Approach

    Once you decide on your HyFlex model, you can begin to plan instruction for each mode. Beatty (2019) has developed four guiding principles that can guide HyFlex implementation and lesson planning. Each principle is presented along with an example from an adult education HyFlex class.

    Learner Choice

    As you plan instruction, allow learners to choose how they complete course activities in any given week or topic. This means each mode needs to address the same objectives; however, how learners reach those objectives may vary. 


    In-person learners who have internet-accessible devices in the classroom, synchronous online learners, and asynchronous learners may each complete a Jamboard activity to practice giving direction and using sequence words. In-person learners may also have the option of completing this activity using paper cut outs or sticky notes. Regardless of what mode the learner chooses to participate, they are provided with equivalent learning opportunities. 

    Equivalency Principle

    Regardless of which mode learners choose, they should achieve equivalent learning. The same learning objectives should serve as the basis for the content and activities, and learners should strive to achieve the same outcomes. 

    That doesn’t mean that all learning modes will have the same learning experiences. For example, a learner participating in the online asynchronous mode may reach the same learning objectives as those participating  in-person  or synchronously, but could have less social interaction in the process.


    An ESL HyFlex class objective may be to succeed at giving written directions using the imperative form. In-person and online learners write these directions in small groups, while an asynchronous learner may do this independently. However, after completing the learning activities, all learners should be able to give written directions using the imperative form.

    Reusability Principle

    Resources that you use for one mode can also be used for others. This can help to save time and ensure that HyFlex teaching leads to equivalent learning outcomes for all learners. Using templates and classroom routines can also help with this.


    Accessibility Principle

    As you plan your instruction, you’ll want to ensure that learners have the technology skills and access to participate in all modes to the best extent that your resources allow. Digital literacy self-assessment tools (see Figure 6) can inform you of learners’ technology skills (World Education, 2020).

    Figure 5. Digital literacy self-assessment tool
    Modified from EdTech Center @World Education. (n.d.) https://edtech.worlded.org/resource/digital-literacy-self-assessment-tool

    Some programs use digital navigators to ensure learners have access to technology and Wi-Fi, as well as ensure they have the digital literacy skills needed to use them (Building a Digitally Resilient Workforce, (https://edtech.worlded.org/resource/digital-literacy-self-assessment-2020).

    Beatty (2019) also advocates for ensuring your materials are accessible and usable for all learners. The EdTech Center @ World Education’s Lightning Talk on Accessibility in the Adult Education Classroom and the National Center of Accessibility Educational Materials are two resources to assist you with providing equitable access to learning resources.


    HyFlex Lesson Planning Tools and Resources

    Beatty (2019) recommends starting lesson planning for the asynchronous mode first. In practice, we found that adult educators approached HyFlex lesson planning differently, based on their context and program needs, and perhaps because many had yet to integrate the online asynchronous component. For example, some programs were only offering online instruction because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so they needed to consider how they would add an in-person component as they developed their HyFlex class. Another program took an in-person curriculum that was already developed and added an online component so that it could be offered as a HyFlex class.

    Identify Your Standards

    You’ll want to determine what content standards you’ll use as the basis for your curriculum and lesson plan objectives. Standards frequently used in adult education include the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) and English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS). These standards not only guide lesson planning, but also can help to identify what instructional resources you’ll be using.

    Core Curriculum

    Most of the adult education practitioners surveyed reported that they used a proprietary or commercial resource as their core curriculum. One adult educator strongly recommended ensuring that your curriculum has online activities and resources to provide structure and activities for your HyFlex class. CrowdED Learning’s SkillBlox is a resource that can be used to identify standards-based curriculum and activities.

    Learning Management System

    All programs surveyed indicated that they used an LMS to organize information, learning activities, and resources for HyFlex learners. Some programs used a free LMS, such as Google Classroom, while others used a commercial LMS, such as Canvas.

    Video Conferencing  Platform

    All HyFlex classes used a video conference tool, such as Zoom or Google Meet. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, HyFlex survey participants indicated that they already had a platform that they used for their distance learning online classes which was also used for HyFlex instruction. One consideration for the online platform is to ensure that you have enough seats to allow in-person learners to also join online if you’d like online and in-person learners to collaborate.

    Educational Technology

    HyFlex adult education teachers reported that they used a variety of digital technology to engage learners and assess learning, including Nearpod, Kahoot, Poll Everywhere, Google Slides, Jamboard, Google Forms, and Pear Deck. The EdTech Integration Strategy Toolkit is one resource that can help identify digital technology for use in the three HyFlex modes.

    Lesson Plan Format

    Lesson plans should address how learners in each mode will engage in the learning activities and how you will assess learning. You may also find you need to provide additional details about how communication and support will be provided in each mode.

    Beatty (2019) provides templates for HyFlex lesson planning and assessment, as pictured in Figures 6 and 7.

    Figure 6. Student learning planning resource (Beatty, 2021)

    Figure 7. Assessing learning outcomes resource (Beatty, 2019)

    Orienting Learners

    Several HyFlex adult education teachers and administrators noted that orientation was critical to ensuring that learners understood the expectations and format of the class and that they had the technology skills needed to thrive. Below is a summary of some of the various formats and topics that were covered in the adult education survey participants’ HyFlex orientations.

    Table 2. Examples of HyFlex Learner Orientation Topics and Formats 

    HyFlex Orientation Formats Offered HyFlex Orientation Topics Covered
    • Learners could choose online, in person, or on-demand video
    • Required in-person or online synchronous meeting with tech support and then a final “readiness for class” session conducted in person to ensure that all apps and programs were on the learner’s device and the learner could access all the websites needed
    • Instructor met with students 30 minutes before the first class
    • Technology Bootcamp which covered the LMS, major curriculum, and ed tech tools used in class 
    • Teacher reviewed the orientation materials the first day of class
    • Required “Getting Ready for Class” workshops
    • Orientation conducted throughout the first few weeks of class


    • Video conferencing technology basics, etiquette, and norms
    • General tech skills, such as opening new tabs and typing in usernames and passwords
    • Logging into the LMS
    • How to get tech support


    • Difference between HyFlex class and other classes (modalities, flexibility, teacher’s role)
    • Learner responsibilities
    • How to indicate class mode (when learners could switch daily)
    • Importance of peer support
    • Demands of the class
    • Classroom norms (cameras on, off, raising hands, allowing students in both modalities to have a turn speaking) 

    HyFlex Lesson Planning Tips from the Field

    Adult educators shared the following HyFlex instructional planning tips:

    Online Synchronous Tips:

    In-Person Tips:

    Online Asynchronous Tips:


    As you begin to plan your HyFlex class, it may feel tedious. However, several teachers indicated that they found a rhythm with HyFlex lesson planning as they gained more experience. By looking for ways to use technology to engage learners in all modes, reuse materials across the modes, and focus on the objectives, you’ll be able to provide instruction that leads to learners in all modes reaching the learning objectives.

    Questions to Consider

    1. Dr. Beatty identified four underlying values or principles of HyFlex classes. They are: Learner Choice, Equivalency Principle, Reusability Principle, Accessibility Principle

    If you are exploring HyFlex, but have not yet implemented it: Choose at least two of these principles and describe how they might look in an adult education HyFlex class.

    If you have already started a HyFlex class at your program: Choose at least two of these principles and describe how you are using them or how you might use them in your HyFlex class.

    2. Lesson plans are an important tool to map out what learners in each of the HyFlex modes will be doing to reach the lesson’s goals and objectives.

    If you are exploring HyFlex, but have not yet implemented it: How might you approach lesson planning differently than what you currently do? How might you be able to reuse or build on existing lesson plans and resources?

    If you have already started a HyFlex class at your program: How do you plan your HyFlex lessons? What have you found works well for you? What area(s) might still need attention moving forward?

    3. Orientation is critical for ensuring that learners understand the expectations and format of the class and they have the technology skills to thrive.

    If you are exploring HyFlex, but have not yet implemented it: What topics do you want to cover in a HyFlex orientation?

    If you have already started a HyFlex class at your program: What topics do you currently cover in your HyFlex orientation? What topics/skills are critical to preparing learners for the HyFlex class? Are there topics/skills that need to be added?


    Beatty, B. J. (2019). Hybrid–Flexible Course Design (1st ed.). EdTech Books. https://edtechbooks.org/HyFlex

    Building a digitally resilient workforce: Creating on-ramps to opportunity. (2020). World Education and Digital US. https://digitalus.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/DigitalUS-Report-pages-20200602.pdf

    MN HyFlex Community of Practice  —  HyFlex Ideas from Mankato ABE  — Liv Musel-Staloch [TS3] lmusel1@isd77.org

    Plymouth State University. (2020, May 12). Introducing HyFlex Course Design [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSatg7ooQX4

    Vanek, J. (2021, December 3). Considering Use of the Hybrid Flexible Model in Adult Education. EdTech Center @ World Education. https://edtech.worlded.org/considering-use-of-the-hybrid-flexible-model-in-adult-education

    World Education. (2022). Selecting an Assessment for Digital Literacy. https://edtech.worlded.org/selecting-an-assessment-for-digital-literacy

    This content is provided to you freely by EdTech Books.

    Access it online or download it at https://edtechbooks.org/hyflex_guide/ch2_instructional_planning.