Cloud 2 Update – Educators in hybrid learning environments

Article written by Henderijn Heldens, Phd. en  Marjan de Groot, Phd.

Cloud 2 focusses on educator’s professional development. Teacher educators often work closely together with experienced teachers (mentors) for example in university-school partnerships. In recent years these partnerships often developed into strong collaborative networks (Zeichner, 2010). Such collaborative structures are considered promising for learning and professional development especially in a context of hybrid learning environments (Zitter & Hoeve, 2012).

Following Zitter (2012) hybrid learning environments can be seen as means to overcome the problematic nature of the transition between school and work. A hybrid learning environment is considered supportive for the learning of all participants, including experienced teachers and teacher educators. A learning environment is considered hybrid if it incorporates both acquisition and participation processes, as well as constructed and realistic situation (see Figure 1).


Figure 1: Two dimensions and four quadrants (Zitter and Hoeve, 2012)

The first dimension in the model is based on the participation and acquisition metaphor, with the participation side corresponding with social-cultural traditions and the acquisition side with cognitive theories (Sfard, 1998). The second dimension is constructed-realistic. The constructed side refers to reconstructed situations such as often used in classroom settings. Moving to the realistic side involves simulation technology and eventually the real professional context. This two-dimensional model is a richer model and offers additional perspectives to the classic theory-practice dichotomy (Zitter et al., 2012).

Designing education in the context of hybrid learning environments means that relationships are taken into account. Previous research on teacher educator collaboration showed that building and maintaining collaborative relations is complex (Heldens, 2016).

One of our questions regarding hybrid learning environments focusses on the role of the teacher educator. In hybrid learning environments student teachers and teachers together with teacher educators form a learning network in which the teacher educator might act as a facilitator in order to support the learning processes, but also might act as a learner, equal to the other participants.

Cloud 2 is interested in the design of hybrid learning environments, particularly with regard to the role of the teacher educator. We invite researchers and practitioners to join the dialogue and share their experiences and insights. At the upcoming Eapril conference we invite you to continue our dialogue regarding this topic.



Heldens, H. P., Bakx, A. W., & den Brok, P. J. (2016). Teacher educators’ collaboration in innovation: collaborative activities and social relations. Journal of Educational Research and Evaluation, 21(7-8), 515-536. doi:10.1080/13803611.2016.1153488

Sfard, A. (1998). On two metaphors for learning and the dangers of choosing just one. Educational researcher27(2), 4-13.

Zeichner, K. (2010). Rethinking the connections between campus courses and field experiences in college-and university-based teacher education. Journal of teacher education, 61(1-2), 89-99.

Zitter, I and Hoeve, A. (2012). Hybrid learning environments: Merging learning and work processes to facilitate knowledge integration and transitions. OECD Education Working Papers, No. 81. OECD publishing