The Effects of the HyFlex Learning Model on Undergraduate College Student Activity Levels

Author(s): Devin Naidoo, Jason Scozzafava, Emma Steel, Rebecca Vangsness, Jacqueline Woodburn, Katrina Etts, Richard Feinn

This study represents a new line of research focused on the potential effects of a hybrid learning model on established health predictors (sleep and activity level) during the COVID-19 pandemic. This research explored the correlation between the mode of education delivery (online vs. in-person classes) to the students’ sleep duration and activity level. Current literature supports the paradigm that lower physical activity leads to negative health outcomes. At the time of this writing, there was a lack of scientific knowledge on the pandemic-produced ratio of online courses taken per day and face-to-face classes taken per day and how those differences may affect sleep duration and activity levels of college students. The results of this study showed an inversely correlated relationship between the utilization of a HyFlex (online and in-person delivery mode) learning model and students’ activity level. For each additional online class, a student took in a given day (when compared to the same student going to in-person classes) the amount of mild activity decreased by nearly 7 minutes (b= -.115, p<.001). This research also found that taking online classes had the same effect on vigorous activity levels, decreasing the time spent in activity by 2.1 minutes for each online course taken on any given day (b= -.035, p=.020). This relationship between online learning and activity level is important in understanding the potential negative effects on physical health for college students as educators try to deliver a robust learning experience via online education both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

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