The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Behind the ‘Doors’ of Breakout Rooms: Opportunities and Risks in the Hybrid Post-pandemic Era

Ivan Au, University of Oxford (United Kingdom)



Hybrid learning; Online learning; Breakout room; Feedback


Online synchronous teaching and learning (OSTL) has been swinging between the state of being a necessity and an alternative even since the pandemic swept the world in 2019. While some studies examined student satisfaction with this particular mode of learning in relation to their digital literacy and socioeconomic status, others investigated the effectiveness of implementing OSTL in language development. Using breakout rooms is found to be a facilitative approach because of the reassuring effect of a less-public discussion space entailed (Cornelius & Gordon, 2013). Garrison (2007) argues that learning occurs when there is clear evidence of teaching, social, and cognitive presence. The first part of the study examines the OSTL of undergraduate students as they acquire academic English. Questionnaire data tests the hypothesis that breakout rooms facilitate the accomplishment of tasks through enabling multiple levels of feedback. Interviews with students who have experienced hybrid modes of learning surveys their perception towards the question of whether or not teachers should still be expected to maintain the presences while taking into account intertwining factors such as learner attributes and motivation in these hybrid lectures (e.g., Wilkins (2023); Joia et al. (2021)). This offers meaningful follow-up and comparison against findings (e.g., Douglas, 2023; Chakraborty et al., 2020) that highlight a discrepancy in teachers’ and students’ view on effective learning. This paper reports findings confirming the effectiveness of using of breakout room as a feedback practice and reflects on the practicality of a hybrid delivery mode commonly expected in tertiary settings nowadays based on students' voice in the post-pandemic days.


Chakraborty, P., Mittal, P., Gupta, M. S., Yadav, S., & Arora, A. (2020). Opinion of students on online education during the COVID‐19 pandemic. Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies, 3(3), 357-365.

Cornelius, S., & Gordon, C. (2013). Facilitating learning with web conferencing recommendations based on learners’ experiences. Education and Information Technologies, 18(2), 275-285.

Douglas, S. (2023). Achieving online dialogic learning using breakout rooms. Research in Learning Technology, 31.

Garrison, D. R. (2007). Online community of inquiry review: Social, cognitive, and teaching presence issues. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 11(1), 61–72.

Joia, L. A., & Lorenzo, M. (2021). Zoom In, Zoom Out: The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Classroom. Sustainability, 13(5).

Sahbaz, A. (2020). Views and Evaluations of University Students about Distance Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Educational Process: International Journal, 9(3), 185-198.

Wilkins, S., Butt, M. M., Hazzam, J., & Marder, B. (2023). Collaborative learning in online breakout rooms: the effects of learner attributes on purposeful interpersonal interaction and perceived learning. International Journal of Educational Management, 37(2), 465-482.

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