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Albrecht analysis of blended learning represents a comprehensive account of the attempts by various North American institutions to implement blended learning in higher education. This study analyses these efforts under a series of headings including: Quality, Growth Effective Learning, Pedagogy, Convenience, Diversity, Student Satisfaction, Faculty Satisfaction, Productivity, Cost, Transcripts, Hurdles and Purpose. This analysis alerts the reader to the wide range of considerations which must be taken into account by higher education institutions which are engaged in the development of blend learning programmes.
The paper underscores the need for careful planning, institutional support and a willingness of faculty to use technology as the most critical elements for success in any such transformation of cost delivery modes. It also highlights the need for close attention to be paid the individual difference and learning styles of students. The paper recognizes the tremendous potential of blended learning as an innovative method of course delivery which can have positive impacts on both students and institution.
Burgess, J. (2008). Is a Blended Learning Approach Suitable for Mature, Part-time Finance Students? In Electronic Journal e-Learning Vol. 6. (2) pp.131 - 138.
Burgess demonstrates the impact of blended learning for mature students doing a Financial Management Module by explicitly demonstrating the use of the constructivist and pedagogic approaches to the development of the Module. She provides the reader with a detailed analysis of the context and rationale for the adaptation of the module to facilitate blended learning, building on the work of (Sharp et al, 2006) who provide external evidence of the plausibility of using blended learning techniques by higher learning institutions in the UK to recruit and keep diverse students full-time students who are in reality part-time students.
Burgess uses the Moodle platform as the Learning Management system on which to build the module incorporating (Sharp, et al 2006) dimensions approach to produce the blended learning module and ( Salmon, 2003) five-stage model for the implementation of teaching and learning online.
Chen, C., & Jones, T., K.(2007). Blended Learning vs. Traditional Classroom Settings: Assessing Effectiveness and Student Perceptions in an MBA Accounting Course. In The Journal of Educators Online, Vol. 4, No. 1, January.
Chen and Jones asserted that there was very little research which examined the differences between traditional in-class delivery and blended learning approaches. This paper investigated the differences in students' perception of the benefits of a traditional class delivery method compared to blended delivery mode in a post graduate MBA Accounting class. Two groups of students, taught by the same lecturer were used; one group using the tradition mode and the other using a blended mode which consisted of face-to-face sessions and online meetings and discussions. Assessment was based on homework case performance, examinations and class participation.
The results of the survey suggest that there are no perceived differences for students in terms of course performance and course satisfaction. However, students in the traditional mode did report positively to clarity of instruction.
Those in the blended mode did indicate a better understanding of the concepts of the subject.
Delialioglu, O., & Yildirim, Z. (2007). Students' Perceptions on Effective Dimensions of Interactive Learning in a Blended Learning Environment. In Educational Technology & Society, 10 (2), pp.133-146.
Utilizing the Reeves and Reeves' model (1997) as a conceptual framework, Delialioglu and Yildirim seek to investigate students' perceptions about the blended learning environment in terms of the nine (9) dimensions of interactive learning. The study used in-depth interviews, a log system of student records of internet use together with quantitative data gained from interviews investigating students' perceptions in addition to a frequency count and activity durations gained from the log-system. Data collection involved the use of an interview guide which included 24 questions on the effective dimensions of interactive learning: "pedagogical philosophy, learning theory, goal orientation, task orientation, source of motivation, teacher role, metacognitive support, collaborative learning, and structural flexibility" (Reeves and Reeves, 1997).
The study seemed to suggest a pedagogical philosophy rooted on instructivism and constructivism which mimics the learning theories behaviorism and cogivitivism. The evidence seems to indicate that there is need to focus not only on the technologies; but also the pedagogical philosophies, theories, and instructional design methodologies when designing blended learning courses.
Draffan, E., A. and Rainger, P. (2006). A model for the identification of
challenges to blended learning. In ALT-J, Research in Learning Technology Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 55-67
The authors provide a model which helps to identify the challenges to blended learning. Draffan and Rainger identify different impacts from a socio-cultural perspective rather than a medical or rehabilitation perspective with respect to learners and teachers. In this context they assert that all learning should be all inclusive focusing on the learner rather than on any specific disability. The extent to which learners learn is analysed from three standpoints-.a) Skills and (dis)Abilities, b) Educational Experience and c) ICT Skills. These will have impacts on a learner's Learning Preferences and Approach Issues to content; all of these taking place in an Environmental Context (whether online or traditional) which define the appropriate Learning Interactions between the learner and the learning objects. The inclusion of e-Skills as a significant factor affecting performance is highlighted. The authors opine that such skills are fundamental to the way students gain and create knowledge online while using the technologies available.
Francis, R., & Raftery, J.(2005). Blended Learning Landscapes. In Brookes eJournal of Learning and Teaching, Vol. 1, 3.
In their analysis of the spatial, collaborative environments which promotes 24/7 learning in higher learning spaces; Francis and Raftery underscore the need for rethinking the learning requirements of today's learners in the context of the provision of buildings which would promote learning including blended learning. They alert the reader to the new and innovative approaches to building new facilities and the refurbishing of old structures at Oxford Brooks University and at the University of Warrick. The researchers opine that real and virtual learning environments are complementary and should allow for seamless transition between the two by both lecturers and students. Both also recognize the need for stakeholder involvement from all concern within the institution.
Their reflections therefore provide a innovative dimension to the requirements of 21st century undergraduate and post graduate study and collaborative space which would enhance learning. They indicate the need to provide a blended learning environment which promotes collaborative, student-centred, technology-enhanced learning which exposes a test-bed for pedagogic research. The concept of blended learning is extended beyond the instructional design, knowledge construction, learning and assessment methodologies. Equal emphasis is also placed on the physical spaces required for such learning.
Greener, L. (2008). Students perceptions of blended learning. In MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Vol. 4, No. 2, June.
In a most demanding and in-depth analysis of students' conception of blended learning Greener introduces unique and an innovative conceptions of blended learning as opined by students using a phenomenographic methodology for the analysis and categorisation of students' ideas on their first experience of blended learning. The interesting feature of this study is the thematic categories or conceptions formulated as a consequence of the grouping of the students' ideas and the subsequent testing against external frameworks quoted in the literature. Three such frameworks were use.
This qualitative study used a very small cohort of seven post graduated students who had completed a blended mode delivered course and who were interviewed and their verbatim interview transcripts analysed.
Heinze, A., Procter, C., and Scott, B. (2007). Use of conversation theory to underpin blended learning. In Int. J. Teaching and Case Studies, Vol. 1, No. 12, pp.108-120.
Procter and Scott investigated the applicability of the conversational framework which originated from conversation theory as a mechanism for promoting student learning in a blended learning environment. They focused on conversational framework as a pedagogical foundation upon which to implement courses in higher education to satisfy the needs of those students who wish to study using both face-to-face and on-line modes. Utilizing action research which they asserted was based on theory and practice with the option for intervention and improvement; they set out to test the applicability of the conversational framework for a blended learning environment in higher education involving undergraduate students doing a project management module.
They use quantitative data collection to obtain responses from students and lecturers in first iteration of the implementation and based on their analysis of the data; they concluded that though the framework can function as a starting point for the theoretical understanding of blended learning, there is need for it to be amended and augmented to be more useful.
Jusoff, K., & Khodabandelou, R. (2009).Preliminary Study on the Role of Social Presence in Blended Learning Environment in Higher Education In International Education Studies vol. 2, No. 4.
Jusoff, K. & Khodabandelou seek to explore the concept of social presence in the blended learning environment asserting that there is the need to focus on the social connection of learners in a blended learning space. They have zeroed in the concept from an instructor's point of view. As used here social connection is defined as "degree of salience of the other person in the interaction and the consequent salience of the interpersonal relationships" This is a concept which originated from the field of psychology and communication (Short, Williams & Christie, 1976). They have adapted the concept to interpret the actions of learners in a blended learning environment by providing a fairly detailed review of the major research in the field and by using a qualitative method with semi-structured interview for their own research of the concept with a small sample of instructors.
Lloyd-Smith, L.(2009). Introducing Distance Learning to Novice E-Learners via Course Web Enhancements. In MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching Vol. 5, No. 2, June.
Lloyd-Smith investigation into distance learning as a mechanism for enhancing e-learners performance both technologically-(i.e. using the online platform) and intellectually-(i.e. improving their knowledge, constructing new knowledge, reflecting, collaborating and sharing) indicate the new possibilities that can be exploited in higher education with respect to blended learning. She provides a detail discourse of the impacts to students' experiences in an expanded online environment which was provided to achieve two objectives; a) the introduction of novice e-learners to the benefits of the on-line environment and b) to enhance the overall teaching/learning experience of students in the traditional 'brick and mortar' classroom.
The improvement to student/lecturer performance by integrating the technology into the traditional teaching/learning schema is ably demonstrated by the advantages offered to both student and lecturer- more effective use of class-time, active involvement of students including taciturn students in the classroom, allowing for the alignment of difference learning styles to individual student preferences.
Miyazoe, T., & Anderson, T. (2010). Empirical Research on Learners' Perceptions: Interaction Equivalency Theorem in Blended Learning. In European Journal of Open and Distance Learning 27 .04.
Miyazoe and Anderson posit research into interactions in face-to-face, on-line and blended learning, building on the theories of (Keegan1996): independence and autonomy, industrialization of teaching, and interaction and communication; and including also the interaction theories of (Holmberg, 1989 and Moore, 1989) and the Interaction Equivalency Theorem by (Anderson 2003a). They use the Interaction Equivalency Theorem as the foundation of their research.
The Anderson and Garrison model focuses on interaction from multi-perspective viewpoints, including not only the student but also the teacher and content. In re-conceptualizing this model, (Miyazoe & Anderson, 2010) added the concepts of quality and quantity. The quality thesis seeks to identify the conditions which limit the provision of interactions in learning environments whereas the quantity thesis seeks to determine the level of interaction in terms of time and money which may hinder or improve the level or quality of the interaction. This the basis of their research.
Motteram, G., & Sharma, P. (2009). Blending Learning in a Web 2.0 World. In International Journal of Emerging Technologies & Society Vol. 7, No. 2, 20.
Mottteran and Sharma provided a detailed analysis of the impacts of second language acquisition and blended learning methods for language teaching. They opined that blended learning positively impacts language teaching and acquisition in web 2 environments. They asserted that web 2 has allowed for the combining of the methods of approaches to classroom transactions in the 'brick and mortar' classrooms by enhancing the possibilities of meeting the requirements of digital natives. They disagree with (Prensky 2001) that digital immigrant teachers are not fully 'tech Suave' to adequately meet the demands of language students, given the possibilities of the web 2 environment.
They introduced sociocultural theory as it applies to human development suggesting that human activity is governed by tool and signs. Thus web 2 is to be considered as the other artifacts along the historical continuum (including the spoken language, manuscripts, books and now computers); all fundamentally governing the way we learn..
Ng, E., W. (2008). Engaging Student Teachers in Peer Learning via a Blended Learning Environment. In Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology, Vol. 5.
Ng provides an analysis of her attempt to use peer learning activities and on-line discussion as a subset of blended learning methodology with a cohort of nine students enrolled in a post-graduate teachers' diploma module in Information Technology (IT) at the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd). This study provides similar outcomes in terms of positive student responses to the blended learning environment. In this case students responded favourably to a range of activities which included individual and group exercises integrated with face-to-face and online teaching/learning delivery modes. Ng used a combination of content, pedagogy, technology to deliver the core IT module to her students where the assessment consisted of class participation, a group project and an individual report.
Although her focus was on peer learning she combined this learning method with the use of technology allowing students to become active participants in their learning by sharing their views online in discussions and commenting on colleagues' work. Her analysis of the results of the study involved the use a focus group sessions as a qualitative research method which allowed students to share their perceptions rather than trying to gain consensus. The cohort was too small to use quantitative methods of analysis.
Oliver, M., & Trigwell, K. (2005). Can 'Blended Learning' Be Redeemed? In E-Learning, Vol. 2, No. 1.
Oliver and Trigwell provide a very intellectually demanding analysis of the concept of blended learning. They opine that the concept 'blended learning' is inconsistent, misleading and inappropriate as a pedagogic description of learning which does not resonate with the essential philosophical characteristics of learning with technology but focuses on teaching with technology and does not take into consideration learning from the perspective of the learner. They provide a background description of the range of definitions of the term and conclude that given the breadth of definitions associated with blended learning it is difficult to articulate a clear, precise and consistent model of what blended learning is.
They conclude by positing an alternative concept to allow for learning in a blended context which they believe would redeem blended learning and offer the clarity that is needed- Variation. Variation theory, they assert allows for the reinterpretation of blending learning rooted in learning theory shifting the emphasis from teacher to learners.
Orhan, F. (2007). Applying Self-Regulated Learning Strategies in a Blended Learning Instruction In World Applied Sciences Journal 2(4) pp 390-398
Orham uses a descriptive study methodology to measure student engagement in a blended learning environment using self regulated strategies in which he seeks to explore their perceptions of motivation. The aim here was to see whether their self-efficacy, meta-cognition, self-regulation (helping students to regulate their own cognition and self concept) and time and study environment management would or would not improve at the end of the course.
The research centred on the ability of students to improve their self efficacy for learning and performance applying self regulated strategies in a blended learning environment; the ability of students to improve their meta-cognitive self-regulation learning strategies to control and regulate their cognition and the ability of students to improve their resource management strategies. It placed significant emphasis on the students' use of self regulated learning strategies in blended learning environment. To evaluate the potential of students' self-supporting strategies, the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) was used
Robertson, I. (2008). Learners' attitudes to wiki technology in problem based,blended learning for vocational teacher education. In Australasian Journal of Educational Technology 24(4), pp. 425-441.
Robertson focuses on the use of wikis in a vocational teacher training programme at RMIT University using a post-course survey of the participating teachers to gather information about their willingness to use or implement wikis in their own practice within the next twelve (12) months. In this study wikis complement the face-to-face methodology in the classroom. The training programme uses both problem-based and group-based learning and assessment with a major focus on wikis in education. An analysis and synthesis of the results to the survey reveals that technology cannot be panacea for ineffective or 'bad' teaching and teachers bring to the classroom their pervious experiences and intellectual habits to their praxis, which are not easily changed.
Thus teachers who are predisposed to using technology to enhance their classroom practice and to provide an engaging environment to their students would generally have a propensity to use wiki or any other technology to enhance their practice.
Shank, P. (2002). Coloring Outside the Lines: Rethinking Blended Learning In Journal of the Learning Sciences, 3(3), pp. 265-283.
Shank articulates from a systemic viewpoint the need for a reconsideration of the usefulness of learning involving the use of technology in higher education. She contents that the hype that was perpetrated with respect to on-line learning by higher academic institutions and industry for teaching/learning and training respectively did not materialized. She asserts that there is now a measured response and approach to the use of technology which incorporates the use of instructional design, pedagogy, delivery mechanisms, tools, media and strategies which have affordances
Shank opines that there is the need to rethink the concept of blended learning as currently used (a mix of online and classroom instruction) since this idea limits our thinking; suggesting a more open view that allows consideration of more possibilities. She focuses on teaching and learning in a given instructional situation by recognizing the pragmatic and pedagogical affordances of each teaching/learning situation.
Siew-Eng, L., Bt Ariffin, S.R., Bt Rahaman, S. & Kim-Leong, L. (2010) Diversity in education using blended learning in Sarawak. In US-China Education Review Volume 7, No.2, 63.
Siew-Eng et el undertook a study of the satisfaction levels of urban/rural students doing a mathematics course at Sarawak University in Malaysia. They identified nine components of blended learning: course content, technical, flexibility, community learning, motivation, sharing, feedback, complementary learning and personalize learning.
This mixed method survey used quantitative data to obtain a global picture of the study and progressed to interview data to refine and explain the responses of the quantitative data.. The general results of the survey is in keeping with the trend observed in other studies where there was generally a high degree of satisfaction by students involved in blended learning with some variation between the urban/rural students with respect to some of the components e.g. the technical and flexibility components. The urban students were slightly more satisfied than the rural group. In the motivation component the rural group was slightly more satisfied than the urban students.
Singh, H. (2003). Building Effective Blended Learning Programs, In Educational Technology, Vol. 43, No. 6.
Singh undertakes a historical analysis of blended learning, providing a succinct account of first and second generations of e-learning initiatives and identifies progressive approaches to the development of blended learning programme. His focus is principally on the holistic requirements for a blended programme of learning which meets all the varied teaching/learning needs of the students. He suggests two major objective of blended learning: (a) to provide a comprehensive view of blended learning and discuss the major dimensions and ingredients of blended learning programmes and (b) to provide a model to create the appropriate blend to ensure that each element individually and collectively enhances the learning experience.
He introduces khan's Octagonal framework for providing a comprehensive guide for the development of effective blended learning programmes. Singh therefore approaches his analysis from pedagogical perspective indicating and analyzing all elements which will need to be considered by organizations whether higher education or industrial.
Vasileiou, I. (2009). Blended Learning: the transformation of Higher Education Curriculum. In The Journal for Open and Distance Education and Educational Technology Vol. 5, No. 1.
Vasileiou provides incites into the modalities of blended learning from a Higher Education perspective analyzing the literature with respect to blended learning features. She explains the expansion of Higher Education has impacted on the curriculum. She opines that 21st century higher education must be accessible and provide more quality of instruction to students.
Vasileiou provides a succinct synthesis of distance learning/e-learning as a foundation idea of blended learning, recognizing the high degree of interactivity between teacher, students and the learning communities which can be formed. In further elucidating the blended learning concept, Vasileiou identifies the six major waves of technological innovation in learning focusing on deep learning showing how blended learning promotes deep learning.
In developing her arguments, she identifies the need for higher education,IT curriculum, the instructional methodologies and technologies which enhances student engagement; Vasileiou directly responds to the need for the further democratization of higher education using blended learning.