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Blended Learning Environments in Higher Education: A Case Study of How Professors Make it Happen

Summary

Blended learning has become another method to deliver course content. Research has found that motivation, communication, and course design are factors that play a role in the success of blended learning.

Key Points

  • Advantages of Blended Learning
    • Greater flexibility of time
    • Meeting different needs and learning styles
    • Time for reflection
    • Lower dropout rates compared to fully online courses
  • Disadvantages of Blended Learning
    • Struggles with technology often happen in the first couple weeks because students don’t have knowledge or resources of proper technology
    • Some students can lose lack of motivation due to bad time management and fall behind in coursework
    • Some students perceive that meeting less means less work which is false
    • A lot of initial time commitment for faculty building the class
    • Some teachers identity is linked to their lecturing and face to face time with students thus losing their lecturing identity in blended learning
  • 6 Best Practices
    • Develop online learning environments that provide interactive and collaboration
    • Strong command of their subject and have the ability to design and present activities in an online format
    • Provide both digital and print texts because some students have difficulty reading digital text
    • Post video lectures
    • Assessments needs to be adapted to fit e-learning expectations
    • Keep students and learning context in mind when developing blended courses
  • Research found four factors of success for blended learning courses
    • Course Preparation
  • Course Design
    • Organization and included components of a blended course
  • Communication
    • Student to teacher and student to student interaction in and out of the classroom
  • Motivation
    • Extrinsic factors such as teacher encouragement and course organization in addition to intrinsic

Discussion Questions

  1. What is blended learning?
  2. In your opinion, what are the benefits and potential downfalls of blended learning?

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