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Does Blended Learning Enhance Student Engagement? Evidence from Higher Education

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IBIMA Publishing
Journal of e-Learning and Higher Education
https://ibimapublishing.com/articles/JELHE/2019/121518/
Vol. 2019 (2019), Article ID 121518, 14 pages,
ISSN : 2169-0359
DOI: 10.5171/2019.121518
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Cite this Article as: Jolly Sahni (2019)," Does Blended Learning Enhance Student Engagement? Evidence
from Higher Education ", Journal of e-Learning and Higher Education, Vol. 2019 (2019), Article ID 121518,
DOI:
10.5171/201
9
.
121518
Research Article
Does Blended Learning Enhance
Student Engagement? Evidence from
Higher Education
Jolly Sahni
Department of Management, College of Business Administration,
Prince Sultan University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
jsahni@psu.edu.sa
Received date: 3 August 2018; Accepted date: 12 December 2018; Published date: 16 January 2019
Academic Editor: Maurice Abi Raad
Copyright © 2019. Jolly Sahni. Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0
Abstract
Technology advancements in the present era have tremendous impact on teaching and learning as
well. The present research aims to answer the research question; whether use of technology would
help and support autonomous learning and also enhance student engagement? To assess this, blended
learning approach was applied in a business course. “Blended learning” refers to combining face-to-
face learning with online learning experience. The detailed findings of a study conducted to assess the
impact of blended learning initiative on student’s engagement and overall learning in a business
course has been reported in the paper. In addition, it also draws student’s perspective on blended
learning approach. LMS (Learning Management System), the eLearning platform, was extensively used
for flipped classroom and other activities which were applied in Organizational Behavior course
throughout one semester (16 weeks). Multiple sources were used for data collected; focus-group
interviews; student surveys and LMS records. For comparison purpose, the course learning outcome
achievement data were collected from two sections of this course; first, the test group (Section A) and
second the control group (Section B). The results clearly show an increase in students learning in the
test group (where blended learning was applied), in terms of learning outcome achievement and
overall engagement with online activities as well as in class activities. This was depicted in their on-
line quiz results, time spent and quality of contribution on online forums, discussions and glossary.
According to student’s perspective (test group), they felt motivated as they had some control over
time, place or pace for learning. The evidence is found for the positive outcomes of blended learning
approach; leads to higher student achievement and improves student engagement. Based on the
analysis, the study contributes with its fruitful findings to the literature of Blended learning. Strong
implications can be drawn for both the Instructor and the Institutions who wish to implement blended
learning approach. Consequently, meaningful reforms in the higher education can be future direction
for the government.
Keywords: Blended learning, LMS (Learning management system), Flipped classroom, Autonomous
learning, Student engagement
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Jolly Sahni (2019), Journal of e-Learning and Higher Education, DOI: 10.5171/2019.121518
Introduction
Advances in the digital technology have a
tremendous impact on teaching pedagogies
in higher education and students learning.
The recent changes in education call for the
integration of technology in higher
education to be more effective and quick.
Gone are the days of conventional teaching
where classrooms had teachers in the
center lecturing with slides on the
projector, it is time to move ahead by
embracing this change and integrating
technology in teaching strategies which are
more learner centered. This can be
achieved by the use of multiple modalities
for delivering the right content in the right
form as single mode of delivery may not
provide choices, engagement, learning and
performance (Singh, 2003). Curriculum
design has to encompass a variety of
teaching and learning strategies to ensure
successful learning at university (Bovill et
al., 2016). One such innovative strategy in
the context of higher education is blended
learning.
The word ‘Blended’ means mixed or
combined. It is defined by researchers as a
mixed approach, integrating classroom
teaching with online experience (Garrison
and Kanuka, 2004; Picciano, 2009). It
requires the physical presence of the
instructor and students in the classroom
and virtual presence on the chosen
eLearning platform, where students have
some control over time, place or pace
(Friesen, 2012). The benefits of this
approach include synergistic impact of the
strengths of synchronous (face-to-face) and
asynchronous (text-based Internet)
learning activities (Garrison and Kanuka,
2004). Blended learning is facilitated by
technology, also referred to as hybrid
learning or B-Learning (Shu & Gu, 2018),
which means integrating technology with
face to face teaching in classroom. It
basically combines delivery of traditional
class activities with computer-mediated
and online instructions (Allen et al., 2007).
Therefore, teachers play the role of
facilitators and students can participate,
learn and question even outside the
classroom which is more and more
engaging for both the teacher and the
students.
The choice of teaching and learning
approach directly influences the student’s
learning experience, engagement and
overall achievement (Honey and Mumford,
1986; Biggs and Tang, 2007). Literature
suggests that blended learning approach
can be successfully implemented in higher
education (Mitchell and Honore, 2007;
Garrison and Vaughan, 2008 Harris et al.,
2009; Okaz, 2015; Halverson et al., 2017;
Lopez, 2018). However, in the field of
business education, only a few studies have
examined the role of blended learning.
Moreover, there is a lack of research on
students’ interaction with blended learning
environment.
Against this backdrop, the present study
aims to examine the role of blended
learning approach in supporting
autonomous learning and enhancing
student engagement in a business course.
The study is guided by the research
question: “Does blended learning approach
support autonomous learning and enhance
the student engagement in a business
course in higher education?” To capture the
impact of blended learning approach on
students, data were collected through
multiple sources which helped the
researcher reach reliable and concrete
conclusions.
In the context of Saudi Arabia, higher
education is now given priority in
developing the human resources in the
form of productive citizens. Quality
education matters more than ever,
reflected in Saudi vision 2030: “An
education that contributes to economic
growth: we will close the gap between the
outputs of higher education and the
requirements of the job market...we shall
help our students achieve results above
international averages in global education
indicators” (Saudi Vision 2030, P-39). It
also aims to develop digital infrastructure
by 2030. Therefore, there is a strong need
to integrate technology with the class room
teaching that enables the students to
develop the required attitude for
appreciating the role of digital technology
in building a constructive society. The
students of today are the future leaders of
Saudi Arabia.
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The paper is arranged as follows: after the
introduction the second section presents
review of relevant literature, in the third
section, research methodology is discussed,
fourth, results and discussion from the
study are presented and lastly, conclusion
with future directions are discussed in
section five.
Literature Review
Blended learning has received due
attention as one of the effective approaches
to teaching and learning and it has been
increasingly researched in recent decade
(Garrison & Vaughan, 2008; Staker & Horn,
2012; Moskal et al., 2013; Porter et al.,
2014: Manwaring et al., 2017). Literature
suggests that there is a lack of consensus
among researchers on the definition of
blended learning as it has different
interpretations by scholars. However, a
common meaning can be derived; it is a
teaching and learning approach that
integrates web-based teaching and face-to-
face classroom interactions. It is defined by
researchers as integrating classroom
teaching with online experience (Garrison
and Kanuka, 2004; Collins & Blake, 2007).
Another definition focusing on the
combined approach suggests “A
pedagogical approach that combines the
effectiveness and socialization
opportunities of the classroom with the
technologically enhanced active learning
possibilities of the online environment”
(Dziuban, et al., 2004). Moreover, Driscoll
(2002) argues that intermixing of any
instructional form to achieve educational
goals would represent blended learning.
Similarly, according to Graham (2006),
blended learning can be merging any two
mediums of instructions, merging the best
features of traditional face to face
instruction and online learning. In addition
to the computer platform in the form of
online eLearning medium, researchers
have also explored the effectiveness of
blending conventional classroom teaching
with mobile technology as a tool to
promote collaborative learning (Heflin et
al., 2017). Thongmak, (2013) in his study,
examined the use of online social networks
as one form of teaching tools. He found
that the platform called Edmogo is effective
in enhancing online communication for
both students and teachers in Thailand.
Particularly, in higher education, blended
learning has gained substance in academic
literature in the last decade (Bonk et al.,
2005; Browne, 2010; Porter et al., 2014).
Past studies have established that if
blended learning is designed and
implemented properly, it may empower
students to control their pace of learning as
well as learning environment (Becker and
Dwyer, 1994). According to a study by
Twigg (2003) redesigning a course with
blended learning resulted in greater
understanding of the concept as well as
higher results leading to improvement in
learning outcomes. Salamonson and Lantz
(2005) argue that blended learning results
in high student satisfaction. It has also been
considered as an innovative approach
involving modern conceptions of learning
(Allen et al., 2007). An important point to
highlight is blended learning
conceptualizes learning as an ongoing
process than a single time event; this
motivates students to learn and be engaged
even outside the classroom (Borba, 2014).
Learners get the benefit by increased
flexibility which allows them to access the
Internet and work on the course material
whenever and wherever they prefer
(Owston et al., 2006, 2013). It helps
students learn in their own pace, get
immediate feedback as and when their
answer goes wrong, have access to lessons
and videos from anywhere, submit
assignments digitally, helps them become
independent learners and promote
autonomous learning. In addition to these
benefits, blended learning also
accommodates the diverse needs and
interest of students (Dias & Diniz, 2014).
Blended learning is accompanied with
plethora of benefits, however, there are few
conditions associated with its success.
First, learners and teachers must be
equipped and trained to use information
technology tools. Second important
requirement is to have a devoted technical
center which can support both the learner
and the teacher in the implementation of
blended learning. Also, the technological
requirements such as, Internet connection,
speed and bandwidth must be considered
for blended learning courses (Stewart,
2002). Literature suggests that learners’
readiness is equally important in terms of
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attitude, motivation and skills for
implementing such an approach (Baldwin-
Evan, 2006; Mitchell and Honore 2007). In
addition, a recent study by Shu & Gu (2018)
highlighted the significance of the nature
and differences of group interactions in the
learning components which play an
important role in the success of blended
learning.
Another important concern is the student’s
involvement and engagement with this
form of teaching approach. Student
engagement can be depicted in active
commitment, involvement and being
occupied with the subject. Research
suggests that it is a psychological process
of enhancing attention and interest in the
work of learning (Newmann et al, 1992,
Marks, 2000). Students’ engagement is
multifaceted; it may be assessed at three
levels, behavioral, affective and cognitive.
Studies have also focused on accessing
students’ emotional reaction to academic
work (Bodovski & Farkas, 2007). Affective
engagement is primarily measured by
students’ appreciation and liking of the
subject whereas cognitive engagement
refers to the mental effort invested in
academic work (Fredricks et al, 2004).
Research suggests that strategy of blended
learning enhances student engagement
through online activities and improves
effectiveness (Whitelock & Jefts, 2003).
Methodology
This section discusses the research
approach, data collection sources, sample
and data analysis. Research is guided by
the question; “Does blended learning
approach support autonomous learning
and enhance student engagement?”
Blended learning approach was adopted in
a business course which is taken in the
second year of graduation program. The
course Organizational behavior was taught
in two different sections, for one section
the course was redesigned to incorporate
blended learning approach and the second
section followed only the traditional form
of course delivery. The first section
incorporates the blended learning
approach where lectures in classroom were
complemented with many activities on the
eLearning platform (activities are shown in
Table 3). This section will be referred to as
test group.
Data collection
Data were collected mainly from three
sources; focus-group interviews; student
surveys and LMS records. The triangulation
research approach ensures reliability and
validity. In addition, course learning
outcome achievement data were collected
from both sections of this course.
The study had two phases of data
collection; the first was qualitative and
involved recording students’ focus group
interview. Focus group interviews were
conducted with a random sample of
students from test group with their consent
in the eleventh week of semester. All the
interviews were recorded, transcribed and
coded afterwards to find similar themes.
The interviews lasted from 40 to 70
minutes. In the next phase, survey
questionnaire was distributed to the test
group (Section A) of thirty students taking
OB course. The instrument used in the
present study has been adapted from
studies of Manwaring et al., (2017) for
assessing learner’s characteristics and
proficiency with technology and study by
Lin et al. (2018) for the set of items which
are indicators of student engagement. The
survey questionnaire was divided in three
sections: first section gathered background
information of the respondent, second
section assessed the student engagement
(emotional and cognitive) and the third
section aimed to assess the Learner’s
characteristics variables such as Self
Efficacy, Subject Interest and Tech-efficacy
of students.
Data analysis
Data were analyzed with the help of
statistical package for social sciences, SPSS
22. Descriptive statistics were calculated
for all the variables used in the self-
administered survey. The reliability of
scale for internal consistency, Cronbach’s
alpha coefficient is calculated to be 0.810.
Reliabilities for subscales fall between 0.69
and 0.81, which is considered satisfactory
(Nunnally, 1978). The descriptive statistics
such as mean and standard deviation for all
variables in the study were attained.
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Further, interviews with focus group were
recorded and transcribed. With a
continuous comparative approach and
content analysis, patterns, themes and
categories were identified and grouped
together. To triangulate, these themes were
then compared with the result of survey
open ended questions.
Findings and Discussion
This section presents the results of blended
learning approach in the organizational
behavior course undertaken by students of
second year of business under graduation
program. Past studies have shown that
eLearning platforms often give similar
performance as of conventional face-to face
method (Cook et. al 2008). The purpose of
the present study was to assess whether a
combination of eLearning and traditional
face-to face method increases students’
engagement and ultimately improves the
learning outcome. Therefore, the study
examined the impact of blended learning
on student engagement (emotional and
cognitive), learners’ characteristics
variable (self efficacy, subject interest and
tech-efficacy), students’ time and quality of
discussion on LMS and finally the
perceptions of the students about the
blended approach in their learning. For
section A (test group), the following
changes were made to the tradition course
in order to incorporate blended learning:
The course page on LMS was
redesigned to make it more
attractive and user friendly
Each session of the class was
linked to video/picture which was
posted on LMS one day prior to
regular class
Online Forum was activated by the
instructor, where students discuss
the topic given online. Students
were allowed to post text, video or
audio.
To engage students more, case-lets
were uploaded on LMS to be read
by all students for next day class
activity
To recap and review the previous
chapter, students were given on-
line quizzes
All assignment guidelines were
uploaded by the instructor on LMS
and submitted by students on LMS
All students were required to
submit the course Project online
through Turnitin assignment page.
To have more interaction through
online medium, a special mid-
course feedback session was
organized on LMS, where students
can anonymously rate and give
their opinion on course delivery.
Profile of participants
The test group (Section A) consists of thirty
students with diverse skills, studying the
undergraduate degree in business
education at a private women university in
Saudi Arabia. All students of test group
were informed about the project and were
asked for consent for their data to be used
in a study. Table 1 depicts the brief profile
of participating students. As it is a case of
women university, all participants are
female. Approximately, 77 percent of
respondents were below the age of 20
years. Only three students were married
which represents 10 percent of the whole
sample. Almost 76 percent of respondents
were from the local city of Riyadh (Saudi
Arabia) while 23 percent were from
neighboring countries like Yemen, Egypt
and Sudan.
Table 1: Profile of participants
Category Number Percentage
GENDER
Female 30 100
Male 0 0
AGE
Under 16 Years 0 0
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17-18Years 4 13.33
19-20 Years 19 63.33
21-21Years 6 20
22 or Older 2 6.66
MARITAL STATUS
27
90
Married 3 10
NATIONALITY
Saudi 23 76.66
Non-Saudi 7 23.33
Descriptive statistics
The evaluation of findings draws on the
data from the practical experience of
students on the course and real time data
from LMS logs. Table 2 depicts the
description of variables used in the survey
on student engagement and learners’
characteristics. The survey scores suggest
that the students were highly engaged
while they were performing activities
online. However, the emotional
engagement was found to be 78.6% and the
cognitive engagement was surprisingly
higher than emotional engagement, it was
found to be 88% among the sample of
students. The least score was received by
item under emotional engagement, “Did
you wish you had been doing something
else?” whereas the item from cognitive
engagement called “How well were you
concentrating?” scored the highest among
all, which clearly depicts the higher level of
cognitive engagement among students.
Considering the learners’ characteristics,
the results depict that self efficacy scored
80.3%, subject interest received overall
83.3% and tech-efficacy also received a
good score of 88.4%, which means on all
variables of learners’ characteristics, the
scores can be considered high and that the
group of students were ready for the new
approach of blended learning, especially
the teach-efficacy. Data from the survey
clearly depict that the applied approach
was successful in enhancing engagement;
both affective and cognitive.
Table 2 Description of variables
Factor
Indicator
Average
Std. Dev
Emotional Engagement Did you enjoy the LMS activities? 3.72 .594
Cognitive Engagement
How well were you
concentrating? 4.4 .744
Emotional Engagement Did you feel good about yourself? 3.96 .613
Emotional Engagement
Do you like to participate in these
activities on LMS 3.88 .824
Cognitive Engagement
Were you learning anything or
getting better at something? 3.96 .821
Emotional Engagement Did you experience frustration? 2.76 .986
Cognitive Engagement
Did you set a goal for yourself
prior to the LMS activity? 2.72 .921
Emotional Engagement
Did you feel socially connected to
anybody during this learning
activity? 3.48 .691
Cognitive Engagement
How challenging were the
activities on LMS? 2.68 1.009
Cognitive Engagement Was it important to you? 3.84 .799
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Jolly Sahni (2019), Journal of e-Learning and Higher Education, DOI: 10.5171/2019.121518
Emotional Engagement
Did you wish you had been doing
something else? 2.52 1.042
Emotional Engagement Were these activities interesting?
3.88 .583
Cognitive Engagement
How important was it to your
future goals? 3.36 .788
Cognitive Engagement
Were you able to relate it to what
you already know? 4.24 .761
Emotional Engagement
I think we can learn more by
being active on LMS and
participating in the activities 3.71 .961
Emotional Engagement
I would like to have similar
activities in the next term also 3.67 .824
Learners Characteristic Variables
Self-efficacy
I believe I will receive an
excellent grade in this class. 4.04 .921
Self-efficacy
I am confident I can understand
the most complex material in this
course. 4.63 .680
Self-efficacy
I am confident I can do an
excellent job on the assignments
and tests in this course. 4.33 .716
Self-efficacy
Considering the difficulty of this
course, the teacher, and my skills,
I think I can do well in this class. 4.38 .788
Subject interest
I like the subject matter of this
course. 4.17 .734
Subject interest
I am very interested in the
content area of this course. 4.17 .921
Subject interest
Understanding the subject matter
of this course is very important
to me. 4.21 .711
Tech self-efficacy
I am capable of solving or getting
help to solve my computer-
related problems. 4.46 16.6
Tech self-efficacy
I am very comfortable doing class
work that is online. 4.29 16.0
Tech self-efficacy
I am capable of using the Internet
to find information I need. 4.54 16.9
Tech self-efficacy I am comfortable with LMS 4.43 16.9
LMS data and findings
The activities on LMS ranged from forum
discussions, online quizzes, chat rooms,
online assignment submission, glossary,
flipped class sessions, videos etc. The
activities actually provoked their attention
and engagement as students could interact
with each other online rather than only
accessing handouts and power point slides.
Table 3 depicts the range of activities on
LMS. Students’ frequency of use of Moodle,
learning management system (LMS) was
examined by page hits and individual
activity hits per student in this course.
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Table 3 Range of activities on LMS
Further, LMS records, in particular, were
useful in assessing each student’s quality of
engagement and time spent on each
activity. These data were compared and
analyzed for sixteen weeks. Table 4 shows
the assessment components of the course,
their timing
in 16 weeks. There is seen a
direct association between the timings of
Table 4 Assessment components (16 weeks)
Assessment
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Figure 1, which is extracted from the LMS
logs, represents student participation in
activities which were posted online during
the month of February, March and April.
During the month of February students
were informed about the blended learning
and activi
ties online, they were in a
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Table 3 Range of activities on LMS
Further, LMS records, in particular, were
useful in assessing each student’s quality of
engagement and time spent on each
activity. These data were compared and
analyzed for sixteen weeks. Table 4 shows
the assessment components of the course,
in 16 weeks. There is seen a
direct association between the timings of
assessment especially online assessment
activities and the pattern of usage on LMS.
As per the assessment results and students’
feedback, the two activities which were
most effective i
n learning and reviewing
the concept were flipped class session and
online quizzes (eQuiz).
Table 4 Assessment components (16 weeks)
Assessment
Assessment Task
Week Due
Quiz (In-class) Week 2
Major Exam (In-
class)
Week 6
LMS Assignments Week 2 & 8
Online Quiz (4) Week 3, 4,
10, 12
Flipped class session Week 7
Glossary Week 10
Online Project Week 12
Total Assessment
Figure 1, which is extracted from the LMS
logs, represents student participation in
activities which were posted online during
the month of February, March and April.
During the month of February students
were informed about the blended learning
ties online, they were in a
transition mode and therefore few
activities were uploaded on LMS. It can be
noted that the highest participation was
noted in the first week of March, this is
when flipped classroom was implemented
in this course (week 7). Stud
participation has clearly increased when
8
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assessment especially online assessment
activities and the pattern of usage on LMS.
As per the assessment results and students’
feedback, the two activities which were
n learning and reviewing
the concept were flipped class session and
transition mode and therefore few
activities were uploaded on LMS. It can be
noted that the highest participation was
noted in the first week of March, this is
when flipped classroom was implemented
in this course (week 7). Stud
ent
participation has clearly increased when
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Jolly Sahni
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Learning and Higher Education,
compared to the section which did not
implement blended learning. This was
depicted in their on-
line quiz results, time
spent and quality of contribution on online
forums, discussions and glossary. The data
from
LMS clearly show that students
engage more with creative activities,
however, the importance of face
instructions and lecture remains. As
highlighted in focus group interviews,
where students raised their concern about
not replacing traditional cl
teaching with online teaching, rather, they
prefer both to complement each other.
Figure 1: LMS
Statistics (students’ participation from February to April 2018)
In addition to students’ activities and hits
on LMS, the academic learning
achievement was assessed through the
final grades in OB course. The results
clearly show an increase in students’
learning in terms of learning outcome
achievement and final grades
compared to the section which did not
implement blended learning. The
achievement of the overall course learning
outcomes for the control section was 67
percent (Section B) whereas when
measured for the test section it was not
very high, however, it s
cored more than the
control group, 71 percent (Section A).
Examining the final grades, it was found
that all students passed the course and 35
percent students scored an ‘A+’ and ‘A
Number of times students used LMS
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compared to the section which did not
implement blended learning. This was
line quiz results, time
spent and quality of contribution on online
forums, discussions and glossary. The data
LMS clearly show that students
engage more with creative activities,
however, the importance of face
-to-face
instructions and lecture remains. As
highlighted in focus group interviews,
where students raised their concern about
not replacing traditional cl
assroom
teaching with online teaching, rather, they
prefer both to complement each other.
Specifically, the results suggest that
blended learning, in addition to having a
great potential to increase students’
engagement and learning, was preferred
over tra
ditional methods of teaching and
learning. The log results extracted from
LMS show that out of 30 students enrolled
in Section A (test group), 28 were actively
engaged in the array of activities posted on
LMS. Moreover, the quality of contribution
in discu
ssion forum was also found to be of
a good standard.
Statistics (students’ participation from February to April 2018)
In addition to students’ activities and hits
on LMS, the academic learning
achievement was assessed through the
final grades in OB course. The results
clearly show an increase in students’
learning in terms of learning outcome
achievement and final grades
when
compared to the section which did not
implement blended learning. The
achievement of the overall course learning
outcomes for the control section was 67
percent (Section B) whereas when
measured for the test section it was not
cored more than the
control group, 71 percent (Section A).
Examining the final grades, it was found
that all students passed the course and 35
percent students scored an ‘A+’ and ‘A’
grade. When compared with the control
section, only 28 percent students
A+’ and ‘A’ grade and two students failed
the course. The finding suggests that the
students’ engagement in the test group of
course ‘organizational behavior’ has
improved with the application of blended
learning approach. The results imply that
stu
dents were motivated; they enjoyed a
higher level of flexibility and had a sense of
belongingness throughout the course
learning.
Students’ Perspective
Students were highly satisfied with the
blended learning approach and activities
on LMS as they mentioned in the focus
Learning and Higher Education
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Specifically, the results suggest that
blended learning, in addition to having a
great potential to increase students’
engagement and learning, was preferred
ditional methods of teaching and
learning. The log results extracted from
LMS show that out of 30 students enrolled
in Section A (test group), 28 were actively
engaged in the array of activities posted on
LMS. Moreover, the quality of contribution
ssion forum was also found to be of
Statistics (students’ participation from February to April 2018)
grade. When compared with the control
section, only 28 percent students
scored
A+’ and ‘A’ grade and two students failed
the course. The finding suggests that the
students’ engagement in the test group of
course ‘organizational behavior’ has
improved with the application of blended
learning approach. The results imply that
dents were motivated; they enjoyed a
higher level of flexibility and had a sense of
belongingness throughout the course
Students were highly satisfied with the
blended learning approach and activities
on LMS as they mentioned in the focus
Journal of e-Learning and Higher Education 10
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Jolly Sahni (2019), Journal of e-Learning and Higher Education, DOI: 10.5171/2019.121518
group interview that the strength of this
approach according to their perspective
include the convenience of it, it is
accessible anywhere, at any time with
instant feedback. Some themes identified in
the focus group interview representing the
students’ perception are as follows:
Diversity and flexibility - “what I like about
this course is the multiple activities on LMS
and they were not the same topic, we had
to think about diverse areas in the field of
OB”
On-line Support - “All the activities were
related and supportive to what we took in
the class, when we are involved in doing
practical activities, practice I think this is
going to stay with us longer it is a life long
learning for us”
Active engagement and learning “This
course gave us a chance to contribute and
participate more and learn more, the
activities were fair for all and the
transparency of feedback was there”.
Another student believed, “The activities
actually engage us more, they are fun, they
increase the diversity in the course, its not
just that we go to the classroom and we
take a lecture, its actually much more than
that. I would like other courses to be like
this one, with interesting and interactive
activities on LMS, very informative and
engaging course activities.”
The above comments suggest that students
perceived high value in this course delivery
method. In addition, the researcher
realized that the current generation is
techy-savvy and likes to use advanced
technology, therefore, if we channelize
their energy in a right direction through
the use of blended learning (using
advanced technology), they can really
produce great results.
Based on the results from the survey, focus
group interview and LMS records, it is
established that blended learning approach
was successful in engaging students inside
and outside the classrooms. The findings of
this study are consistent with previous
research which proved the strong
relationship of blended learning with
increased learner engagement and
participation (Graham, 2007; Alebaikan &
Troudi, 2010; Napier et al., 2011; Vaughan
2014; Manwaring et al., 2017).
Challenges in implementing B-learning
Like any other innovative approach, the
implementation of blended learning in
higher education would face some
challenges. The concerns can be
categorized into three levels; first at
Instructor level, second student level and
third the technical support. The instructor
must adopt the new tools with a new
mindset and positive attitude as more time
and commitment is required from the
Instructors in preparing everything in
advance and giving continuous feedback on
eLearning platform. For students, they
need to be motivated to adapt new
technology and feel comfortable as well as
have good time management skills.
Another crucial aspect is the technical
support in the classrooms; the variation in
the speed of Internet connection in the
classroom may hamper the effectiveness of
the whole program. Therefore, a dedicated
support from the technical center must be
available in order to implement this
effectively.
Conclusion
Given the importance of technology and
technology driven classrooms in this age of
dynamic development, there is a great need
for understanding and promoting blended
learning approach in higher education. In
conclusion, this research study has helped
us understand the impact of blended
learning approach and clearly suggested
the effectiveness of integrating technology
in the classroom to promote autonomous
learning and thereby enhancing student
engagement. There are various benefits of
blended learning approach; it is innovative
in approach, results in active learning,
more personalized learning, student centric
and more engaging for students. This study
showed how a balanced approach to
blended learning can lead to higher student
achievement and improve the student
engagement.
Blended learning is more than just
enhancing lectures, it represents
11 Journal of e-Learning and Higher Education
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Jolly Sahni (2019), Journal of e-Learning and Higher Education, DOI: 10.5171/2019.121518
transformation in how we approach
teaching and learning. The potential of
blended leaning in higher education is
promisingly tremendous, a further
research into the relevant practices and
their impact is essential. Follow up with
blended learning is equally important to
assess the effectiveness in terms of
achieving learning outcomes, student
satisfaction and overall learning
experience. We have the opportunity to
create some massive technology enabled
changes in what it means to be involved in
obtaining an education and transforming
the whole learning experience.
Based on the analysis, the study
contributes with its fruitful findings in the
literature of blended learning. Strong
implications can be drawn for both the
Instructor and the Institutes which wish to
implement blended learning approach.
Consequently, meaningful reforms in
education can be the future direction for
the governments.
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Thesis
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Die Kultusministerkonferenz, Hochschullehrende und Studierende fordern den Einsatz digitaler Medien in der Hochschulbildung. Die vielfältigen Potentiale digitaler Technologien sollen genutzt werden, um die Lehre weiterzuentwickeln sowie den aktuellen und zukünftigen Herausforderungen von Hochschulen entgegenzuwirken. Beschleunigt durch die Covid-19-Pandemie ist der Einsatz digitaler Technologien in Bildungsinstitutionen in Deutschland eines der aktuell bedeutendsten Themen der Hochschul- und Schulentwicklung. In Bezug auf die Ausbildung von Lehramtsstudierenden fordert die Kultusministerkonferenz (KMK) (2017) eine systematische Herangehensweise, damit zukünftige LehrerInnen relevante digitale Kompetenzen erlangen, um erfolgreich digitale Technologien in der Schule einsetzen zu können. Studien zeigen jedoch, dass die Möglichkeiten der Digitalisierung bisher nur unzureichend in der Lehre an den Hochschulen in Deutschland (Dittler & Kreidl, 2018; Gilch et al., 2019; Schmid et al., 2017) und speziell in der Lehramtsausbildung (Maxton-Küchenmeister & Meßinger-Koppelt, 2020) realisiert wurden. Dies überrascht, da die Forschung Konzepten und Lernmedien mit digitalen Technologien großes Potential einräumt (z. B. Hillmayr et al., 2017; Ma et al., 2014). Konzepte wie das flipped classroom (Al-Samarraie et al., 2019) oder die Interaktivität (Sosa et al., 2011) können großen Einfluss auf den Lernerfolg von Studierenden haben. Insgesamt kann die Nutzung von digitalen Technologien die Hochschullehre individualisierter, attraktiver, effektiver und flexibler machen (Arnold et al., 2015; Dittler & Kreidl, 2018; Issing & Klimsa, 2009; Popp & Ciolau, 2017; Wachter et al., 2016; Xu & Xu, 2019). Basierend auf diesen Forderungen und Forschungsergebnissen ist das zentrale Ziel dieser Dissertation die nötige Weiterentwicklung der Hochschullehre von Lehramtsstudierenden der Naturwissenschaften durch die Nutzung digitaler Technologien, um die digitalen Kompetenzen der Lehramtsstudierenden zu stärken. Diese Weiterentwicklung ist in diesem Projekt durch das Modell der Partizipativen Aktionsforschung für die Hochschullehre organisiert (Tolsdorf & Markic, 2018). Mit dem Modell werden neue Lehrkonzepte und digitale Medien in zyklischen Prozessen entwickelt, erprobt, evaluiert und verbessert. Damit die geplanten Neuentwicklungen jedoch lernförderlich für die Studierenden sein können, werden als Teil der Diagnostik, die Lehramtsstudierenden der Naturwissenschaften im Hinblick auf ihr Wissen, ihren Einstellungen und Lernausgangsbedingungen bezüglich digitaler Technologien, beforscht. Konkret werden die Student Readiness for Online Learning (Martin et al., 2020a), das Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) (Koehler & Mishra, 2008) und die Überzeugungen von Lehramtsstudierenden bezüglich digitaler Technologien (Admiraal et al., 2017) untersucht, da diese das Lernen und auch das zukünftige Unterrichten von Studierenden mit digitalen Medien beeinflussen (Ertmer & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, 2010; Guzey & Roehrig, 2009). Diese Erkenntnisse werden im Rahmen dieser Arbeit für die Weiterentwicklung der Lehrkonzepte und der digitalen Medien genutzt, sie sind jedoch auch von allgemeinem Forschungsinteresse. Resultierend aus diesen Zielvorgaben, konstituiert sich dieses Dissertationsprojekt in einen Forschungs- und einen Entwicklungsteil. Im Forschungsteil werden dementsprechend die Student Readiness for Online Learning, das TPACK und die Beliefs der Lehramtsstudierenden der Naturwissenschaften gegenüber digitalen Technologien in quantitativen Forschungsdesigns untersucht. Die Forschungsergebnisse bezüglich der Student Readiness for Online Learning zeigen, dass Lehramtsstudierenden der Naturwissenschaften grundsätzlich bereit sind mit digitalen Medien zu lernen. Sie schätzen die nötigen Fähigkeiten als generell wichtig für ihr eigenes Lernen ein, sind sich jedoch unsicher, ob sie diese Fähigkeiten erwerben können. Bei der Erforschung der Beliefs der Lehramtsstudierenden zeigt sich, dass sie digitale Medien als etwas bis relativ wichtig und unterstützend in ihrem Lernen und zukünftigem Unterrichten ansehen. Die Untersuchung des TPACKs zeigt, dass Studierende unentschieden sind, inwieweit sie das relevante Wissen zur Nutzung digitaler Medien in ihrem zukünftigen Unterricht haben. Durchgeführte Vergleichsstudien mit den USA dokumentieren, dass Lehramtsstudierende in Deutschland signifikant weniger bereit sind mit digitalen Medien zu lernen und diese als erheblich weniger wichtig und unterstützend für ihr Lernen und zukünftiges Unterrichten einschätzen. Außerdem sehen sich deutsche Lehramtsstudierende als signifikant weniger kompetent an, relevante Fähigkeiten zu erwerben und mit digitalen Technologien zu unterrichten. Im Entwicklungsteil dieser Dissertation werden diese umfangreichen Erkenntnisse in der Entwicklung der Lehrkonzepte und Medien berücksichtigt. So konnten sowohl zwei erfolgreiche Lehrveranstaltungen, die das flipped classroom-Konzept gewinnbringend einsetzen, als auch interaktive Lernmedien entwickelt werden. Die Mixed-Methods-Begleitforschung zeigt, dass die interaktiven Lernmedien die Studierenden unterstützen und zu einem erfolgreichen Lehrkonzept mit digitalen Medien in der Hochschullehre beitragen können. Weiter konnte durch die entwickelten Lehrveranstaltungen das TPACK der Lehramtsstudierenden positiv beeinflusst werden. Die Beliefs der Lehramtsstudierenden der Naturwissenschaften verändern sich hingegen kaum, jedoch wurde eine selektive Veränderung der Beliefs in Bezug auf einzelne digitale Technologien durch die Covid-19-Pandemie nachgewiesen. Auf Grundlage dieser Forschungs- und Evaluationsergebnisse wurde das Ziel der Weiterentwicklung der Hochschullehre mit digitalen Medien erfolgreich erreicht. Dabei erwies sich das Modell der Partizipativen Aktionsforschung für die Hochschullehre (Tolsdorf & Markic, 2018) basierend auf den wertvollen Resultaten und der Professionalisierung der Beteiligten, als geeignet für dieses Entwicklung- und Forschungsprojekt. Besonders die Zusammenarbeit mit den Lehramtsstudierenden war gewinnbringend für die Weiterentwicklung der Hochschullehre, da die Studierenden das Entwickelte vielfältig und tiefgehend bewerten und auf dieser Grundlage profunde Verbesserungen möglich waren. Die vielfach erprobten, evaluierten und somit abgesicherten Lehrkonzepte und Lernmedien können als innovative Beispiele von Hochschullehrenden der Fachdidaktik der Naturwissenschaften oder auch darüber hinaus genutzt werden. Dadurch könnte die Weiterentwicklung der Lehre von Hochschullehrenden vereinfacht werden. Die gewonnenen vielfältigen Erkenntnisse der Studien des Forschungsteils können auch außerhalb dieser Dissertation als wertvoll für die fachdidaktische Forschung der Naturwissenschaften angesehen werden. Die erlangten Ergebnisse geben wichtige Hinweise in Bezug auf Lehramtsstudierende und ihre potentielle Nutzung von digitalen Medien in ihrem zukünftigen Unterricht. Die entwickelten Lehrkonzepte und besonders die Lernmedien sind als Open Educational Ressource (OER) im Sinne der Nachhaltigkeit auf der selbst entwickelten Plattform nw-didaktik-digital.de bereitgestellt. Auf diese Weise kann das Entwickelte von Hochschullehrenden der Naturwissenschaften in der Lehramtsausbildung für die Innovation der Lehre einen relevanten Beitrag leisten.
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