Get Your Geek On: Blended Learning

Blended Learning:  Effectiveness, Implementation, Assessment, Perceptions, & Engagement

Tracy E. Wilson

Capella University

 

 

Blended Learning:  Turning the Tide for Student Success

Professional Interest

Blended learning is typically defined as a learning environment using a combination of face-to-face and online learning (Vaughan, 2014, p. 248).  During a faculty symposium in April, Dr. Saundra McGuire (2017) presented information showing that the university where I work has a below average graduation rate of 30.1% compared to the national average of 47%.  The freshman retention rate is 57% compared to the national average of 72% (2017).

I want to find innovative ways to improve the abovementioned statistics.  In order to do that, I wanted to explore the effectiveness of blended learning, the implementation and assessment associated with blended learning, and student perception and engagement when it comes to blended learning.

The articles I chose for this assignment helped me find gaps in research, allowing for further exploration of blended classrooms and student success.  I also found very little information about blended learning with a transfer of learning component, which is a foundational component of the classes I teach.  Pioneering research will provide benefits for the university, ranging from increases in enrollment, funding, retention, and graduation rates.

Potential Ethical Concerns

There appear to be very few ethical issues regarding blended learning studies.  I explored PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, and Psychology Database.  A personal concern in conducting research of this kind is the relationship dynamics with participants.  To address those concerns, I looked to the American Psychological Association for guidance.

An article written by Smith (2003) offered many solutions to several ethical problems, included the aforementioned.  To avoid the pitfalls with relationship dynamics, using volunteers and random assignment would safeguard against ethical breeches.  Also, providing informed consent along with using stringent privacy standards set by the APA will prevent any issues.

Key Words

Blended learning, transfer of learning, student success, assessment, instructional design, higher education, teaching, retention, graduation rates, learning strategies.

Databases

I used PsycARTICLES, PsycINFO, and Psychology Database to find articles relating to my topic.  The majority of the articles I reviewed were rooted in both qualitative and quantitative research.

Criteria

To evaluate the reliability, validity, and credibility, I used the peer-review tool provided in the library databases.  I also ensured that the articles included a literature review, a detailed explanation of data collection methods, and the subsequent results.  I chose to look for articles written within the last three to five years.

Sources

Eryilmaz, M. (2015). The effectiveness of blended learning environments. Contemporary Issues

          in Education Research, 8(4), 251-256.  doi:  10.19030/cier.v8i4.9433

Eryilmaz conducted research regarding the effectiveness of learning environments compared to face-to-face instruction, blended instruction, and online lesson.  Using 110 students, evaluations were completed for each instructional setting. The participants in the blended learning environment engaged in cooperative activities, exercised their ability to use prior knowledge, and created new knowledge.  The participants also exhibited improved study habits.  They also gave positive feedback regarding the usefulness, effectiveness, and preparedness for the future.

Graham, C., Woodfield, W., & Harrison, J. (2012).  A framework for instructional adoption and

implementation of blended learning in higher education.  Internet and Higher Education,

          18, 4-14.  doi:  10.1016/j.iheduc.2012.09.003

The authors examined issues surrounding blended learning instruction, construction, support, and implementation.  Case study methodology was used with administrators from several educational institutions.  Findings indicated that each institution was operating at a different phase of implementation.  Some programs were in their infancy.  Other institutions were in the stages of early implementation.  Yet more institutions were using blended learning, including it in course catalogs and course descriptions.  The authors found that there were barriers, nevertheless, to blended learning practices ranging from instructional policies to student support.

Lopez-Perez, M. V., Perez-Lopez, M., & Rodriguez-Ariza, L. (2011).  Blended learning in

higher education:  Students’ perceptions and their relation to outcomes.  Computers & Education, (56), 818-            826.  doi:  10.1016/j.compedu.2010.10.023

The authors conducted research to learn more about how students’ perceived blended learning activities, the effect on drop-out rate reduction, and improving grades.  The authors used questionnaires and comparative research.  For instance, the authors tracked results for 985 valid samples from first year undergraduate students using non-dropout rate and final grades as criteria (p. 820).  The researchers then compared the rates to the previous years.  Their findings indicated a reduction in drop-out rates and significant progress with exams.  Students felt more motivated, more satisfied, and increased their content knowledge.

Tseng, H., & Walsh, E. (2016).  Blended versus traditional course delivery:  Comparing

students’ motivation, learning outcomes, and preferences.  The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 17(1),

43-52.  Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/24595866/

The authors examined how blended learning impacted students’ motivation as well as learning outcomes and personal preferences.  They surveyed instructors and students using Course Interest Survey, Learning Outcomes and Skills Assessment Scale, and Delivery Mode Perceptions Scale (p. 46).  According to their findings, blended learning promoted engagement, motivation, and students had less trouble meeting deadlines.  Peer interaction improved, participants felt more empowered to take charge of their own learning, technology positively influenced student learning, and instructor feedback was provided timely and more consistently.  Students showed stronger writing skills, analytical abilities, interpersonal relations, and computer literacy.

Vaughan, N. (2014).  Student engagement and blended learning:  Making the assessment

connection.  Education Sciences, 4, 247-264.  doi:  10.3390/educsci4040247

Vaughan researched what types of assessments could be beneficial for blended learning environments.  Data was collected using quantitative methods, specifically online surveys, and qualitative methods, such as interviews and focus groups.  273 students were included as well as 8 instructors (p.250).  The findings suggest that assessment should be balanced in a blended learning environment (e.g., using standardized testing along with blogs or peer review activities).  By integrating both assessment situations, the outcomes could be empirically supported, thus gains could be made with student learning outcomes and development.

References

Eryilmaz, M. (2015). The effectiveness of blended learning environments. Contemporary Issues

          in Education Research, 8(4), 251-256.  doi:  10.19030/cier.v8i4.9433

Graham, C., Woodfield, W., & Harrison, J. (2012).  A framework for instructional adoption and

implementation of blended learning in higher education.  Internet and Higher Education,

          18, 4-14.  doi:  10.1016/j.iheduc.2012.09.003

Lopez-Perez, M. V., Perez-Lopez, M., & Rodriguez-Ariza, L. (2011).  Blended learning in

higher education:  Students’ perceptions and their relation to outcomes.  Computers & Education, (56), 818-

826.  doi:  10.1016/j.compedu.2010.10.023

McGuire, S. (2017, April).  Get students focused on learning instead of grades:

Metacognition is the key.  Improving Student Success:  It Takes a Whole Village.

Symposium conducted at the faculty development meeting of Shawnee State

University, Portsmouth, Ohio.

Smith, D.  (2003).  Five principles for research ethics:  Cover your bases with these ethical

strategies.  Monitor on Psychology, 34(1), 56.  doi:  10.1037/e300062003-028

Tseng, H., & Walsh, E. (2016).  Blended versus traditional course delivery:  Comparing

students’ motivation, learning outcomes, and preferences.  The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 17(1),

43-52.  Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/24595866/

Vaughan, N. (2014).  Student engagement and blended learning:  Making the assessment

connection.  Education Sciences, 4, 247-264.  doi:  10.3390/educsci4040247

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