What kind of support do teachers really need in a blended learning context?
Keywords:blended learning (BL), difficulties, need analysis, teacher support, technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK)
Teachers in higher education are the principal participants in blended learning (BL). Without their engagement, any attempt at BL might fail. In the process of BL implementation, they are faced with various challenges and are mostly not well prepared. However, studies have often neglected the feeling of teachers and their anxieties during BL implementation. There is insufficient research on teacher-related factors, especially teacher support. To address this question, a questionnaire was conducted among 123 respondents from 10 universities in China between March and May 2020. An analysis of the data collected shows that BL is widely recognised by teachers, but they lack confidence in their competence in BL implementation. The top three difficulties that faculty face are increased workload, a lack of funds to build their own courses and a lack of time to prepare online activities. Further, respondents have a clear need for pedagogical support, financial and infrastructure support, policy support, technical support and emotional support. These findings indicate that a targeted support system should be constructed to address these difficulties. Special attention should be paid to formulating BL guidance, offering a supportive environment that values BL efforts and relieving the workload of faculty.
Implications for practice or policy:
BL teachers need various support to design and implement BL courses.
- Higher education institutions should formulate guidance and clarify the definition and key implementation elements to guide BL practice.
- Management departments of higher education institutions should take effective measures to alleviate the burden of teachers.
- The training of teachers in the application of BL technology should focus on strengthening technological content knowledge and technological pedagogical knowledge.
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