Preparation and synchronous participation improve student performance in a blended learning experience
Keywords:blended learning, eLearning, active learning, student attendance, constructive alignment, design-based research
Blended learning can create flexibility for students, more efficiently utilise infrastructure, and can provide high-quality learning at scale. We investigated perceived value and learning gains associated with asynchronous eLearning and synchronous face-to-face (f2f) components of a blended learning experience. We hypothesised that individual student preference for eLearning and f2f learning would be variable, but that participation in f2f classes would enhance student learning. Using a design-based research approach, we have evaluated two iterations of a blended learning experience, combining qualitative survey data and quantitative attendance data and student grades. Students overwhelmingly valued active learning, both within eLearning materials and f2f classes. Final marks positively correlated with the number of f2f classes students attended. Analysis of a subset of intended learning outcomes (ILOs) showed that students who accessed eLearning independently and students who attended f2f classes performed equally-well in ILO-related assessment tasks, however, students were more likely to choose an assessment task directly-related to a class they attended. In addition, completion of required eLearning prior to f2f class attendance significantly enhanced student performance in related assessment tasks. We suggest that f2f attendance as part of blended learning is beneficial, however students can obtain selected ILOs from engaging eLearning materials.
Implications for practice or policy:
- Instructors will gain insight into aspects of blended active learning that students value.
- We present evidence that supports the benefits to students of completion of pre-eLearning prior to participation in synchronous f2f classes.
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