Blended learning in higher education: Three different design approaches

Ali Alammary, Judy Sheard, Angela Carbone


Blended learning has been growing in popularity as it has proved to be an effective approach for accommodating an increasingly diverse student population whilst adding value to the learning environment through incorporation of online teaching resources. Despite this growing interest, there is ongoing debate about the definition of the concept of blended learning. As a result, teachers in higher education have developed different understandings of the term and different design approaches have evolved. Selecting the most appropriate design approach for a blended course is a major challenge for many teachers in higher education institutions who are new to the idea of blended learning. This paper aims to provide guidance to help teachers of traditional face-to-face courses in selecting the most appropriate approach to use when designing their blended courses. Firstly, it discusses the different definitions of the term blended learning and how they have resulted in a number of design approaches. It then classifies these approaches into: low-impact, medium-impact and high-impact blends according to the potential changes to the existing teaching program and student learning experience. Finally, it describes the benefits and the challenges of applying each approach and provides recommendations about when and how each approach should be used.


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