Addressing the challenges of online and blended STEM learning with grounded design


  • Yunjeong Chang The State University of New York at Buffalo
  • Eunbae Lee Kyung Hee University, Seoul



online learning, blended learning, STEM, grounded design, technology integration, learning systems design, faculty development


During the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning became a major alternative to college science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses in postsecondary education. Faculty members, although subject matter experts, often lack pedagogical knowledge and training on how to effectively teach new generations of students online, or incorporate appropriate technologies. Faculty teaching online courses needed a new guiding framework to balance domain goals and emerging technologies. We present grounded design for STEM courses to align domain goals and instructional methods and technologies while reflecting instructors’ pedagogical beliefs and addressing cultural and pragmatic issues. It is critical to provide students with aligned STEM learning experience and engagement via defensible theories and research-evidenced pedagogy in online and blended courses while technological, cultural, and pragmatic considerations are also addressed. We suggest grounded design as the conceptual and design framework for designing online and blended courses and discuss the assumptions, approaches, and examples. We provide practical guidelines to apply grounded design to online and blended learning environments and suggest future research. This article can assist both novice and seasoned STEM faculty to connect theory and research to teaching practices and optimise their online and blended courses.

Implications for practice

  • University STEM instructors can use grounded design framework for online, blended, and technology-enhanced teaching.
  • Instructors should begin the course design by aligning the domain goals with optimal psychological and pedagogical foundations.
  • When choosing technology to support online learning, instructors should align it with learning goals and needs of students, and consider cultural and pragmatic foundations.


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How to Cite

Chang, Y. ., & Lee, E. (2022). Addressing the challenges of online and blended STEM learning with grounded design. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 38(5), 163–179.