Defining an effective approach to blended learning in higher education: A systematic review




blended learning, hybrid learning, blended learning framework, blended learning implementation, blended learning evaluation, higher education, systematic review


Blended learning has enjoyed wide acceptance as a teaching and learning approach in higher education, but its use and understanding commonly fail to extend across all levels of blending. At the institutional level, challenges still exist in aligning a blended learning approach with core university priorities. Often, there is a focus on the provisions of technology tools and associated training; however, there is less emphasis on the development of frameworks that support an institutional-level approach to blended teaching and learning and ways that these can be effectively measured. This paper analyses previous work undertaken in the field of blended learning and looks to build on the literature by defining an effective approach to adoption using conceptual clarity, blended frameworks and institutional-level implementation of blended learning as a framework to describe effective use within higher education.

Implications for practice or policy:

  • University decision makers should define an institutional approach to blended learning and foster a common understanding of what success will look like.
  • Institutional strategy must carefully consider the multifaceted roles of students, academics and administrators within blended learning.
  • Blended learning adoption should be measured using criteria and descriptive standards to evaluate framework implementation.


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Author Biographies

Shaun McCarthy, University of Adelaide

Shaun McCarthy is a Learning Designer and Product Lead at the University of Adelaide. His
research interests include blended and personalised learning initiatives and the use of structured education
frameworks as a support mechanism.

Edward Palmer, University of Adelaide

Associate Professor Edward Palmer is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Adelaide. His
research interests centre around how people learn, particularly using technology and how assessment and
design drives that learning.




How to Cite

McCarthy, S., & Palmer, E. (2023). Defining an effective approach to blended learning in higher education: A systematic review. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 39(2), 98–114.