Philippa Gerbic (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand) and Elizabeth Stacey (Deakin University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-296-1.ch016
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The conclusion draws together the main themes identified under the sections of the book with a synthesis of the recommendations presented by the chapter authors which connect the outcomes of these research studies with practical suggestions in all aspects of blended learning practice. It identifies and discusses future trends and implications for learning as well as areas of further research.
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Overview Of Research Concepts And Themes

The practice of ICT-facilitated blended learning has been discussed in this book in multiple settings and from diverse evidence bases. The book provides further confirmation of the complexity (Garrison and Kanuka, 2004) of blended learning, which is now occurring in a wide range of sites, such as universities and workplaces and which involves not only traditional students as learners but also teachers and other workers as they engage in formal and informal forms of professional learning in various communities that are connected through some form ICT. As newer technologies like podcasts, e-labs and mobile personalised learning environments are introduced they create new affordances for learning beyond those of learning management systems.

The research base in this text has been predominantly qualitative with an emphasis on case studies. Given the current emerging state of knowledge about blended learning, qualitative approaches can be very productive because of their descriptive and interpretive ability. Such approaches here are able to represent learners’, teachers’ and others’ experiences of blending learning practices and provide insights into the way the participants made sense of the new learning environment. While we don’t make generalisations from this research, we expect that readers of this text will be able to determine for themselves the relevance of the research and recommended practices.

It is noteworthy that a variety of case study approaches were documented and these included both individual and collective cases, longitudinal and retrospective studies and a cross-case analysis. The strength of the case study methodology as it is used here is that it supports the investigation of the complexities of blended learning by providing a situated research methodology. We have attempted to build on this and create further relevance for readers by including recommendations for practice.

One other feature of many of the research investigations in this book, is that they were insider accounts. While we are aware of the problems which might arise due to the researcher’s familiarity with their context, the idea of the researcher being embedded within the research setting has a long tradition within qualitative inquiry and is also characteristic of much of the research on technological innovation and pedagogy. In our view, in the blended learning context, such a position is beneficial because it has the potential to deepen contextual understanding of the setting and its processes, values and relationships.

The research in this book has drawn on a wide range of literatures and theoretical frameworks. As well as the literature on blended learning and associated areas of online and e-learning, discussion of variation theory and the differences between face-to-face and virtual environments and especially the role of social presence are particularly valuable discussions. One concept that has been widely and deeply considered within this text is that of communities of practice (Wenger, 1998) and the associated idea of learning communities and the Community of Inquiry (Garrison and Vaughan, 2008). This reflects the level of interest in this socio-cultural concept and its explanatory potential in both the fields of technology and learning. Other valuable literatures drawn on by the researchers include actor network theory, activity theory, adult learning principles, design-based research and the experience of learning literature, all of which provide a broad foundation for further knowledge building, reflection and practical application.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Robin Mason
Elizabeth Stacey, Philippa Gerbic
Chapter 1
Elizabeth Stacey, Philippa Gerbic
Blended learning is now part of the learning landscape in higher education, not just for campus-based courses but for courses designed for students... Sample PDF
Introduction to Blended Learning Practices
Chapter 2
Philippa Gerbic
Online discussions are now available as a pedagogical option in blended learning environments in universities. Much of the research to date has... Sample PDF
Including Online Discussions Within Campus-Based Students' Learning Environments
Chapter 3
Ruth Geer
This chapter describes an investigation of strategies for fostering higher order cognition in a blended learning environment. The exploration, which... Sample PDF
Strategies for Blended Approaches in Teacher Education
Chapter 4
Mary Simpson, Bill Anderson
A teacher education programme previously taught in distinct on-campus and distance forms was redesigned to take advantage of the affordances offered... Sample PDF
Redesigning Initial Teacher Education
Chapter 5
Ana A. Carvalho, Zdena Lustigova, Frantisek Lustig
This chapter describes two European projects that respond to blended learning by integrating innovative technologies into blended learning... Sample PDF
Integrating New Technologies into Blended Learning Environments
Chapter 6
Guglielmo Trentin, Steve Wheeler
This chapter provides a further two European perspectives on blended learning. The first section is an overview of the ways in which the concept of... Sample PDF
Teacher and Student Responses to Blended Environments
Chapter 7
Peter J. Smith, Elizabeth Stacey, Tak Shing Ha
The majority of research and literature in collaborative learning online has been focussed on groups of students organised into units of study by an... Sample PDF
Blending Collaborative Online Learning with Workplace and Community Contexts
Chapter 8
Terrie Lynn Thompson, Heather Kanuka
The growing need for professional development to help university instructors with the adoption of online teaching is being propelled from several... Sample PDF
Establishing Communities of Practice for Effective and Sustainable Professional Development for Blended Learning
Chapter 9
Julie Mackey
Blended learning is examined via the experiences of teachers participating in qualification-bearing online professional development courses while... Sample PDF
Virtual Learning and Real Communities: Online Professional Development for Teachers
Chapter 10
Suzanne Riverin
This chapter examines the use of blended learning in an online community which supported teacher professional development in the province of... Sample PDF
Blended Learning and Professional Development in the K-12 Sector
Chapter 11
Faye Wiesenberg, Elizabeth Stacey
This study explores the similarities and differences between Canadian and Australian university teachers’ face-to-face and online teaching... Sample PDF
Blended Learning and Teaching Philosophies: Implications for Practice
Chapter 12
Gayani Samarawickrema
This chapter focuses on the factors relating to adopting blended learning by teaching academics and the associated social world around technology... Sample PDF
Blended Learning and the New Pressures on the Academy: Individual, Political, and Policy Driven Motivators for Adoption
Chapter 13
Gail Wilson
This chapter draws on a collective case study of six faculty members working in ICT-enhanced blended learning environments at a large regional... Sample PDF
Case Studies of ICT-Enhanced Blended Learning and Implications for Professional Development
Chapter 14
Cathy Gunn, Adam Blake
An accredited course in Academic Practice aligns with university and national strategic goals related to teaching and learning enhancement within a... Sample PDF
Blending Technology into an Academic Practice Qualification for University Teachers
Chapter 15
M. Brooke Robertshaw, Heather Leary, Andrew Walker, Kristy Bloxham, Mimi Recker
For teachers in the 21st Century it has become critical that they develop the skills to be able to teach in a world that is being transformed by... Sample PDF
Reciprocal Mentoring "In The Wild": A Retrospective, Comparative Case Study of ICT Teacher Professional Development
Chapter 16
Conclusion  (pages 298-311)
Philippa Gerbic, Elizabeth Stacey
The conclusion draws together the main themes identified under the sections of the book with a synthesis of the recommendations presented by the... Sample PDF
About the Contributors