Active Learning with Technology Tools in the Blended/Hybrid Classes

Active Learning with Technology Tools in the Blended/Hybrid Classes

Catherine Gakii Murungi, Rhoda K. Gitonga
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8363-1.ch017
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Blended/hybrid classrooms technological tools and resources in this paper refers to: Personal and public computers, Projectors (LCD), E-learning management system, E-journals, Interactive CD or DVD, Video cameras, search engines and video conferencing. Universities in Kenya are buying computers, for departments, lecturers' offices and equipping computer labs for the students while increasing bandwidth and internet connectivity. But is the investment in technology translating to faculty and student use in blended classrooms? This chapter seeks to find out the answer to this critical question. A sample of 231 students and 219 lecturers from universities within Nairobi metropolitan was selected. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The findings reveal that the universities made available blended/hybrid education and its technological tools and resources to students and lecturers for interaction in the teaching/learning process but they were less aware of the online technical resources and tools that can be used in the blended classrooms.
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The need for effective functioning in the knowledge society and coping with continuous change has led to the demand for higher levels of competencies (Kozma, 2005). There are new learning approaches such as active learning, resource-based, problem-based, project-based and competency-based learning that demand a high degree of information literacy. These new learning approaches demand a paradigm shift from dominant teaching methods involving pre-packaging information for the students, to facilitating learning in authentic and information rich contexts. There are different ways in which teaching and learning can be made more efficient especially in program delivery through the use of technology. The justification for use of technology in and learning is that it highly motivates students as well as having unique instructional capabilities such as helping students visualize data/problems, or tracking learning progress. It also provides support for innovative instructional approaches such as collaborative learning and problem-based learning and increased teacher productivity and student knowledge construction (Roblyer, Edwards, & Havriluk 2004; Moallem, 2003; Wilson & Lowry, 2000). Computer-based learning and teaching has made learning more efficient and more interesting for the learners. Use of technology is likely to bring about learner-centred approaches to teaching and learning. These approaches are supported by Freire‘s liberation theory of 1970‘s that stressed on the importance of dialogical approach to education. One of the learner-centred approach to teaching and learning is the active learning approach.

Several studies have revealed that introducing active learning at the beginning of a class as opposed to the teacher giving readings ends up in bringing about intense learning, understanding, and transfer of knowledge from one student to another (Schwartz, 1998; Kapur, & Bielaczyc, 2011; Kapur, 2010; Kapur, 2012; Kapur & Bielaczyc 2012)

Learners in an active learning environment are engaged in different learning experiences that enable them to have meaning-making inquiry, enable them to act on issues learnt in class, imagine, invent, interact, hypothesize and have a personal reflection Cranton (2012). For example in a class discussion which is held online, students can explore different perspectives, increase intellectual agility as well as develop the habits of collaborative knowledge building. Students also develop skills of synthesis and integration (Brookfield 2005). Another example of active learning is when students engage in reacting to videos. The learner can replay the video several times and this helps the student to understand what they are learning at the time in an alternative presentation mode (McKinney, 2010).

Numerous studies have shown evidence to support active learning (Hake 1998; Hoellwarth & Moelter 2011; Prince 2004; Michael 2006). From the studies, active learning increases learner’s retention and improve the performance.

Key Terms in this Chapter

University: A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university provides both undergraduate education 13 and postgraduate education. For the purpose of this research, a Public University was one which is established by Act of Parliament and largely supported from public funds while a Private University was one which is established in accordance with the Universities Act 1985 (cap 210B) and the Establishment of Universities rules .

Lecturer: According to Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary a lecturer is someone who teaches at a university or college. For the purpose of this study, a Lecturer included personnel whose primary assignment is instruction, research, or public service. This included staff personnel who hold an academic rank with titles such as professor, associate professor, assistant professor, instructor, lecturer, or the equivalent of any of these academic ranks. The category did not include personnel with other titles, (e.g. dean, director, associate dean, assistant dean, chair or head of department), even if their principal activity is instruction or research.

Students: According to Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, a student is a person who is learning at a college or university, or sometimes at a school. For the purpose of this study, a university student was a person enrolled in a degree program in one of Kenya‘s Public or private universities.

Technology Tools and Resources: these are a collection of resources used for creating, storing, managing and communicating information. These technologies can be used to support teaching, learning, research activities, collaboration learning and inquiry.

Learning: Learning is the process of acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing, existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information presented to the learner.

Blended/Hybrid Classes: Blended/hybrid classrooms refer to classrooms where technological tools and resources such as Personal and public computers, Projectors (LCD), E-learning management system, E-journals, Interactive CD or DVD, Video cameras, search engines and video conferencing are being used together with the traditional tools and resources.

Teaching: Teaching is an instruction or delivering a particular skill or subject or something that someone tells you to do. For Teaching in this case may refer to showing or explaining to a student how to do something.

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