Benefits and Challenges of Blended Learning Environments

Benefits and Challenges of Blended Learning Environments

Charles R. Graham, Stephanie Allen, Donna Ure
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-553-5.ch047
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The term “blended learning” has become a corporate buzzword in recent years (Lamb, 2001). Recently, the American Society for Training and Development identified blended learning as one of the top ten trends to emerge in the knowledge delivery industry in 2003 (Rooney, 2003). In higher education, the term blended learning is being used with increased frequency in academic conferences and publications. Issues related to the design and implementation of blended learning environments (BLE) are surfacing as technological advances continue to blur the lines between distributed learning and the traditional campus-based learning. Many universities are beginning to recognize the advantages of blending online and residential instruction. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently quoted the president of Pennsylvania State University as saying that the convergence between online and residential instruction was “the single-greatest unrecognized trend in higher education today” (Young, 2002). Along the same lines, the editor of The Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks is predicting a dramatic increase in the number of hybrid (i.e., blended) courses to include as many as 80-90% of the range of courses (Young, 2002). The article provides an overview of blended learning environments (BLEs) and outlines the most common benefits and challenges identified in the research literature.

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