Blended Learning in Higher Education: Challenges and Opportunities

Blended Learning in Higher Education: Challenges and Opportunities

Simon Kang'ethe Ngigi (Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Kenya) and Elizabeth A. Obura (Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Kenya)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5557-5.ch016

Abstract

Online and blended instruction offers learners a unique opportunity to learn ubiquitously without being limited to the constraints of time and distance. Additionally, these pedagogies have the potential to open the doors of the university to a wider audience, provide choices for non-traditional students, and extend services to populations that would otherwise not be able to attend the classes on campus. However, complementing traditional teaching with blended learning techniques in a traditional university course presents various challenges. This chapter identify gaps in the factors affecting blended learning in the digital age. Based on the findings, the authors argue that instructors can rely on e-learning technologies to implement blended learning model by redesigning some lectures into new online learning activities, such as tutorials, self-testing exercises, and online group collaborations.
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With rapid reforms, the educational arena is characterized with evolving technologies at an accelerating pace in the ever-increasingly-connected global community. Technology has presented endless possibilities for access to education as well as leaning. Through technology, new pedagogical approaches have developed thereby demystifying the traditional notion of classroom confinement. The result is a shift from the traditional delivery mode to a more blended approach to learning. According to Porter (2014), institutions of higher learning are increasingly using ICT to develop course materials, deliver and share course content, lectures and presentations, facilitate communication among lecturers and students, encourage pedagogical innovation, increase cooperation and collaboration, conduct research, enhance professional development as well as provide administrative and management services.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Blended Learning: Integration of online and face-to-face instruction in order to promote engagement and improves outcomes by learners through optimization of teaching and technology.

Learning Interaction: The nature of both interaction and inactivity as a series of mutual influences on different components in distance learning.

Online Learning: Situation where teaching and learning takes place over the internet without learners having to meet physically.

Asynchronous: Not occurring at the same time.

Synchronous: Learning occurring at the same time.

Traditional Learning: A teacher-directed learning in a setting where course implementation takes place with face-to-face interaction.

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