Eight Educational Considerations for Hybrid Learning

Eight Educational Considerations for Hybrid Learning

Philip P. Alberts (Brunel University, UK), Linda A. Murray (Brunel University, UK) and Julia E. Stephenson (Brunel University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-380-7.ch012
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This chapter sets out educational considerations (pedagogic principles) that can be used to guide the design of hybrid learning. Eight educational considerations have been determined from a review of education theories according to their relevance to teaching in higher education. The origin of each consideration is described and evidence from the literature of their application in e-learning is provided. The way in which this set of educational considerations has been used by the authors to enhance the design of hybrid learning at a UK higher educational institution is described. It is anticipated that those who need to design pedagogically-valid hybrid learning programmes will find the information provided here helpful. Furthermore, those engaged in helping others to combine the advantages of face-to-face teaching and e-learning will be assisted in developing a methodology for changing the approaches of teachers, thus achieving maximum impact on student learning.
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The fundamental premise on which this chapter is based is that it is the purpose of higher education to add value to the learning experience of the students. Adult learners are generally able to learn on their own and do so more or less successfully depending on inclination, need and opportunity. However, learning through programmes provided by educational institutions including universities must add something to the learning experience. What exactly is - or should be - added is a matter of debate. Our starting point, based on contemporary (and classic) educational theory is that teaching should not be conceived of as the transmission of knowledge. Rather, the added-value of structured higher education programmes lies in the facilitation of the learning process in the learners.

Conceptions of Teaching in Higher Education

The idea that teaching consists of the transmission of knowledge from an expert to a learner is a misconception that is manifested in an over-reliance on the face-to-face lecture format. Research has shown that this teaching method does have advantages; for instance, one person can present information to a large audience, it is an ideal format for auditory learners, and the action of note-taking during lectures aids concentration (Badger, White, Sutherland & Haggis, 2001). Good lectures are tailored to meet the requirements of the students, the content of the lecture can be easily updated and it can also provide human interaction (D’Alessandro, Kreiter, Erkonen, Winter & Knapp, 1997). However, it has also been argued that it is not always an effective method of teaching (Bligh, 2000; Costa, Van Rensburg & Rushton, 2007). Disadvantages explored in the literature include the fact that the students’ role is rather passive (Feldberg, 1999; Tomaska, 2000) as they sit listening to the lecturer and then decide what they want to write down possibly in their own words or in shorthand (Bligh, 2000). The traditional lecture is also constrained by location and time (D’Alessandro et al., 1997), tends to be teacher-centred, the lecturer is required to have good delivery and communication skills, and enrolment is limited (Rosenkoetter, 2006). There is no hard-wearing record of the interaction (D’Alessandro et al., 1997) and this method assumes that all students learn at the same pace as their peers.

The notion that knowledge is simply passed from teacher to student originated from assumptions created between the 7th and 12th centuries from the Monastic and Cathedral schools (Knowles, 1990). This particular process of acquiring knowledge, where the teacher takes the responsibility for all learning decisions, was the sole pedagogic model and continued to be the favoured method of instruction well into the 20th century. Rather intriguingly however, during the ancient times of the great teachers such as the Chinese philosophers of Lao-Tse and Confucius (5th century) and later Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, teaching was antithetical in that it was predominantly active and enquiry-based and not so authoritarian (Clark, 1999). Ironically, in today’s society, it is the style derived from the ancient times that dominates current educational thinking. The teacher is indeed evolving from a ‘sage on the stage’ to a ‘guide on the side’ (Chung, 2005).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Feedback to Students: Providing information to learners on their progress in mastering learning outcomes.

Personal Response System (PRS): Technology that offers a lecturer/tutor the opportunity to ask a group of students multiple-choice questions to which they reply individually by selecting a response on a hand-held wireless transmitter.

Outcomes-Based Learning: Providing students with a clear statement of what is expected from them in their learning.

Active Learning: Providing learning experiences which require input and involvement from the students.

Collaborative Learning: Promoting communication and cooperation between students during their learning activities.

Appreciative Inquiry (AI): AI is based on the assumption that every organisation has something that works well and these strengths can be the starting point for creating positive change (Cooperrider, Whitney & Stavros, 2005).

Learning Styles: Making provision for learners to perceive and process information in different ways, for example visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and tactile.

Student-Centred Teaching: Providing a learning environment where the focus is on the activities of the learner rather than the activities of the lecturer.

Reflection: Providing opportunity and encouragement for students to review and evaluate their learning.

Learner Independence: Encouraging learners to plan and undertake learning and accept responsibility for the outcomes.

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