Implementing Blended Learning in Classrooms: Educators' Perspectives

Implementing Blended Learning in Classrooms: Educators' Perspectives

Ilhaam Abrahams (Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa), Lawrence Meda (Zayed University, UAE) and Eunice N. Ivala (Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4360-3.ch017
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Blended learning is one of the modalities used to enhance students' learning experiences in the 21st century. South African educators who migrate to countries overseas have mixed feelings about their teaching using technology in schools. This chapter presents findings on implementation of blended learning in mathematics classrooms from the perspectives of two South African educators working in an international school in Saudi Arabia. The study was done using a qualitative case study within an interpretivist paradigm and it was guided by the technology acceptance model. Two South African educators teaching at an international school in Saudi Arabia were purposively selected to participate in the study. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews and document analysis. A significant contribution of the study was the development of a model which shows that perspectives of the educators on blended learning hinges on two entities: technology acceptance and educators' self-efficacy.
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The year 2007 saw the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) establish an educational policy known as “the King Abdullah Public Education Development Project”, better known as the “Tatweer” project. This project was aimed at improving teaching and learning within the KSA through the implementation of educational technologies into classrooms (Tayan, 2017). Alyami (2014) described this project as an opportunity for schools to shift from traditional teaching and learning methods to an approach that incorporates blended learning. This has resulted in an increase in the use of technologies in and out of the classroom in Saudi Arabian schools (Alzahrani 2019). There is a growing number of teachers who are enhancing students’ learning experiences by using various technologies available in the country (Saudi Arabia). Alabbasi (2016) concurs that the use of technology in Saudi Arabia is transforming the lives of people including Saudi female teachers’ sense of agency.

It is extremely important to discuss teachers’ perspectives about the use of technology in education as they are the ones who uses it to enhance students’ learning experiences in different ways. If a teacher has a negative attitude towards technology, he/she is likely to underutilize it and subsequently become a barrier to an institution’s goal of teaching children using technology. Cho and Littenberg-Tobias (2016) argue that it is important to understand teachers’ perceptions about teaching using technology. Such a study will help determine the extent to which they require support to maximise their abilities to teach using technologies. In this 21st century, teachers are expected to use a combination of online teaching and face to face classes. A combination of the two worlds (online and face to face teaching) is what is called blended learning.

There is no single and universally accepted way of defining blended learning as it is defined differently by people to suite their different contexts. Blended learning may not look the same in every classroom (Pierce, 2017). Some people argue that any form of using technology in a classroom is blended learning. Others say a flipped classroom is a blended classroom. For the purpose of this research, blended learning is conceptualized as teaching using a combination of physical face to face classes and online teaching. This is consistent with Chew, Jones and Turner (2008) who contend that a combination of education (face-to-face) and educational technology gives blended learning. Graham (2006) viewed blended learning as having a combination of face-to-face physical classes and synchronous and asynchronous online teaching strategies. Similarly, Siyepu (2018) conceptualised the term as a systematic process of linking the worlds of traditional teaching and learning with educational technologies. Pierce (2017) echoed the same sentiments by postulating that blended learning is a combination of e-Learning alongside traditional classroom teaching and learning methods.

Xakaza-Kumalo (2017) indicated that there are no universal approaches that an educator may take in implementing educational technologies in teaching and learning that would ensure learners’ academic success than blended learning. Dziuban, Graham, Moskal, Norberg and Sicilia (2018) argued that blended learning is fast becoming the standardised mode of teaching and subsequently contributes to improved learner academic success. Yushau (2006) concurred that the term blended learning had grown to represent an improved array of teaching and learning approaches where traditional teaching and learning methods were fused with educational technologies or online learning. Dlamini (2018, p. 1) argues that a study completed in 2015 showed that blended learning had improved student engagement by 69%, content retention by 39%, and test scores by 28%.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Technologies: Digital devices and internet connections which are used by teachers to enhance students’ learning experiences.

Online Learning: Teaching using technologies synchronously and asynchronously.

Technology Acceptance: Accepting to teach using technology.

Perspectives: Educators’ views about teaching using technology.

Educators: Teachers teaching in primary or secondary schools.

Blended Learning: Teaching using a combination of both face-to-face classes and online.

Technology Utilisation: Using technology to enhance students’ learning experiences.

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