Transition to Blended Learning in a Limited Resource Setting: Administrators' and Teachers' Perceptions

Transition to Blended Learning in a Limited Resource Setting: Administrators' and Teachers' Perceptions

Goutam Roy, Md. Minhazul Abdin
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-5934-8.ch006
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From the online learning experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, the higher educational institutions of Bangladesh are considering integrating online education into traditional face-to-face learning. Research showed several challenges in implementing blended learning strategies, including having limited resources. This chapter explores how the administrators and teachers at the higher education institutes of Bangladesh could start blended learning with limited resources. The administrators and teachers of two universities in Bangladesh, who were directly involved in the decision-making process, were interviewed. The findings showed that while the administrators and teachers were willing to start blended learning, there were several challenges due to the limited resources aligned with the problems of online education. Administrators and teachers considered blended education as a way to respond to an education disruption caused by emergencies such as natural disasters, political unrest, and pandemics. This chapter provides some recommendations.
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In recent years, technology has made blended education more manageable and accessible. The advancement of technology over the past few decades has been rapid (El-Ghalayini & El-Khalili, 2011); therefore, the technological explosion affects daily life activities in several ways. However, technology has also had a more significant impact on education. Across the world, educational institutions have more access to technology leading to a shift toward integrating it into education (Alijani et al., 2014; Roy et al., 2021). Due to more accessibility of technology, the transition from traditional learning to online and blended learning has accelerated.

In most cases, traditional learning refers to the teaching and learning process completed in real-time in both teacher and student presence in a specific infrastructure (Nortvig et al., 2018). Online learning refers to the teaching-learning process using various online or technological tools where the location of the teacher-students and time of the day will be flexible (Jnr et al., 2019; Nortvig et al., 2018; Senn, 2008). In addition, online learning provides flexibility to both the teacher and the student and creates a self-learning environment for the student.

Although students are very interested in various teaching methods of online learning, there are several challenges to online learning (Allen et al., 2007). Teaching-learning activities like field work, group collaboration and observations are better conducted directly in the classroom. Besides, students who are not skilled in technology may face problems in online learning (Senn, 2008). Such challenges are observed for the teachers too. Therefore, to take advantage of traditional face-to-face and online learning, many teachers have incorporated both simultaneously (Woodworth & Applin, 2007). Combining online and blended learning has significantly reduced traditional face-to-face learning time (Garrison & Vaughan, 2012).

Blended learning refers to the combination of traditional face-to-face and online learning (Alijani et al., 2014; El-Ghalayini & El-Khalili, 2011; Nortvig et al., 2018; Wong et al., 2014;). Blended learning is also expected to improve students’ communication, information literacy, creativity, collaboration skills, and ability to use digital technologies (Zurita et al., 2015).

Blended learning has several advantages. It develops various skills among students, increases their interest and satisfaction in learning, and provides opportunities for peer learning (Cleveland-Innes & Wilton, 2018). Learning activities incorporating 21st Century skills with blended learning may also provide meaningful education since learners can integrate new information with their existing knowledge and ideas (Zurita et al., 2015). Several studies showed that students prefer blended learning for its easy access to teaching-learning resources, efficient and faster contact with instructors, and capacity to pay attention in class (Szadziewska & Kujawski, 2017). Blended learning also gives students flexibility in learning and accelerates learning outcomes. It also develops various skills for students to use resources effectively (Poon, 2013). Similar to this, blended learning can engage students in building and applying their knowledge in real-life situations (Smyth et al., 2012). It is also stated that blended learning strengthens the connection between student participation and experience in learning (Ghazal et al., 2018).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Education Transition: This term is defined as a general process of changing existing modes of education. It includes the reconstruction and transformation of the whole educational process. Reconstruction and transformation occur within the context or environment of education, teacher, student, and administrator perceptions and insights, policy-making, and policy implementation. Modernisation of education is achieved through the education transition.

Teachers: Refers to a person appointed by the institution to teach the students. Besides, teachers play the role of a facilitator to strengthen our learning. Apart from academic activities, they had to conduct many organisational activities, including research.

Blended Learning: Blended learning refers to blending all traditional face-to-face educational activities with online or distance activities embedded with technology. It is not limited to teaching-learning only and also addresses all academic activities of higher education institutions, such as educational management, educational reformation, decision making and education policy-making.

Administrator: Refers to a person appointed to take final decisions for the organisation. Administrators manage the institution’s overall activities based on the goals and objectives. They have to conduct organisational activities more than teaching-learning activities and plan and implement the overall transformation of the educational institution.

Perception: Refers to the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses. It also indicates how something is regarded, understood, or interpreted. It also can be defined as a skill by which we consider or evaluate something. It influences our decision-making and leads us to problem-solving.

Online Education: It indicates a form of distance education embedded with technology and the internet. Educational activities are carried out using digital technologies and the internet. Online education includes various things in the teaching-learning process, such as audio, visual, animation, and virtual environments. It gives a more flexible teaching-learning environment than traditional education.

Resources: Refers to available sources or supplies of staff, expertise, and other assets to support or aid an action. It can be in the form of money, expertise, staff, technology, logistics, etc., that facilitates the execution of an idea or action.

Higher Education Institutions: Indicate the formal institutions that provide both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. The institution can be run by the government or by privately. It contributes to the country’s development by creating a workforce. It is a complete set of staff, teachers, administrators, infrastructures, and policies.

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