Overcoming Barriers to Effective Blended Learning: Research Findings to Support Student Success

Concurrent Session 4
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

Research findings identified best practice strategies for the design of effective blended courses. "Comfort" emerged as an important construct to mediate student success.

Additional Authors

Dr. Wendy Howard is the Program Director of the Pegasus Innovation Lab at the University of Central Florida, which is an incubator of experimental projects focused on digital learning innovations that can be developed and refined through rapid prototyping and then promoted throughout the university to maximize collective impact on student success at scale. With over twenty years of experience in both instructional design and teaching, her current research is focused on faculty development, collaborative online learning and internationalizing the curriculum through technology.

Extended Abstract

"Blended learning should be viewed as a pedagogical approach that combines the effectiveness and socialization opportunities of the classroom with the technologically enhanced active learning possibilities of the online environment, rather than a ratio of delivery modalities" (Dzuiban, Hartman, & Moskal, 2004, p. 3). However, there are a lot of questions and confusion around the design of blended learning courses. To provide some guidance, a research study was conducted to identify the challenges, strategies, and important elements in creating blended learning courses. The research questions explored in this research paper are:

R1. What are exemplary community college teachers' perceived obstacles to student success in blended courses?

R2. What solutions or strategies do exemplary community college teachers employ to overcome those obstacles in blended courses?

Using a case study model, interviews were conducted with faculty from various institutions and disciplines who were identified as exemplary teachers of blended learning courses. Interviews with three community college faculty members were selected for this study because of the focus on teaching and student success (Bailey, Calcagno, Jenkins, Kienzl, & Leinbach, 2005). The interviews were analyzed by the researchers to identify descriptive themes and sub-themes related to student success.

It was found that "comfort" emerged as a mediating factor for student success, with "organization," "communication," and "support" acting as supporting themes.These findings will be reported as pedagogical strategies and scalable best practices for the design of blended courses that promote student success.

Session participants will:
-Recognize the construct of "comfort" as a mitigating factor leading to student success
-Identify potential best practices and student success strategies for blended learning courses
-Select research findings appropriate for investigating in their own blended learning contexts

Bailey, T., Calcagno, J.C., Jenkins, D., Kienzl, G., & Leinbach, T. (2005). Community college student success: What institutional characteristics make a difference? CCRC Working Paper #3. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED489096.pdf

Moskal, P, Dziuban, C., & Hartman, J. (2013). Blended learning: A dangerous idea? Internet and Higher Education, 18, 15-23.