Saturday, October 18, 2014

Self-experience in Blended Learning

To gain some experience “from the other side” I enrolled as a student in a Blended Learning Course. The subject was Mathematics and the course provider was a University offering a post graduate university level further training course (finally worth 6 ETCS).

1. Course structure

The course was split into three classroom teaching units and into two distance learning phases.

Structure of the course
 The course structure did fit to the taught subject as well as to the content distribution.

2. Quality fields

I’m going to evaluate the course fitting to the five quality fields that are defined in the Quality in Blended Learning Project.

2.1. Quality of the institution

The institution was an ISO-certified university and offered everything that’s described in that standard definition.

2.2. The enrollment

That was the first weak point: Enrollment was done providing not sufficient information about the course, several detailed as the exact duties during the course, the exact description of content were not described properly.

Additional, the enrollment in the distance learning platform (a Moodle platform) didn’t work properly and the technical support unit had to clear the problems.

2.3. The course itself

I missed competence oriented learning outcomes described at the beginning of each part. A checklist for the activities that had to be done during the distance learning phases would also have been useful (but was not provided).
The structure of the course in the eLearning platform was extremely confusing and unclear. From that experience I’ll claim more intensively a clear structure, well-designed outlays and a well-fitting compilation of the web based course in my publications.
The tutorial support was not exactly defined and it was not clear how it will be done from the beginning. In very general terms the distance learning courses was far away from the quality criteria defined by the project’s consortium.

2.4. The learning environment

The learning environment did fit partly in the classroom teaching as well as in the distance learning phase. The provided material was available on several (not connected) platforms. As mentioned above, the outlook and the structure of the course were basically suboptimal and – from my point of you – not user-friendly. It was necessary to scroll a big number of pages – all of them looking similar – so that it was not easy to keep an overview in the online course.

2.5. The assessment

An academic further training course validated with 6 ETCS must have a kind of standardized assessment. In that case it was the presentation of a content unit (also not competence-oriented defined) followed by a discussion with trainers and the other students. The frame-conditions were not clear defined so it was not so easy to target the expectations of the trainers. A detailed description of the environment of the assessment or details conditions also was not available.

3. Conclusion

It was a very exciting experience to watch how others interpret Blended Learning. To be included in the learning crowd and to watch everything from a kind of evaluator view checking each activity with the developed framework of quality criteria war extremely worthwhile.

From my point of view the development of a quality framework for Blended Learning develops in the right direction and the current results are well-fitting to the needs of learners.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Case Study about Blended Learning

In secondary education, I run a small case study about Blended Learning. The aim of that study was to find out, what students think before their eBlended Learning experience and how their expectations have been fulfilled.

About the Preconditions

I chose two similar classes where I was teaching physics. The students were approximately 16 years old, the majority were female students.
The students had a preliminary and a closing questionnaire with similar questions to answer.

The Execution of the Learning Experience

I selected one topic split into several activities and prepared a well-performed Blended Learning Unit. The content was split into two parts: The starting lesson with the explanations and teaching the basic issues was done at school. The learning phase with multimedia based experiments and some reading activities were in the distance learning part.
A well-known teacher did the tutorial support. As a final assessment, the students posted a summary to several questions. These postings were evaluated. In a final presence session, the students had the opportunity to ask questions to the teacher, additional the postings of the students were discussed.

The Questionnaires

The used questionnaires defined closed questions with four predefined answers. Some answers of the preliminary questionnaire were created similar to the final questions. So it is possible to follow the student’s development or to compare the expectations with the experiences.

The Result – a Study

The questionnaires were analyzed and finally interpreted. Both questionnaires were part of the used VLE (System: Moodle Ver. 2.6) and collected by the questionnaire module. The data was extracted in an Excel file. Finally, a graphic visualization was creating from the available data.

The Graphics

The complete material was visualized using Excel charts. I post an interesting analyzes as an example. Here is the question about the use of the system: At the beginning the students answered that they will use the system intensively – the final question shows that it wasn’t true.
Graphic 1: Use of Blended Learning
The learning results are directly connected with that behavior (or attitude): The expectations were high at the beginning, the success was low (as they didn’t use the system).

Graphic 2: Success of the Blended learning


  • Students expect a lot from eLearning and Blended Learning 
  • They hope to be better or more successful using these teaching methods 
  • Student’s success depends on the attitude of students and the well-prepared and performed course.

    The complete study is available from the European Foundation for Quality in Blended Learning.