Blended learning and motivation; an examination of student perceptions
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Blended learning (BL) continues to evolve in pedagogy as theorists conceptualise pathways for students to engage with course materials. It is important to establish theories to inform future developments in BL to facilitate learning styles and learning objects. However, implementing theories into effective teaching and learning practice is a constant challenge for stakeholders, as students face many barriers while they adapt to higher education. Multiple influences propel or deter student participation with the learning process. Therefore, motivating students to participate in BL requires analysis and discussion. This Mixed Method research study explores first year undergraduate students’ perception of BL and investigates the positive and negative influences impacting their motivation to engage with learning. The sample population of 1,764 first year students at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) were surveyed, returning a response rate of 29%. The questionnaire was formatted through Survey Monkey, communicated through college emails, and analysed using Microsoft Excel and SPSS software. The survey involved ranking and rating questions on student perception of BL over a thirteen week period. The survey included an open question seeking student recommendations on how to enhance motivation to learn during their programme of study. Findings highlight the fact BL does impact motivation to engage with learning. However, barriers to engage with learning remain as students continue to face many challenges. Many students suffer in silence and this research gives these students a voice. Students call for collaboration between management, teachers, and students alike to advance the teaching and learning process. The study confirms that students have different learning styles, are responsive to appropriate learning objects, and require training to adapt to BL environments.
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