A Critical Evaluation of the Integration of a Blended Learning Approach into a Multimedia Applications Module
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The concept of blended learning is not new. While research articles have outlined blending learning approaches across a number of disciplines, research studies on how blended learning design principles are implemented into existing modules in the discipline of multimedia studies are limited. This research aims to address that gap by critically evaluating the integration of a blended learning approach into a multimedia applications module. The blended approach adopted is a pedagogical one which integrates synchronous online lectures with face-to-face learning in computer laboratories. Lecturers can determine whether a synchronous blended learning pedagogy is relevant to their own discipline and teaching practice by accessing this research. Objectives of the study include a critical review of the existing literature relating to blended learning and student experiences of blended learning in higher education (HE). A responsive case study is conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of integrating a blended learning approach into a multimedia applications module within GMIT and to evaluate the student learning experience. The methodology adopted for this study combines constructivism and pragmatism as a basis for a mixed methods design using a single responsive case study. The key areas examined in this study include introduction, literature review, methodology, design of the new blended module, research findings and analysis, conclusion and recommendations. Overall research findings indicate positive perceptions of the blend adopted in the areas of pedagogical, social and technical design. The results are also positive in relation to perceived differences in modes of delivery. Findings suggest that the optimum blend has been reached in that theory is delivered synchronously online and students also have face-to-face practical classes in laboratories. Results in relation to whether students learn more in the synchronous online lecture than if it was delivered face-to-face are inconclusive. Further research is recommended in this area.
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