Can Technology enhanced Learning improve Students’ Performance and Learning Experience, as part of a Blended Learning Environment
Mc Moreland, David
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The use of a blended learning approach to complement traditional face to face learning in higher education is continuing to evolve as an emerging trend. A blended learning teaching pedagogy can enhance the teaching and learning experience of both students and teachers. This study investigates the use of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) that supports instruction as part of blended learning approach in the delivery of CadCam. This module is delivered to an undergraduate Mechanical Engineering degree cohort of students in their second year. A mixed methods approach was adopted to gather data and to provide for a holistic evaluation into the effectiveness of using TEL to complement the learning process. The study compared the learning experience of the same group of students over two semesters; semester one used a blended learning approach and the other a traditional learning approach. The study took place over the academic year 2019/2020 and involved fourteen participants. There was no statistical difference in mean overall grades for the cohort of students that used blended learning. Results from this study showed that the average mean grade obtained in semester one was 61.8% using TEL, while the average result obtained in semester two was 66.1% that used traditional face to face instruction. This represents an overall mean average gain of 6.96% over semester one results using traditional teaching methods. Using a two sample Paired T-test (2-tailed) to statistically analyse the results showed that the null hypothesis can be rejected as the probability value (P) =0.1976 >0.05. The difference between the two mean grades are not statistically significant. Therefore, no teaching method can be found to yield better results in students’ grades. However qualitative data obtain during the research revealed that students prefer a blended learning approach instead of traditional face to face instruction. Thematic analysis of the data indicated students’ preference to employ a flipped classroom approach as part of the blended learning paradigm. Participants of this study also highlighted that the use of TEL and blended learning should be employed to complement and supplement traditional teaching practices and not to replace them, a view that is consistent with the literature.
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