Blended Learning: The Student Viewpoint
Background: Blended learning (BL) is defined as “a way of meeting the challenges of tailoring learning and development to the needs of individuals by integrating the innovative and technological advances offered by online learning with the interaction and participation offered in the best of traditional learning.” The Gulf Medical University (GMU), Ajman, UAE, offers a number of courses which incorporate BL with contact classes and online component on an E‑learning platform. Insufficient learning satisfaction has been stated as an obstacle to its implementation and efficacy.
Aim: To determine the students’ perceptions toward BL which in turn will determine their satisfaction and the efficacy of the courses offered.
Subjects and Methods: This was a cross‑sectional study conducted at the GMU, Ajman between January and December 2013. Perceptions of BL process, content, and ease of use were collected from 75 students enrolled in the certificate courses offered by the university using a questionnaire. Student perceptions were assessed using Mann–Whitney U‑test and Kruskal–Wallis test on the basis of gender, age, and course enrollment.
Results: The median scores of all the questions in the three domains were above three suggesting positive perceptions on BL. The distribution of perceptions was similar between gender and age. However, significant differences were observed in the course enrollment (P = 0.02).
Conclusion: Students hold a positive perception of the BL courses being offered in this university. The difference in perceptions among students of different courses suggest that the BL format offered needs modification according to course content to improve its perception.
Keywords: Blended learning, Online learning, Students’ perceptions