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Student Outcomes and Design Elements in Blended Learning Courses
Counseling and Educational Psychology
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The concept of blended learning appears with increasing frequency in academic literature, published research and general discussion as the latest trend in pedagogy. Known also as hybrid education and web-enhanced instruction, blended learning courses have been reported as the method of delivery for 80 to 90 percent of course offerings at many universities and colleges (Kim & Bonk, 2006). As with most emerging instructional design concepts, research to identify the measureable impact and effectiveness of the design often lags the interest in and adoption of the new concepts. The purpose of this study is threefold. First, this study investigated whether there is a difference in students' successful completion rate and students' withdrawal rates among classes with different types of course delivery, i.e. online, blended, or in-person. Second, this study investigated if there is a difference in the students' successful completion rate depending on the frequency at which a blended learning course design element occurs within blended learning courses56. The five course design elements examined by this study are: (a) Online Activity as an Extension of In-class Activity, (b) Self-directed Learning Activity, (c3) Collaboration and Communication, (d) Assessment, and (e) Reference Materials. Last, this study investigated how the inclusion of each of the design elements compares to the importance of that element has to student success. This study answered the following research questions:1. Are there any differences in student mean successful completion rates (percent of students receiving a grade of C- or higher) among classes with different instruction delivery method (blended learning, in-person, or online)? 2. Are there any differences in student mean withdrawal rates (percent of students withdrawing from a course) among classes with different instruction delivery method (blended learning, in-person, or online)?3. What is the frequency of occurrence of each of the five elements of blended learning design (online activity as an extension of live events, self-directed learning activity, collaboration and communication, assessment, and reference materials) within the courses of the review period? 4. Are there any differences in student mean completion rates between classes that have a blended learning design element (online activity as an extension of live events, self-directed learning activity, collaboration and communication, assessment, and reference materials) and those that do not have the element? 5. What is the most important blended learning design element based on importance scores reported by students?6. What is the most important blended learning design element based on importance scores reported by faculty?