Blended Learning – Challenges Ahead: Educational Institutions

By Gemma Creagh - Last update


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Last week, we took a look at the challenges facing teachers dealing with the online element of blended learning, in particular those challenges that involve self-regulation and the use of technology for studying. Before that in part one, we looked at the challenges facing students.

In this third and final part, we focus on the challenges facing Educational Institutions providing the particular online element of blended learning.

Blended learning is widely regarded as a method of education in which students learn via a combination of electronic and online media as well as traditional face-to-face teaching. While it has been around as a concept and an educational method  for some time, it is only really now in light of Covid-19 that blended learning has become a term familiar to everyone’s ear as it is set to become a part of every student’s experience in some shape or form.

Ultimately, the goal of blended learning is to provide students with a richer learning experience integrating face-to-face and online learning components.

While there has been much written on the virtues and worth of blended education as a learning tool, there has also been some valuable research undertaken on the challenges the education industry faces integrating blended learning as a mode of education (RA Rasheed. Computers & Education.Volume 144, January 2020 provided important findings).

Over the course of this series of articles, we map out the challenges that exist in the online element of blended learning for

  • students
  • teachers
  • educational institutions

Below we take a look at the challenges that are unique to educational institutions when it comes to successfully adapting to and providing the online element of blended learning.

Costs

Education institutions are facing challenges with regards to the cost of providing technology that is required to successfully deliver the online element of blended learning. These include online technology costs, maintenance costs, training costs and purchasing of the latest technology required.

There is also the high cost of producing the electronic content that this technology can then provide.

Training

New technology requires new training. In many cases education institutions face the challenge of providing adequate training for teachers to use the technology which has been introduced into the learning model as required to deliver blended learning.  Furthermore effective training to teachers and students can be a difficult obstacle to overcome.

Support

A major challenge that education institutions come up against in the face of providing the online element of blended learning is a lack of technical support in fixing and repairing  the institutions’ online technologies. Similarly there has been a struggle to provide adequate instruction and training in for teachers taking on a blended model of teaching with technology.

As third level gears up to the widespread introduction of blended learning, it is important not to shy away from the challenges that threaten the effective delivery of this model of education combining online learning and traditional classroom-based elements.

Successfully adopting and adapting and delivering the online learning component means facing up to and surmounting these challenges we’ve discussed from the perspectives of students, teachers and educational institutions.

Doing so will help make the transition to blended learning less troublesome, removing obstacles and paving the way for the successful implementation of an educational experience that allows students, teachers and institutions to flourish.

 


Gemma Creagh

Blended Learning – Challenges Ahead: Teachers
Carpentry Courses


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