For blended learning to be effective it is essential that there is a strong link between the learning taking place inside and outside of the classroom. This effective integration of the face-to-face and online learning experiences is described by Garrison and Kanuka as “the real test of blended learning” (2004:p.97). They assert the need when designing and delivering such courses that “we are not just adding on to the existing dominant approach or method” (2004:p.97), further arguing that “what makes blended learning particularly effective is its ability to facilitate a community of inquiry” (2004:p.97).
In this session/paper we will demonstrate how real-world scenarios can provide the link between the face-to-face and the online, allowing for their effective integration as well as creating an environment that fosters collaboration and promotes critical inquiry. We will share how, using only existing university resources, we have taken a scenario-based blended learning approach in our redesign of a ten-week undergraduate module at University College London (UCL) School of Management and why we believe this method represents a powerful mix for both students and course designers. We will show how scenarios, as noted by Errington (2005:p.10) can “provide an ideal platform for students to experience deep level learning tasks” and when coupled with a blended approach have allowed us to enhance and extend student learning in an organic and dynamic way “far beyond the boundaries of traditional classrooms” (Moskal, et al, 2013:p.16).
During the session, we will take participants through the process of developing a course scenario, from the initial planning stage through to implementation and evaluation. We will consider the key elements of scenarios (narrative, challenge, choice, roleplay, authenticity, deliverables) discussing these in the abstract and exemplifying them within the module scenario. Participants will then have the opportunity, following our framework, to design a scenario for a course or teaching session of their choice.
We will end the session by sharing student feedback alongside data from before and after the redesign, discussing the impact our changes have had on student satisfaction with the overall course (up 5% from 75.9% S.D. 16.6 to 80.9% S.D. 15.2), average VLE course views per student (38.6 to 42.9), average attendance (up 6.4% from 73.58% S.D. 6.35 to 80% S.D. 7.58) , and average grade (up 5% from 61.2% S.D. 7.4 to 66.3% S.D. 8.3). We will show how implementing a scenario naturally leads to greater student collaboration and a shift towards deeper level learning; using visualisations created in Learning Designer (London Knowledge Lab) we will present the breakdown of learning activities for given weeks of the course before and after the redesign, demonstrating how they have developed from comprising largely acquisition-based tasks to higher level application-, evaluation- and creation-based learning tasks.
Cohort sizes for the course deliveries used in before and after comparisons were 162 (2013-2014) and 150 (2014-2015).
Errington, E. (2005) Creating Learning Scenarios, Palmerston North, New Zealand, Cool Books.
Garrison, D. Randy, & Heather Kanuka. (2004) Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 7(2), 95-105.
Moskal, P., Dziuban, C. & Hartman, J. (2013) Blended learning: A dangerous idea? Internet and Higher Education, 18, 15-23.