Blended Learning: An Exploration of the Experiences of Lecturers and Students in Post Qualification Nurse Education

Gallagher, Alison Lucy (2015). Blended Learning: An Exploration of the Experiences of Lecturers and Students in Post Qualification Nurse Education. EdD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000ef9a

Abstract

Blended learning (BL), defined broadly as a mixture of face-to-face teaching and e-learning, is a concept that has been developed across education. Nurse education has relatively recently adopted this learning mode which has largely arisen as resources have been reduced and the purchasers of education, primarily the National Health Service, require their growing workforce to have increased access to wide professional development opportunities. This can lead to problems as BL in nurse education is largely untested. This study considered the experiences of lecturers and students regarding BL in post qualification nurse education. Understanding lecturers’ and students’ perceptions of this change is important to facilitate a smooth transition and ultimately to ensure that blended learning enhances the learning and teaching experiences. An interpretive, in-depth, qualitative approach in one nursing school setting was adopted. An initial study, with two focus groups to elicit student and lecturer experiences of blended learning in post-qualification education, informed the conduct of the main study and the interview questions. The main study involved semi-structured interviews with three lecturers and ten students, purposively selected as participants. Data were analysed thematically. The findings indicated a lack of understanding of BL. Issues raised included problems with accessing information technology. Lecturers viewed blended learning only in terms of the e-learning site and this site was only used by them as a repository for information; thus for them blended learning was not an interactive concept. In contrast students wanted the interaction creating potential discord between students and lecturers. The reduced sense of community and student isolation were concepts that were also raised by several participants. The study developed a more precise definition of BL and a useful conceptual framework which was informed by the Conversational Framework of Laurillard (2002) and the Community of Inquiry Framework of Garrison and Anderson (2003).

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