Blended Learning and Sustainable Development

Caird, S. and Roy, R. (2018). Blended Learning and Sustainable Development. In: Leal Filho, W. ed. Encyclopaedia of Sustainability and Higher Education. Springer, Cham.



The concept of blended learning has its origins in the 1960’s when new options for technology-mediated education became available to complement conventional approaches to face-to-face teaching in higher education and other contexts. In HE institutions, blended learning has now become so widespread that many regard it as the “new normal� in describing HE approaches to teaching and learning. However, the ubiquity of the blended learning concept in HE is problematic for establishing a common understanding of the concept, which is essential for identifying how it contributes to sustainable development. Blended learning may be defined as the design of learning experiences that draw on a combination of face-face, distance, or online delivery methods, learning technologies, delivery multimedia, and pedagogical methodologies to achieve a mix of learning outcomes in educational or training contexts. Blended learning designs can support sustainable development, including the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainability and protect global environmental resources to meet the needs of the present and future generations. This chapter first examines the various conceptualisations of blended learning in HE teaching and learning systems, and then proceeds to examine contemporary understanding of how HE blended learning provision contributes or might contribute to sustainable development and to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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