Preparing Students for a Globalized World: Lessons Learned from the First Presentation of a Blended Learning Course

HERDSA (Hong Kong Branch), Hong Kong

The Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong


Blended learning, at the Open University of Hong Kong, is defined as: "a learning experience that is categorized by thoughtful integration of face-to-face teaching with other modes of teaching and learning". This research study evaluated the implementation of a newly-converted blended course Child and Adolescent Development. Using a questionnaire, 25 first year students in English Studies and Education programmes were asked to rate the usefulness of the course topics, learning resources, teaching learning activities and arrangements of self-directed learning (SDL) and face-to-face (F2F) sessions.

Students found all the course topics useful. For learning resources, "lecture notes" were found the most useful (92%), followed by the "SDL worksheets" (88%), then by the "self-tests" and "reference readings" (both 72%). Regarding in-class learning activities, about half of the students (56%, 52% and 44%) found the lectures, group discussions and other group learning activities appropriate, thus requiring no changes. For the proportion of the F2F to SDL modes, 56% of the students thought the current arrangement was appropriate, 32% proposed to increase F2F sessions, only 32% found the SDL sessions appropriate, and 64% suggested reducing these sessions due to heavy workload.

As a whole, the course was successfully implemented. Present findings seem to imply that students prefer lectures (recipient mode) to getting involved (discussions, group activities and SDL). For future presentations, one may need to reconsider the right mix of F2F and SDL sessions and ways to enhance students' understanding of and readiness for SDL strategies so that they can take charge of their own learning beyond F2F sessions and better develop SDL capabilities which are increasingly important in a globalized world.

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