Blind alleys: Capturing learner attention online and keeping it: The challenges of blended learning programs in Chile and the Czech Republic

Paula Charbonneau-Gowdy, Ivana Cechova

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


While recent scholarship in social learning increasingly expounds on the advantages of advanced technology to move learning online, indeed to replace traditional face-to-face education altogether (Bagher & Sibbald, 2016), many higher education institutions globally are moving cautiously instead toward a medial step through the provision of blended learning offerings. Yet, the path from traditional to blended learning, albeit less daunting, is not without its challenges and pitfalls, especially in institutions in evolving countries where both teachers and learners are struggling to adopt new ways of thinking about learning per se, let alone online. The aim of this research was to explore the nature of the challenges faced in blended programs at a large private university in Chile and at a military university in the Czech Republic. Our focus was primarily on engagement and investment in sustained use of the platforms, provided as part of EFL programs in these countries. We sought to unravel the interest and activity in the 'blended' part of these programs on the part of teachers and students in both sites as a means of mediating understanding internationally of ways to enhance the respective course offerings and the quality of the learning experiences for all participants in these programs. The Qualitative 6-month Action research is grounded inthe literature on investment and agency and the symbiotic roles of teacher and learners that result when these constructs are integral to the pedagogy in online spaces. Analysis ofthe rich data collected with ethnographic tools combined with the statistical data from tracking of platform traffic, underscores the importance of building Communities of Inquiry among teachers, administrators and learners to address the challenges that arise in blended learning spaces. The findings clearly indicate the universality of issues yet that the need for unique responses at the classroom level is critical for sustained engagement and learning.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 12th International Conference on e-Learning, ICEL 2017
EditorsRichard Hartshorne, Laurie Campbel
PublisherAcademic Conferences Limited
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781911218357
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event12th International Conference on e-Learning, ICEL 2017 - Orlando, United States
Duration: 1 Jun 20172 Jun 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on e-Learning, ICEL
ISSN (Print)2048-8882
ISSN (Electronic)2048-8890


Conference12th International Conference on e-Learning, ICEL 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Agency
  • Blended learning
  • Communities of inquiry
  • Student/teacher roles
  • Sustained investment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems
  • Education


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