‘Breaking bad’: Overcoming Barriers Preventing Higher Education Faculty From Offering Quality Blended Learning Programs

Paula Charbonneau-Gowdy, Manuel Herrera

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

4 Citations (Scopus)


Proponents of Blended Learning have been predicting for over a decade its transformative potential for higher education, both financial and pedagogical. Educators on the front lines who face the day-to-day challenges of promoting engagement in BL settings have remained particularly sceptical. Considerable scholarship has focussed on faculty reticence in adopting effective BL practices, yet offering few solutions. Results of our earlier 3-year longitudinal study at a private-for-profit university in Chile, shed light on complex circumstances that explain why many faculty have not embraced BL and the often-disappointing results of those who do. The findings provided insight into multi-level identity issues within our institution that influence teaching and learning in BL classrooms. In this paper, we report on a 6-month follow-up AR (AR) study we conducted to address those issues. Our aim was to provide collaborative and sustained expert e-learning pedagogical and IT support for a group of thirteen faculty, including a set of strategies to counteract the barriers preventing these educators and their 320 students from adopting effective BL practices. Framed by theories of identity and transformational change, in the study we co-constructed alternative ways of viewing and doing BL teaching and learning with this group of educators. Qualitative data collection tools involved: interviews, recorded field notes from online participant meetings and class blogs and an end-of-semester student Likert scale questionnaire. Findings indicate that when faculty are provided long-term institutionally-supported opportunities and collaborative guidance in how to assume agency and control in their BL teaching settings and are simultaneously encouraged to empower their students to do the same in their learning, the resulting identities they themselves mediate and in turn foster in their students have positive implications for learning outcomes-increased self-directedness, online engagement, community building and higher order thinking. We believe these results provide renewed and grounded hope for the future of BL.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th European Conference on e-Learning, ECEL 2019
EditorsRikke Orngreen, Mie Buhl, Bente Meyer
PublisherAcademic Conferences Limited
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781912764426
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
Event18th European Conference on e-Learning, ECEL 2019 - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 7 Nov 20198 Nov 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European Conference on e-Learning, ECEL
ISSN (Print)2048-8637
ISSN (Electronic)2048-8645


Conference18th European Conference on e-Learning, ECEL 2019


  • Blended learning
  • Faculty support
  • Higher education
  • Identity construction
  • Sociocultural theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Education


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