University of Valencia (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN19 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 4957-4966
ISBN: 978-84-09-12031-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2019.1234
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
Blended learning (B-learning) combines both online and face-to-face modalities to create a cohesive learning experience and offer learners the advantage of flexibility in shifting time and space, among other benefits. Drawing from the best practices in online and face-to-face methods, Blended learning has enjoyed rising popularity at universities and colleges. Current studies on B-learning mainly focus on students learning performance, motivation, problem-solving skills, critical thinking and interactions. Nevertheless, studies that acknowledge the effectiveness of this learning modality in teacher education are scarce.

This study intends to identify the factors that explain the success of blended learning programs in higher education teachers’ formation. For this purpose, we present a training program especially designed for preparing teachers at the tertiary level to face challenges in teaching expected to star in the next decade. The contents of the project are mainly related to the use of digital technology in the classroom: adapting the tasks and activities to the new tools that are available for teaching, including Learning Management Systems (LMS) and web-based conferencing software, and performing new roles that consider the possibilities offered by digital platforms together with the characteristics and requirements of Generation Z students.

Different factor categories are considered to explain two dimensions of teachers’ attitudes towards the training program: perceived usefulness and satisfaction with both, its contents and the format employed to present the course. These independent factors belong fundamentally to two dimensions: personal factors, including personality dimensions such as openness to change, and digital skills, which consider the command of new technologies and its incorporation in the teacher’s daily routine. These relationships are based on different theories, including the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) and Self-Regulated Learning theory. The proposed relationships between personal factors, digital skills and attitudes toward the blended learning program configure a conceptual model that will be tested with actual university teachers that will go through the entire program and evaluate it.

The purpose of this study is twofold. On the one hand, we present an overview of an international blended learning program for teachers’ preparation to the digital revolution challenges in learning. This project is characterized by a storytelling approach and a multicultural, multidisciplinary team of educational and applied research behind its configuration. On the other hand, we elaborate a conceptual model that intends to explain the perceptions and attitudes of teachers toward this program, considering both its contents and learning format.

The originality of this study resides in:
1) the idiosyncrasy of the project, which develops the necessary skills and roles to overcome technological hurdles in the classroom,
2) the focus on the personal factors and abilities that explain the success of blended learning programs for higher education teachers.

This study has been financed by the Erasmus + Program of the European Union (EU), under the project Future-proof your classroom – teaching skills 2030 (2017-1-AT01-KA203-034984).
Blended learning, teacher education, digital skills, personality, UTAUT.