C. Chang, A.C. Chang-Gonzalez

University of Texas at El Paso (UNITED STATES)
Blended learning strategies have evolved with the development of new teaching models and innovative technologies that facilitates access to unlimited educational resources. Virtual learning tools, such as of videos on-line with comprehensive lectures and step-by-step problem solving demonstrations, in combination with face-to-face instructor-student classroom interaction seems to be the most powerful teaching method. However, the effectiveness of the blended learning method is influenced by a number of factors including, but not limited to, the content of the course, academic background of the student, motivation for learning, computer skills, settings of the virtual environment, and the type of classroom activities. It is assumed that smart students can take advantage of blended learning strategies to master the course topics in a more effective manner, saving time and effort for both the student and the instructor. In this context, why do some of the smartest students fail in their learning process?

Results from surveys conducted in undergraduate and graduate level engineering courses are compared with the students’ performance in an effort to identify the factors that contribute to the success of failure of blended learning strategies. Recommendations are provided for instructors and students to overcome problems observed in the implementation of virtual learning tools and classroom activities. The aim of these recommendations is to find the point of equilibrium between novel and traditional teaching methods to enhance the learning process. This paper presents the reflections, based on teaching experience and feedback from students, from the application of blended learning strategies in undergraduate and graduate level courses. Recommendations on how to improve the learning process by combining virtual tools applications with traditional teaching techniques are provided as a result of the study.