Universidad de Granada (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 3889-3900
ISBN: 978-84-613-9386-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
New information and communication technologies (ICTs), and particularly the World Wide Web, provide educators and learners with an innovative learning environment to stimulate and enhance the teaching and learning process. In recent years, the use of ICTs in higher education has increased considerably. In Spain, according to data published by the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (UNIVERSITIC, 2009) 71.8% of university teaching and research staff make use of the institutional virtual teaching platform, and 92.5% of students take advantage of this teaching instrument. Clearly, thus, the future of higher education is linked to advances in technology.
In this scenario, development is currently taking place in concepts such as blended learning. This has been defined as an integration of traditional face-to-face and online approaches to instruction (Garrison & Kanuka, 2004; Graham, 2006; Macdonald, 2008), and is proposed as a solution addressing the needs both of students and of the higher education organization. According to the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) (2005), blended learning courses are gaining in prominence globally as ICTs are deployed to complement rather than replace traditional forms of higher education.
The use of blended instruction is growing rapidly, as teachers apply diverse delivery methods, significantly enhancing learning outcomes as well as increasing student satisfaction from the learning experience. Nevertheless, published research has reported inconsistent or even contradictory results regarding the effect of the use of this methodology on the learning process.
In this paper, we contribute to current knowledge, revealing the results of an experiment in blended learning carried out at the University of Granada. This experiment took place in the Basic Accounting subject, which is taught in four degree courses related to economic and business science, to a total of 17 groups and 1813 students registered for the 2009-2010 academic year. This initiative had three main aims: firstly, to determine the extent to which the incorporation of ICTs, vs. the traditional face-to-face approach, affects student outcomes, as regards both the number of students taking the subject exams and the number ultimately successful in these exams. Secondly, to inquire into the students’ reaction to the blended learning experience, and specifically, the usefulness derived from it, the effect produced on their motivation and the level of satisfaction obtained. To achieve these aims, a questionnaire was distributed among the students, and 986 valid replies were received. Finally, we wished to compile evidence on the impact of the use of blended learning on student outcomes. In addition to these main goals, we also analysed the possible influence of other variables that are often taken into consideration in this field of research, namely the students’ degree subject, age, sex, number of years registered at the university, entrance exam mark and rate of class attendance.
Blended Learning, satisfaction, learning outcomes, usefulness.