AN EXPLORATION OF TUTOR PERCEPTIONS AND PRACTICE WITHIN BLENDED LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
University of Huddersfield (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:This paper explores the practices of higher education (HE) tutors in blended learning contexts. Significantly, the influence of their perceptions on practice was considered by investigating previous teaching and learning experiences, and their views of the affordances blended learning offers adult learners. The analysis is considered in relation to these learners’ perceptions of their tutors whilst studying part-time, vocationally relevant degrees, at a distance. A mixed methods approach was adopted to conduct a detailed exploration of eight tutors’ practice with data gathered from three principal sources. Interviews with tutors explored their approaches to delivery and considered factors that impacted on their practice; students’ perceptions of their learning experiences were assessed using an attitude survey; an analysis of the content and communications in the virtual learning environment provided insight into tutors’ online practice. Data analysis suggested that all tutors had negative experiences of online learning as students with these perceptions appearing to influence their practice. They generally avoided online pedagogies and adopted alternative approaches to their practice, namely a focus on face-to-face delivery with enhanced learner support, which was found to align with their pedagogical beliefs. Interestingly, although tutors were generally confident in their approach to their teaching, the lack of online engagement was perceived as bad practice by some, with tensions apparent with their preference for social constructivist approaches in face-to-face contexts.
Keywords: Blended Learning, Blended Tutoring, Online Tutoring, Tutor Perceptions, Tutor Beliefs.