A blended learning model in higher education
: a comparative study of blended learning in UK and Malaysia

  • Esyin Chew

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Blended learning, involves the combination of two fields of concern: technology and education; or two groups of people: technologists and educationists. However, current literature shows less consideration on the potential disciplinary gap in the blended learning experience, as a result there is a paucity of evidence from cross-country/institutional/disciplinary investigations. This study aimed to explore, analyse and compare the blended learning experience in higher education. The research is reflected in 3 questions: (1) What are the current blended learning experiences in the selected higher educational institutions? (2) How such experience varies in different disciplines? (3) What are the reflections on the comparative experiences in (1) and (2)? The qualitative case study with comparative methods was used to obtain in-depth findings for these research questions. I visited 4 universities in two countries and sampled 51 research participants’ voices from contrasting disciplines. With these voices, I thoroughly discussed individual case studies, followed by a cross-case and cross-discipline comparison. These findings enabled insights to be drawn on a major argument: blended learning did enable and enhance learning experiences in all case studies but disciplinary differences remain a major challenge. The analysis shows that academics from science-based disciplines have an advantage at the instrumental level of technological usage without transforming learning experience; social science-based academics, due to their disciplinary nature, have embedded technology in wider trans-technical aspects that would enhance and transform learning and teaching. In the context of blended learning, I would argue that learning has not been enhanced (1) if the technology is the sole focus; (2) if the research effort of “technology enhanced learning” does not gain ground in educational theories and (3) does not recognise the disciplinary differences. Arising out of these findings, I proposed a blended learning model that indicates the boundary of the current literature and research findings, and a blended learning definition - an educational-focused process to enhance and transform f2f learning with the blend of technology in a symbiotic relationship. It is necessary for educationists and technologists to establish such a symbiotic relationship and the inter-disciplinary integration and discourse, that may impact on the individuals’ practice beyond their own disciplinary territory.
    Date of AwardJul 2009
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDavid Turner (Supervisor)


    • Internet in Education - Great Britain
    • Internet in Education - Malaysia

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