Blended learning: The impact of vocational and distance learning initiatives on students’ school experiences
TLRI grant holders:
Keryn Pratt (University of Otago) and Ken Pullar (OtagoNet) with Ann Trewern and Andrea Robertson (University of Otago) and John Buchanan, Lyn Cooper, Linda Miller,
and Lynda Walsh Pasco (OtagoNet schools)
Project start date:
Project Finish date:
Why is this research important?
Secondary schools are increasingly providing students with a
While previous research has shown that distance education can
In conducting this research we are working with staff and
blended form of learning, involving distance and vocational
be effective for secondary students, little is known about the
students across the OtagoNet schools. In particular, we are
forms of learning alongside more traditional formats. This project
effects on students of taking subjects through a combination of
working with the following schools and staff: Blue Mountain
explores the experiences of students in the OtagoNet
classroom, distance and workplace learning approaches, or of
College (Kevin McSweeney), Cromwell College (Anne Sinclair),
videoconference cluster of schools, both within the ‘classes’ and
working with multiple providers. The need for schools to offer
East Otago HS (Tony Jenkins), Lawrence Area School (Bill
outside of them, their learning outcomes, their needs and the
increasingly wide variety of learning opportunities to meet the
Lovell-Smith), Maniototo Area School (Alec Campbell), Mt
impact this new form of learning is having on them, their
call for personalised learning means this research is timely.
Aspiring College (Heather Watt), South Otago High School
teachers, schools, and communities. Approximately 700
(John Douglas), Tokomairiro High School (Mike Wright), and
students and 50 teachers and school leaders from 11 of the
What we plan to do
Tuatapere Community College (Wayne Edgerton).
OtagoNet schools are involved in this study.
Students are completing the Learning and Study Skills Inventory
This research aims to build on research previously conducted
(LASSI) at the beginning and the end of the year. They are also
Centre for Distance Education & Learning
with the OtagoNet groups of schools, which showed that using
completing a survey designed for this research, that asks about
videoconference to deliver classes was an effective form of
learning and teaching. Students are now often involved in
A small group of these students are also participating in
combinations of classes that involve face to face classes,
interviews at the beginning, middle and end of the year. We are
videoconference and text-based distance courses, as well as
also interviewing teachers, and employers where appropriate, of
workplace learning. This research explores students’
this group of students, at the beginning and end of the year.
experiences of this blended form of learning, in particular, the
NCEA data of participating students is also being collected.
nature of this blended learning, the outcomes for students, and
Information regarding the opportunities for students to take part
in blended learning, and the types of support being provided for
students involved in this kind of learning will also be collected.
• what non-classroom forms of learning are occurring and how
Quantitative data is being analysed using chi-square, t-tests and
ANOVAs, as appropriate, to answer the research questions. In
• what support systems are in place for students;
particularly we wish to identify whether students taking blended
• about students’ experiences of this blended learning;
learning differ in their LASSI scores at the beginning of the year,
• whether blended learning impacts on students’ achievement
and whether a difference exists at the end of the year. WE will
or progression in terms of learning and study skills; and
also compare the performance of different groups of students
• whether effects on learning and study skills differ between different groups
or example, those from different schools, of different gender or
of students, and whether only certain groups of students are taking blended
ethnicity, or doing different combinations of learning mode).
Interview data will be analysed thematically.
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