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the effects of moodle activities on students’ writing performance at tien giang university

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HO CHI MINH CITY OPEN UNIVERSITY
----------------------------

VO THI MINH DUE

THE EFFECTS OF MOODLE ACTIVITIES
ON STUDENTS’ WRITING PERFORMANCE
AT TIEN GIANG UNIVERSITY

A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE
OF MASTER OF ARTS (TESOL)

HO CHI MINH CITY, 2017


i

STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP


I certify that the thesis entitled “The effects of Moodle activities on students’ writing
performance at Tien Giang University” is my original work. All resources used in the
thesis have been documented. The work has not been submitted to Open University or
elsewhere.
Ho Chi Minh, August 8th, 2017

Vo Thi Minh Due


ii

RETENTION AND USE OF THE THESIS

I hereby state that I, Vo Thi Minh Due, being the candidate for the degree of Master of
to the TESOL, accept the requirement of University relating to the retention and use of
the Master’s theses deposited in the University library.

In terms of these conditions, I agree that the original of my thesis deposited in the
University library should be accessible for the purposes of the studies and research, in
accordance with the normal condition established by the library for care, loan, and
reproduction of thesis.


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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
During the process of carrying out this research, I have received a lot of contribution and
support from many people. Therefore, I would like to express my special thanks to them.

Firstly, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my supervisor Assoc. Prof. Dr.
Nguyen Ngoc Vu for his untiring and useful assistance and invaluable advice to me
throughout the process of my writing. He spent his valuable time reading my thesis with
much care and gave me his perceptive comments. His encouragement and approval have
also helped me a lot to overcome troubles in doing the research, without which I am not
able to complete this study well.

Secondly, I am grateful to the Management of Tien Giang University and the Leaders of
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities who provided me with the opportunity to take
this MA course and finish my thesis. I also thank my colleagues, who substituted for me
in my work-place during my absence for this MA course. I also sincerely appreciate all


the students in two classes 0724201 and 0724202 for their cooperation.

Lastly, my special thanks go to all my family and my friends who gave me time and
opportunity to write and do research and encouraged me whenever I got stuck.


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ABSTRACT

Computers and the Internet are important tools for developing autonomy through
activities which help learners to study without assistance from teachers. As an alternative
to traditional face-to-face classroom, ICT provides blended learning, a new learning
environment, in which students participate in both traditional face-to-face classes and
online sessions. This approach of learning has been widely used in many schools.
Through this kind of learning, what students learn online will support what they learn
face-to-face in class, and vice-versa. In fact, “Moodle” has become more and more
popular in the field of education. This study is conducted to investigate the effects of
Moodle activities on students’ perceptions and writing performance. Forty English
majors are selected and divided into two groups: an experimental group and a control
group. Both groups have the same curriculum, course-book, facilities and teaching
method in face-to-face class. The main difference between these groups was that the
experimental group did their writing exercises on Moodle while the control group did
writing exercises on paper. A questionnaire, an interview, a pretest and a post-test are
used as instruments to measure the effects of Moodle activities on students’ writing
performance and perceptions. The findings proved that Moodle activities could enhance
students’ writing performance significantly and their perceptions towards the use of
Moodle activities were positive. The study suggested implications for teaching and
learning writing.
Keywords: Moodle activities, Writing performance, Perceptions, Blended learning


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ABBRIVIATIONS
A: Agree
CALL: Computer-Assisted Language Learning
CG: Control Group
CMC: Computer Mediated Communication
CMS: Classroom Management System
D: Disagree
EFL: English as a Foreign Language
EG: Experimental Group
ITC: Information Communication Technology
L1: First language
LMS: Learning Management System
M: Mean
MOODLE
N: Neutral
S: Student
SA: Strongly Agree
SD: Strongly Disagree
SPSS: Statistical Package for the Social Sciences
S.D: Standard Deviation
Sts: Students
VLE: Virtual Learning Environment


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LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 2.1: Spectrum of E-learning adapted after Procter (2002) ................................... 8
Figure 2.2: Concept of Blended Learning adapted after Heinze and Procter (2004) ...... 8
Figure 2.3: Progressive convergence of face-to-face and online learning environments
allowing development of blended learning systems (C. J. Bonk & C. R. Graham ,2006) ... 9
Figure 3.1: Chatroom used in the course ....................................................................... 37
Figure 3.2: Threads in Moodle forum during the course ............................................... 38
Figure 3.3: A workshop from the course ....................................................................... 39
Figure 3.4: An exercise in journal .................................................................................. 40
Figure 3.5: Example of Standard Deviation................................................................... 49
Figure 4.1 Normal Q-Q plots for the writing pre-test results ........................................ 56
Figure 4.2 Normal Q-Q plots for the writing pre-test results ........................................ 60
Figure 4.3 Comparison of means of pretest and posttest scores .................................... 62


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LIST OF TABLES
Table 2.1: Eight dimensions of blended learning (Sharpe, Benfield et al., 2006) ......... 11
Table 3.1: Summary of the writing course syllabus....................................................... 33
Table 3.2: General Information of participants before the treatment ........................... 35
Table 3.3: Summary of the treatment for experimental group ...................................... 41
Table 3.4: The summary of the scoring rubric ............................................................... 44
Table 3.5: The questionnaire structure ........................................................................... 45
Table 3.6: Summary of data collection instruments ...................................................... 47
Table 3.7: Schedule for the main stages of data collection ............................................ 47
Table 4.1 Correlation of pretests scores of the CG by two raters .................................. 53
Table 4.2 Correlation of pretests scores of the EG by two raters .................................. 54
Table 4.3 Descriptive statistics of pretests scores .......................................................... 55
Table 4.4 Independent Sample T-Test of pretests results .............................................. 57
Table 4.5 Correlation of posttests scores of the CG by two raters ................................ 58
Table 4.6 Correlation of posttests scores of the EG by two raters ................................. 58
Table 4.7 Descriptive statistics of posttests scores ........................................................ 59
Table 4.8 Independent Sample t Test of posttests results .............................................. 61
Table 4.9 Moodle activities influence in writing performance ...................................... 63
Table 4.10 Moodle activities in collaboration and interaction ...................................... 63
Table 4.11 General perceptions of Moodle activities .................................................... 64
Table 4.12 Perceptions of enjoyment in discussion in Moodle activities ...................... 64
Table 4.13 Perceptions of motivation in Moodle activities ........................................... 64
Table 4.14 Moodle activities influence in writing performance .................................... 65
Table 4.15 Moodle activities in collaboration and interaction ...................................... 66
Table 4.16 General perceptions of Moodle activities .................................................... 68
Table 4.17 Perceptions of enjoyment in discussion in Moodle activities ...................... 69
Table 4.18 Perceptions of motivation in Moodle activities ........................................... 71
Table 4.19 Students’ obstacles in learning with Moodle activities ............................... 76


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

RETENTION AND USE OF THE THESIS ................................................................ii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ......................................................................................... iii
ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................iv
ABBRIVIATIONS ......................................................................................................... v
LIST OF FIGURES ......................................................................................................vi
LIST OF TABLES .......................................................................................................vii
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION ................................................................................. 1
1.1 Background of the study ............................................................................................ 1
1.2 Rationale for the study ............................................................................................... 1
1.3 Questions of the study ................................................................................................ 2
1.4 Hypotheses of the study ............................................................................................. 2
1.5 Purpose of the study ................................................................................................... 2
1.6 Significance of the study ............................................................................................ 3
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW ..................................................................... 4
2.1 CALL ......................................................................................................................... 4
2.1.1 Computer-assisted language learning (CALL) ................................................ 4
2.1.2 Writing performance ........................................................................................ 4
2.1.3 Computer-assisted language learning and EFL writing .................................. 5
2.2 Blended Learning ....................................................................................................... 6
2.2.1 What is Blended learning? ............................................................................... 6
2.2.2 Dimensions of blended learning .................................................................... 10
2.2.3 Models of blended learning ........................................................................... 13
2.2.4 History of blended learning ........................................................................... 14
2.2.5 Blended Learning and Constructivism .......................................................... 17
2.3 Moodle ..................................................................................................................... 19
2.3.1 What is Moodle? ............................................................................................ 19


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2.3.2 Functions of Moodle ...................................................................................... 20
2.3.2.1 Layout ...................................................................................................... 21
2.3.2.2 Course Management ................................................................................ 21
2.3.2.3 Quizzes Moodle provides users with various assessment strategies. ...... 21
2.3.2.4 Cooperative Learning............................................................................... 22
2.3.3 Chat, Forum, Journal and Workshop ............................................................. 22
2.3.3.1 Chat .......................................................................................................... 22
2.3.3.2 Forum ....................................................................................................... 23
2.3.3.3 Journal ...................................................................................................... 24
2.3.3.4 Workshop ................................................................................................. 25
2.4. Perceptions .............................................................................................................. 25
2.5. Related studies ........................................................................................................ 26
CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY .............................................................................. 31
3.1 Research Design ....................................................................................................... 31
3.2 Research site............................................................................................................. 31
3.3 Participants ............................................................................................................... 35
3.4 Research Instruments ............................................................................................... 37
3.4.1 Treatment for the Experimental group .......................................................... 37
3.4.2 Measurement Instruments .............................................................................. 42
3.4.2.1 The Pre- and Posttest ............................................................................... 42
3.4.2.2 Questionnaires.......................................................................................... 44
3.4.2.3 Interview .................................................................................................. 46
3.4.2.4 Summary of data collection instruments ................................................. 46
3.5 Data Collection Procedures ...................................................................................... 47
3.6 Analytical framework............................................................................................... 48


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3.6.1 Quantitative analysis of the pre-test and post-test ......................................... 49
3.6.2 Quantitative analysis of the questionnaire ..................................................... 50
3.6.3 Qualitative analysis of the interview ............................................................. 51
3.7 Validity and Reliability ............................................................................................ 51
3.8 Chapter summary ..................................................................................................... 52
CHAPTER 4: FINDINGS ........................................................................................... 53
4.1 Research question 1: To what extent do Moodle activities (chat, forum, journal, and
workshop) enhance students’ writing performance? ..................................................... 53
4.1.1 Correlation pretest scores by Rater A and rater B in CG and EG ................. 53
4.1.2 Independent Sample t Test of pretests results ............................................... 54
4.1.3 Correlation of posttest scores by rater A and rater B in CG and EG............. 58
4.1.4 Independent Sample T-Test of posttests results ............................................ 59
4.2 Research question 2: What are the students’ perceptions of the use of Moodle
activities in teaching and learning writing? ................................................................... 62
4.2.1 Results from questionnaire ............................................................................ 62
4.2.1.1 Moodle activities influence in writing performance (items 1-5) ............. 65
4.2.1.2 Moodle activities in collaboration and interaction (items 6-9) ................ 66
4.2.1.3 General perceptions of Moodle activities ................................................ 68
4.2.1.4 Perceptions of enjoyment in discussion in Moodle activities .................. 69
4.2.1.5 Perceptions of motivation in Moodle activities ....................................... 71
4.2.2 Results from interview ................................................................................... 73
4.2.2.1 Students’ evaluation of learning writing with Moodle course ................. 73
4.2.2.2 Students’ favorite activities in Moodle .................................................... 74
4.2.2.3 Difficulties students often face when learning with the help of Moodle
activities ............................................................................................................... 75
4.2.2.4 Students’ performance after learning with Moodle ................................ 76


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4.2.2.5 The roles of Moodle activities in promoting attitudes and motivation
towards paragraph writing. .................................................................................. 77
4.2.2.6 Students’ suggestions or comments regarding the Moodle activities for
writing .................................................................................................................. 77
4.3 Overall summary ...................................................................................................... 78
CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION ...................................................................................... 79
5.1 Research question 1: To what extent do Moodle activities (chat, forum, journal, and
workshop) enhance students’ writing performance? ..................................................... 79
5.2 Research question 2: What are the students’ perceptions of the use of Moodle
activities in teaching and learning writing? ................................................................... 80
5.2.1 The results from questionnaire ...................................................................... 80
5.2.2 The results from interview ............................................................................. 80
CHAPTER 6: CONCLUSIONS, IMPLICATIONS, LIMITATIONS AND
RECOMMENDATIONS ............................................................................................. 82
6.1 Conclusion................................................................................................................ 82
6.2 Implementations ....................................................................................................... 83
6.2.1 For teachers .................................................................................................... 83
6.2.2 For students .................................................................................................... 83
6.3. Limitations .............................................................................................................. 84
6.4. Recommendations ................................................................................................... 85
REFERENCES ............................................................................................................. 86
APPENDIX A ............................................................................................................... 96
APPENDIX B ............................................................................................................... 99
APPENDIX C ............................................................................................................. 100
APPENDIX D ............................................................................................................. 101
APPENDIX E ............................................................................................................. 104


1
CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

How to develop good writing skill in English is one of the most persistent questions of all
English learners who encounter difficulties in improving their writing skill. Good writing
skill in English can be achieved through hard work, creativity and dedication. In fact,
renewing teaching methodology is mission of teachers since methods of teaching and
means of learning have been affected deeply by the development of information
technology. Owston (1997) stated that students who work, play and learn with computers
are more visual and interactive learners than others because their environment is full of
visual stimuli. In the last few years, Moodle has been one of the most used learning
management systems in the world (Hinze-Hoare, 2008). It is believed that teachers and
students can benefit from the appropriate use of Moodle activities in teaching and learning
writing.

1.2 Rationale for the study
The research topic: “The effects of Moodle activities on students’ writing performance at
Tien Giang University” is raised because of the following reasons. Tien Giang University
has trained students to become junior high school teachers of English since 2008.
Nowadays, using the Internet to enhance learning has become a trend in education.
However, there have been no studies relating to the use of Moodle in enhancing writing
performance at Tien Giang University so far. Normally, lecturers who are assigned to teach
writing mainly focus on face-to-face teaching. In addition, most English major students
come from underserved districts in Tien Giang Province. This makes their writing training
challenging. When they study writing courses in the second semester of their first year, they
find it so hard to practice writing. Moodle has been proved an effective teaching device that
can successfully support English writing teachers not only in organizing their teaching


2
materials but also in developing their communication ways. Moreover, they can also
recollect their records of interaction with students when it is necessary. Being a teacher, the
researcher wants to conduct this study to prove that Moodle has the possibility to be a new
and interesting way in teaching writing at Tien Giang University and can help students to
become better writers.

1.3 Questions of the study
1. To what extent do Moodle activities (chat, forum, journal, and workshop) enhance
students’ writing performance?
2. What are the students’ perceptions of the use of Moodle activities (chat, forum, journal,
and workshop) in teaching and learning writing?

1.4 Hypotheses of the study

The two questions in this study lead to the following hypotheses.
1. The Moodle activities enhance students’ writing performance.
2. Students have positive perceptions of the use of Moodle activities.

1.5 Purpose of the study

This study aims to investigate the effects of Moodle activities on students’ writing
performance. If the use of Moodle activities can enhance students’ writing performance,
this method should be widely employed to teach writing at Tien Giang University. In
addition, the researcher wants to find out students’ perceptions of the use of Moodle
activities.


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1.6 Significance of the study

The significance of the study is as follows. The finding that using Moodle activities is an
effective writing teaching method will help teachers of English enhance EFL learner’s
writing performance at Tien Giang University. Secondly, Moodle is not widely used in
many schools in Viet Nam. It will be interesting to see how students improve their writing
skill during the experimental procedure. Last but not least, the positive perceptions of
students involved in the use of Moodle activities reveal that students’ writing improves
because they are eager about new learning methods. In other words, this method is
definitely applicable.


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CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 CALL
2.1.1 Computer-assisted language learning (CALL)
Levy (1997) defined CALL as “the search for and study of applications of the computer in
language teaching and learning”. AbuSeileek and Abu Sa’aleek (2012) also argued that
teachers could use computers as aids to create different learning tasks and explore their
enormous potency in teaching and learning, which can assist both students and teachers
because of their special characteristics. CALL is purposefully used as a useful tool to
enhance learning and the nature of CALL at any particular time reflects the level of
technology development.

Many studies have been carried out in the CALL-based instruction field. Hani (2014)
proved that the most essential benefits of CALL were: providing immediate feedback,
motivating students' learning and excitement, initiating more interaction and controlling
easily. Barimani and Naraghizadeh (2013) stated that the group of students taught with
CALL could perform better in their vocabulary knowledge than the group of students taught
with conventional methods. Moreover, Yang (2010) claimed that writing skill development
was positively affected by the computer-mediated feedback. All in all, computers are able
to be supportive tools in the language classroom. They support teachers as well as students
to improve their language teaching and learning.

2.1.2 Writing performance

Writing was simply defined as “an act of forming graphic symbols” (Byrne, 1991, p.1). In
fact, writing can be more complicated when there is the existence of linguistic features.
According to Hedge (2000), writing is the result of using strategies to control the
composing process. There are many activities such as setting goals, generating


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information, selecting appropriate language, making a draft, reading and reviewing it,
then revising and editing. The process here is complicated.
Sharadgah (2013) stated that writing performance is defined as the ability to produce
effective writing work and the writer produce his/her thoughts and ideas into written
words. In detail, writing performance is “ the production of a writer’s ideas on a certain
topic in a written form with clear organization of ideas, adequate and relevant content
taking the audience into consideration and demonstrating appropriate mechanics” (
Mohammed, 2010, p2).
2.1.3 Computer-assisted language learning and EFL writing

Many studies have predominantly revealed CALL’s motivation and facilitation to language
learners. For example, Chang et al. (2008) developed an online collocation aid for EFL
writers in Taiwan to detect and correct learners’ miscollocations attributable to L1
interference. In a similar situation, Shang (2007) also studied the overall effect of using
email to improve writing performance in terms of syntactic complexity, grammatical
accuracy and lexical density and turned inside out the relation between the email exchange
numbers and writing performance.

Hirvela (2005) finds that college writing has become more computer-based and computer
is turning into a popular tool in writing instruction. Besides, Levy (2009) shows that thanks
to the popularity of personal computer, the word processor has definitely become one of
the most favorite technologies used for writing. Hegelheimer (2006) and Hegelheimer and
Fisher (2006) describe the interactive iWrite system that enables students to enhance their
grammar in writing.

Furthermore, Ho and Savignon (2007) describe how the track changes function in Microsoft
Word can be used for computer-mediated peer review via email. Chun (2008) also shows
how computer mediated communication (CMC) tools for language learning have moved
from ‘first-generation’ email, text-based message boards and forums to blogs, wikis and


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social networking sites. Some other examples include the application of blogs (Arslan &
Sahin-Kizil, 2010; Ducate & Lomicka, 2008; Fellner & Apple, 2006), student-designed web
pages, wikis and PowerPoint presentations (Murray & Hourigan, 2006).

Besides, Elola (2010) makes a comparison between students’ individual writing and
students’ collaborative writing using a wiki. Plus, Schulze and Liebscher (2010) prove how
computer based learning was applied to promote an intermediate-level hybrid German
writing course which consisted of “exchanges via email, synchronous chat, and discussion
boards” and “online study with interactive language exercises and other electronic materials” (p. 554).

2.2 Blended Learning
2.2.1 What is Blended learning?

The broadest definition was given by Singh and Reed (2001) and Margaryan and Bianco
(2002). Blended learning was considered to be the total learning arrangement. Different
dimensions were emphasized and the combinations between technologies/media/modes for
the delivery of learning methods and approaches were marked. In other words, blended
learning is described as the combination of pedagogical methods, implementing various
strategies of learning, both using the technology and not.

In the literature, different terminologies such as “hybrid teaching” or “integrated elearning” were also used to define blended learning in different ways. Some authors (Troha,
2002; Young, 2002; Thorne, 2003; Clark, 2003; Garrison & Kanuka, 2004) defined blended
learning in a narrower sense. It is the mix of online learning activities and off-line learning
activities. Blended learning is positioned as a choice between new and old media,
suggesting that they can substitute each other. This concept did not address the issue of
redesigning the learning process implementing technology.

Jochems, Merrienvoer, and Koper (2004) used the term “Integrated e-learning” for blended
learning and had a broader definition of it. They defined it as the need to provide various


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appropriate measures at the levels of the pedagogy, organization, and technique for the
successful application of e-learning combined with conventional methods. In spite of this
concept, it still indicates e-learning to be a pedagogical integration into conventional
learning methods instead of redesigning learning.

Blended Learning is at present a term being debated, when a number of authors refer to an
innovative thing while others claim there is not anything new in it. However, its degree of
importance for computer teaching and learning has been recently much increasing.

Until now, there have been a large number of opinions about what should be blended. Most
of them fall under some shared themes. The three most popular definitions are noted by
Graham, Allen, and Ure (2003). Firstly, blended learning is a mode of learning delivery. It
combines face-to-face and online learning and enables blends across four key dimensions
as space, time, fidelity, and humanness (Bleed, 2001; Graham, 2006; Sharma, 2010).
Blended learning brings online learning components into a course, at the same time,
recognizes the benefits in engaging face-to-face interactions and other conventional
approaches to support learners (Macdonald, 2006; Rudestam & Schoenholtz, 2010;
Watson, 2008). The second definition is that blended learning combines the instructions
from two historically separate educational models. They are face-to-face learning and nontraditional learning systems, which have been interpreted in many different ways, such as
distributed learning, distance learning, e-learning, virtual instruction, and online learning
(Akkoyunlu & Soylu, 2008; Bleed, 2001; Harding, Kaczynski, & Wook, 2005; Graham,
2006; Moonen & Colis, 2001). The last definition is by Stracke (2007). Because of blended
learning’s accurate description of the particular educational environment and its study
placement in a broader research context, Stracke agreed that adopting the term “blended
learning” was appropriate.

In their study, Moonen and Colis (2001) described that blended learning is resulted in
combining both online learning and face-to-face learning. Learning occurs both in
classrooms and an online environment. There are various online learning components that


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can be used in blended learning. For instance, real-time virtual or collaboration software,
self-paced Web-based courses, electronic performance support systems (EPSS) embedded
with job-task environment, and the knowledge management systems are used to support
this type of learning. Podcasting, e-portfolios, social networking tools (e.g., blogs and
wikis), and personal and mobile technologies are the arrival of new learning technologies
(Kukulska-Hulme, 2012; Lee & McLoughlin, 2011)

Figure 2.1: Spectrum of E-learning adapted after Procter (2002)

Figure 2.2: Concept of Blended Learning adapted after Heinze and Procter (2004)

Blended learning can also be described as a learning program, in which many delivery
modes were in use with the aim of optimizing the learning outcome and cost of program
delivery. In addition, it is the appropriately integrating of various additional delivery
mechanisms of information, with the endeavor of optimizing learning and skills acquisition.


9
In spite of various definitions, blended learning fundamentally refers to the integration of
traditional face-to-face learning environment and e-learning technologies so as to enhance
learning outcomes through implementing different learning strategies and tools to suite
various learning styles. It emphasizes the outcomes by supplying the best combination of
different learning tools and strategies. Blended Learning strategies or approaches may
consist of three following types of learning: self-paced learning, learner-centered learning,
and collaborative learning.

It is apparent that blended learning is a part of progressive convergence between traditional
learning and distributed learning environment (e-learning). The distributed learning
environments have developed and expanded rapidly because new technologies have raised
the capacity for distributed communication and interaction. From definitions given, it can
be concluded that blended learning may consist of traditional classes, virtual or online
classes, online teacher, offline teacher, e-mail system, discussion forums, and a chat system.
As in Figure 2.3

Figure 2.3: Progressive convergence of face-to-face and online learning environments
allowing development of blended learning systems (C. J. Bonk & C. R. Graham ,2006)


10
2.2.2 Dimensions of blended learning

Singh and Reed (2001) categorizes dimensions of blended learning into five types: online
versus offline, self-paced versus live collaborative, structured versus unstructured, custom
and off-the-shelf-content, and working versus learning.

According Singh (2003), blended learning developed to embrace more strategies or
dimensions such as offline and online, self-paced and live, collaborative learning,
structured and unstructured, custom content and off-the-shelf, practice and performance
support considered the finest tools facilitating the appropriateness of job-tasks. The
researcher stated that at the most basic level, a blended learning experience was the
combination of learning online and learning in a traditional (offline) classroom setting.

Blending self-paced and live, collaborative learning may require the careful consideration
on regulatory changes or new products with a moderated, live, online, peer-to-peer
discussion of the materials’ applications to students’ work. It is because self-pace learning
means solitary, on-demand learning at a pace which is controlled by the learners. However,
collaborative learning has capacity of creating more dynamic communication among
students, in which they share knowledge.

Singh (2003) contends that not all forms of learning imply a premeditated, structured, or
formal learning program with organized content in specific sequences such as chapters or
units in a textbook. In reality, learning appears in an unstructured form through activities
like meetings, hallway conversations, or e-mail. A program with blended learning should
contain active combination of components from unstructured learning events namely
conversations and knowledge repositories to assist the cooperation and working of
knowledge workers.

In contrast to Singh and Reed (2001) and Troha (2003) distinguished four dimensions of
blended learning: learner-centered, instructor-guided, interactive, and peer-collaborative.


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Learning-centered and instructor-guided teaching create an extra dimension for the model:
self/teacher directed. However, interactive and collaborative learning share the same
features as the “collaborative versus individual” by Singh and Reed (2001).

Sharpe, Benfield et al. (2006) classified eight dimensions of blended learning in a study of
its undergraduate experience in the UK. These are outlined in Table 2.1: Eight dimensions
of blended learning adapted after Sharpe, Benfield et al. (2006).

Table 2.1: Eight dimensions of blended learning (Sharpe, Benfield et al., 2006)

Eight dimensions of blended learning
Type of blend

Example

Delivery

different modes (face-to-face and distance education)
That is the chosen combination of different modes, e.g.,
classroom based vs. online education.

Technology

mixtures of (web based) technologies
That is the use of different ICT, e.g., simulation software
or the internet.

Chronology

Synchronous and asynchronous interventions
That is the applied mixture of synchronous and
asynchronous interventions by the teacher.

Locus

practice-based vs. class-room based learning
This can be a traditional classroom setting, a more
authentic practice-based setting, or even a workplace.

Roles

multi-disciplinary or professional groupings
That focuses on the roles of the teachers and students, e.g.,
the traditional teacher-led, hierarchical setup, or a setup
where the learners play a more active role in the
development of their learning program.

Pedagogy

different pedagogical approaches


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That is the pedagogical approach, e.g., a theory-led
approach to learning which strongly relies on extrinsic
motivation and a final exam, or a problem-based approach
which relies more on intrinsic motivation, where the
learning process is motivated from observations, involves
collaboration and uses alternative assessment strategies.
Focus

acknowledging different aims
That is the inclusive aims of learning, e.g., whether the
aims of the learning institution dominate or whether the
(presumably different) aims of the learners are taken into
account when shaping the learning program.

Direction

instructor-directed vs. autonomous or learner-directed
learning
That is the status of the learners, e.g., whether they are
seen as equal partners in the ongoing learning process or
not.

According to Sharpe, Benfield et al. (2006), the first three dimensions listed in the table are
consistent with the remarkable employment of the terminology in relation to the
implementation of technology based learning as a means of facilitating distance and faceto-face modes of learning. Face to face and distance education combination is marked in
the delivery dimension of blended learning. There are plenty of web based technologies in
the technology dimension of blended learning which emphasize the use of online
technologies to enhance learning. The chronology dimension focuses on the application of
combining synchronous and asynchronous forms. Being considered from a historic view,
this is the combination of face-to-face sessions (synchronous) and conventional
correspondence (asynchronous) sessions.


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2.2.3 Models of blended learning

Osguthorpe and Graham (2003) state that the blended learning experience has a common
form of instructional design which owes the combination of online learning and traditional
learning in classroom. The goal of this instructional curriculum model is to “…maximize
the benefits of both face to face and online methods using the Web for what it does best
and using class time for what it does best” (Osguthorpe & Graham, 2003).

In blended learning, instruction is allowed to exist in the offline class as well as online or
virtual class. The online component becomes a natural extension of traditional classroom
learning (Mupinga, 2007). As a result, blended learning creates a more exciting and
meaningful learning experience than either traditional or online environment (Martyn,
2003). In the view of course designing, according to Rovai and Jordan (2004), face to face
and online instruction can work at any ratio in the hybrid course. Rather, 70% face to face
time and 30% online interaction is more effective. They also give the best sample of hybrid
model which contains a beginning face to face meeting, weekly online assignments and
asynchronous discussions, and a final face to face meeting, with either a final examination
or an opportunity to allow student complete evaluation forms for the learning experience.

Brookfield and Preskill (2005) state that applying extension discussions to the online
environment is possible. The questions currently made link prior learning of the classroom.
It is necessary for the instructor to create a forum in which the questions and responses from
each other and prior learning are linked. According to them, the best way to help students
practice effectively is to present questions motivating conversation among students at the
same time. Through this method, students themselves can recognize that this is a
collaborative learning process where everyone offers their valuable responses and learns
from. Using the learning experiences from the face to face environment and from assigned
readings, the asynchronous learning environment of the hybrid model can encourage
students to integrate what was learned in the face to face environment with the online
discussions of other assignments, activities, or questions posed by the instructor.


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