Factors that affect the embedding of blended learning and how they vary across organisational levels within an English Further Education College
Date: 30 November 2020
University of Exeter
Doctorate in Education
This thesis builds on and contributes to work in the field of adoption of blended learning (BL) within the context of the English Further Education (FE) sector. The research, a single-site case study guided by grounded theory, aimed to identify the key drivers and barriers to BL adoption within one English FE College from the viewpoints ...
This thesis builds on and contributes to work in the field of adoption of blended learning (BL) within the context of the English Further Education (FE) sector. The research, a single-site case study guided by grounded theory, aimed to identify the key drivers and barriers to BL adoption within one English FE College from the viewpoints of policy makers, managers and teachers then compare them, with the goal of identifying where they differed and the impact this has on BL implementation. Although other recent studies (e.g. Armstrong, 2019; Paulson and Campbell, 2018) have examined the barriers and drivers for BL adoption within educational institutions, very few have focused on FE and to my knowledge none have attempted a qualitative, multiple-perspective comparison. As such, this study provides valuable insight into the underdeveloped literature base of FE and introduces the concept of research into the interplay between different viewpoints in relation to perceived barriers and drivers for BL integration into the curriculum. Through document analysis and interviews, I discovered there are some fundamental differences in the barriers and drivers perceived by the different groups. These differences had created a lack of clarity of vision in relation to eLearning goals and implementation. Furthermore, the programs and resources produced by policy makers did not match the collaborative, social environments favoured by teachers and managers to develop and implement eLearning programmes. Findings correlate with those of social learning theorists such as Vygotsky (1980) and Bruner (1991), suggesting that social interaction and collaboration was one of the most important drivers of successful eLearning adoption. Finally, whilst successful leadership and management of the change process was key for an holistic approach to BL adoption, findings suggested that, as indicated in Rogers’ (1995) Diffusion of Innovation model, early adopters of technology within departments who promoted sharing of practice were able to successfully drive eLearning adoption within their departments from the bottom up.
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