Blended learning in higher education: Trends and capabilities

Abstract

Education is a complex system that requires multiple perspectives and levels of analysis to understand its contexts, dynamics, and actors’ interactions, particularly concerning technological innovations. This paper aims to identify some of the most promising trends in blended learning implementations in higher education, the capabilities provided by the technology (e.g., datafication), and the contexts of use of these capabilities. This literature review selected and analyzed forty-five peer-reviewed journal articles. The findings highlight some common capabilities among digital educational technologies. In particular, digital tools or platforms with human-to-machine interaction capabilities may enhance automated processes for blended learning delivery modes. In this context, digital technologies such as video capsules and intelligent tutoring systems may improve learning-teaching activities. First, by providing access to more students and facilitating self-paced online learning activities. Second, by offering an individual path of learning for each student, thus improving out-of-class activities and feedback. Educational technology capabilities (ETC) provide complementary insights to identify the best approach when aligning learning goals in technology-based implementations. Further research will be required to empirically validate these results.

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Fig. 1

Data availability

The datasets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author (rcastro@icesi.edu.co) on reasonable request.

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Acknowledgments

The author appreciates the helpful comments and suggestions of Xavier Olleros, Majlinda Zhegu, Diego Correa, Oleg Litvinski, and Jose Montes.

Funding

This research was partially funded by the Universidad Icesi (Colombia) and an internal grant received from the University of Québec at Montréal - UQAM (Canada).

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Correspondence to Robin Castro.

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Castro, R. Blended learning in higher education: Trends and capabilities. Educ Inf Technol 24, 2523–2546 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-019-09886-3

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Keywords

  • Blended learning
  • Capabilities
  • Conceptual paper
  • Digital educational technology
  • Higher education
  • Trends