Different Students – Different Ways: Challenges of Integrating Non-traditional Students in Higher Education and How Electronic Learning Can Support Inclusion

  • Verena Jahn
  • Linda Heise
  • André Schneider
  • Susanne Günther
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10296)


The inclusion of non-traditional learners is an important challenge of higher education institutions. The paper presents a research project of Mittweida University of Applied Science Mittweida which investigated the special needs and challenges of two non-traditional student groups, student top athletes and part-time students with professional background. The paper will first present the results of a qualitative study with student top-athletes and students with professional background in order to analyze the conditions and challenges of their study programs and additional commitments. Non-traditional students were asked about their learning requirements and resulting challenges as well as their media literacy and attitude towards electronic learning. Organizational, social and didactic challenges were identified. Based on the results a blended learning design – the flipped classroom approach – is introduced. This approach has been implemented and tested within the framework of a class in scientific writing. Evaluation results show evidence that the developed approach met the needs of non-traditional students and supported inclusion.


Higher education Inclusion Non-traditional students Blended learning Flipped classroom Qualitative study 


  1. 1.
    Abeysekera, L., Dawson, P.: Motivation and cognitive load in the flipped classroom: definition, rationale and a call for research. High. Educ. Res. Dev. 34(1), 1–14 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Chickering, A.W., Gamson Z.F.: Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. AAHE Bull. 39, 3–7 (1987). Accessed
  3. 3.
    Cooner, T.S.: Creating opportunities for students in large cohorts to reflect in and on practice: lessons learnt from a formative evaluation of students’ experiences of a technology-enhanced blended learning design. Br. J. Educ. Technol. 41(2), 271–286 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    De George-Walker, L., Keeffe, M.: Self-determined blended learning: a case study of blended learning design. High. Educ. Res. Dev. 29(1), 1–13 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Demoulin, D.F.: A student’s credibility and personal development are essential elements for college success. Coll. Student J. 36(3), 373 (2002)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Friesen, N.: Report: defining blended learning (2012). 21 February 2017
  7. 7.
    Garrison, D.R., Kanuka, H.: Blended learning: uncovering its transformative potential in higher education. Internet High. Educ. 7, 95–105 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Georgieff, P.: Zielgruppenorientiertes eLearning – ein Angebot auch für ältere Menschen? In: Kimpeler, S., Mangold, M., Schweiger, W. (Hrsg.): Die digitale Herausforderung. Zehn Jahre Forschung zur computervermittelten Kommunikation, S. 135–146. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden (2007)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Goodwin, B., Miller, K.: Evidence on flipped classroom is still coming in. Educ. Leadersh. 70(6), 78–80 (2013)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hicks, M., Reid, I., George, R.: Enhancing on-line teaching: designing responsive learning environments. Int. J. Acad. Dev. 6(2), 143–151 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    King, A.: From sage on the stage to guide on the side. Coll. Teach. 41(1), 30–35 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Koop, B., Mandl, H.: Blended learning: forschungsfragen und perspektiven (blended learning: research questions and perspectives). In: Klimsa, P., Issing, L.J. (eds.) Online Lernen – Handbuch für Wissenschaft und Praxis, 2nd edn, pp. 139–150. Walter de Gruyter, Munich (2011)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Lim, D.H., Morris, M.L.: Learner and instructional factors influencing learning outcomes within a blended learning environment. Educ. Technol. Soc. 12(4), 282–293 (2009)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    López-Pérez, M.V., Pérez-López, M.C., Rodriguez-Ariza, L.: Blended learning in higher education: Students’ perceptions and their relation to outcomes. Comput. Educ. 56, 818–826 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Mayring, P.: Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse: Grundlagen und Techniken. 12. überarb. Auflage. Beltz-Verlag, Weinheim and Basel (2015)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Mok, H.N.: Teaching tip: the flipped classroom. J. Inf. Syst. Educ. 25(1), 7–11 (2014)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Tinto, V.: Colleges as communities: taking research on student persistence seriously. Rev. High. Educ. 21(2), 167–177 (1998). Accessed
  18. 18.
    Wang, X.: Stability of educational expectations among baccalaureate aspirants beginning at community colleges. Community Coll. Rev. 49(4), 300–319 (2012). doi: 10.1177/0091552112454914 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Wolniak, G.C., Engberg, M.E.: Academic achievement in the first year of college: evidence of the pervasive effects of the high school context. Res. High. Educ. 51(5), 451–467 (2010). doi: 10.1007/s11162-010-9165-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Verena Jahn
    • 1
  • Linda Heise
    • 1
  • André Schneider
    • 1
  • Susanne Günther
    • 1
  1. 1.Mittweida University of Applied SciencesMittweidaGermany

Personalised recommendations