Short Research Report

Is blended learning the way forward? Students’ perceptions and attitudes at a South African university

N B Khan, T Erasmus, N Jali, P Mthiyane, S Ronne

Abstract


Background. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced higher education institutions to rethink delivery of education. Blended learning (BL), particularly online/eLearning, has become the life support for continued education. BL is a pedagogical approach that combines online asynchronous and/or synchronous and face-to-face (F2F) interaction between lecturers and students, enabling learning to occur independently of time or place. Perceptions and attitudes of students towards BL are important predictors of success.

Objective. To determine the attitudes and perceptions of audiology and speech-language pathology students towards BL at the University of KwaZulu- Natal (UKZN), Durban, South Africa.
Methods. A descriptive survey design with quantitative methods of analysis was used. Eighty-six participants completed an online questionnaire through Google forms. The tool demonstrated good internal consistency, with a Cronbach α score of 0.82.

Results. Most participants agreed that combining traditional and eLearning – BL – improves learning skills and enables more student involvement in learning. Comparisons between attitudes and year of study yielded a statistically significant association, with senior students having a more positive attitude towards BL than second-year students (p=0.003). Attitudes between male and female participants were generally similar; however, females felt that BL helped them to understand lecture material better and to increase interaction (statistically significant; p=0.021). While 93% perceived the online platform, Moodle, which is used by UKZN, as being useful, only 51% indicated that it improved efficiency of learning to a great extent.

Conclusion. Despite the challenges around connectivity, computer illiteracy, system and technical problems, students concluded that BL enhanced the learning experience and fostered a student-centred approach to teaching and learning.


Authors' affiliations

N B Khan, Discipline of Audiology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

T Erasmus, Discipline of Audiology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

N Jali, Discipline of Audiology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

P Mthiyane, Discipline of Audiology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

S Ronne, Discipline of Audiology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2021;13(4):218. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.2021.v13i4.142

Article History

Date submitted: 2022-01-28
Date published: 2022-01-28

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