The development of a framework for blended learning in the delivery of Library and Information Science curricula at South African universities
MetadataShow full item record
The core interest in blended learning lies in the need to provide more engaged learning experiences while recognizing the potential of ICTs which has a profound impact on all aspects of life including the Library and Information Service (LIS) field. This doctoral study was undertaken with the objective of exploring the educational and pedagogical issues in blended learning for the development of a framework for designing and implementing blended learning in the delivery of LIS curricula in South African universities. The target populations for this study included, LIS educators from higher education institutions in South Africa offering LIS education, LIS students from these institutions exposed to blended learning interventions and facilitators of blended learning (individuals in institutional teaching and learning units) from the various institutions offering LIS education and using blended learning. The study adopted a mixed method research approach using a fully mixed dominant status design to explore and understand the phenomenon of blended learning at a more detailed level by using qualitative follow-up data (for example, interviews with LIS educators and institutional facilitators of blended learning and focus group discussions with LIS students) to explain and explore the results of a largely quantitative Web survey. The theoretical framework that underpinned the study involved various learning theories, learning styles as well as blended learning models relating to the higher education environment. The key findings of the study reveal that blended learning remains a complex concept with no clear consensus on the key components that need to be blended, how much of each component to blend and the criteria that are needed for the interventions to be regarded as blended learning. This flexibility, to an extent, allows for institutions to tailor the concept and maximise the potential of blended learning while still being responsive to the diverse student populations at South African higher institutions. The framework for blended learning in the delivery of LIS curricula at South African universities proposed by this study is generated from the theories informing this study; the literature reviewed; existing frameworks for blended learning such as Khan’s octagonal framework and the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework; the findings of this study; the researcher’s own educational experiences; and, is grounded in the larger field of higher education. The use of blended learning has the potential to transform LIS education and training by encouraging LIS educators to reflect on their teaching and learning practices and to use the proposed framework as a guideline to design and implement pedagogically sound blended learning interventions for LIS education and training.