Each individual has different learning methods compared among the rest; in relation to their preference (Honey and Mumford, 1996). Therefore, the teaching-and-learning environments must be adapted to respond effectively. Yes, the traditional classroom lecture is acceptable to communicate basic information, but the students will suffer a consequent lack of experience to understand abstract theories (Zhang et al., 2013). Different teaching methods are required and according to Poon (2013), this will inevitably improve the students’ learning experience.
While interest in alternative teaching methods such as multimedia, e-learning, experimentation, and so on are climbing amongst higher education, several studies consider the use of several learning approaches combined (Zhang et al., 2014)―better known as Blended Learning. This method effectively combines classroom lectures, e-learning, and other tools of learning and teaching into a unified method of approach―capitalizing each of the methods’ advantages.
Where blended learning comes into play
In a study conducted by Poon (2013), it’s stated that blended learning is offering a transformative potential—providing institutions the opportunity to embrace technology. Blended learning shifts the focus from “teaching” to “learning”, enabling students to become more involved and more motivated. As a result, this enhances students’ commitment (Donnely, 2010).
Osguthorpe and Graham (2003) argued that the goal of using a blended approach in classrooms is to find a harmonious balance between online access to knowledge and face-to-face human interaction. In Property Education however—which are vocational, a blended learning approach can be a suitable teaching and learning method (Poon, 2013).
Property Education cannot rely on traditional learning experience alone because according to Zhang (2013), students will still get knowledge of what’s required to develop a complex structure, but the entire process of real estate development remains unregarded. As a result, graduates cannot truly relate to theory to practice (Callanan and McCarthy, 2003).
Several researches have underlined the importance of blended learning, as it can provide simulated learning experience to students of Property Education (Poon, 2012). Boyd (2010) believes that property academics should explore how to best incorporate blended learning into programs to enhance students’ engagement given that the methods offer more support and flexibilities. In her 2013 study which examines the use of a blended learning approach to teach economics to property and construction, Poon discovered that the teaching team found the module is more suitable, as it provides greater emphasis to the application of economics to explain the property market.
However, according to Poon herself in 2013, there is still a lack of research which investigates the lessons learnt by academics, especially those which investigate students’ interaction with the blended learning environment. Bliuc et al. (2007) also suggested that research on blended learning needs to be on guard to issues on integration, and should focus on achieving an improved working knowledge on how to aid students with various learning experiences.
Then again, more and more property programs in Australia are delivering online courses to cater to students of diverse backgrounds (e.g. part-time students, as well as students who find it difficult to access traditional face-to-face learning) (Yam et al., 2012). As of now, the method is a widely used teaching and learning approach in Property Education, e.g. in the MSc in Real Estate Investment and Management offered jointly by the Nottingham Trent University and Sheffield Hallam University. Not to mention, the method has reached locations in Central and Eastern Europe (Poon, 2012). The method is also present in Australia’s property courses, such as the ones delivered in Deakin University (Poon, 2014).
Blended learning opportunities property education
In the case which portrays seven challenges of public housing in Hong Kong—as studied by Deng et al. (2014), blended learning can be applied as a method to achieve a better understanding for students studying Property Education. Squatter hazard, social unrest, shortage of land supply, shift in living pattern, shift in demands, shift in demography, as well as the 2003 SARS outbreak are among the challenges imposed by Hong Kong (2014).
As studied by Poon (2014), podcast videos on property courses is a more interactively-simulated delivery method for learners, especially for off-campus students. Having them exposed to research media, as well as having them portray the aforementioned challenges publicly—by conducting video interviews with the said squatter residence for instance, will allow a new level of comprehension and cognizance amongst present students.
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Bliuc, A.M., Goodyear, P. and Ellis, R.A. (2007), “Research focus and methodological choices in studies into students’ experiences of blended learning in higher education”, Internet and Higher Education, Vol. 10, pp. 231-44.
Boyd, T 2010, ‘Are we exemplars for the property profession?’, Pacific Rim Property Research Journal, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 126-140
Callanan, J.and McCarthy. Property Education in New Zealand: Industry Requirements and Student Perceptions. Journal of Real Estate Practice and Education, 2003, 6:1,23–32.
Deng, Y., Chan, E. H. W., and Poon, S. W. (2014) Challenge-driven design for public housing: The case of Hong Kong. Frontiers of Architectural Research (2016)5, 213-224.
Donnelly, R. (2010), “Harmonizing technology with interaction in blended problem-based learning”, Computers and Education, Vol. 54 No. 2, pp. 350-359.
Honey, P. and Mumford, A. (1986a) The Manual of Learning Styles, Peter Honey Associates.
Osguthorpe, R., and C. Graham, Blended Learning Environments: Definitions and Directions, Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 2003,4:3,227–33.
Poon, J. (2012). Use of blended learning to enhance the student learning experience and engagement in property education. Property Management, 30(2), 129–156. doi:10.1108/02637471211213398
Poon, J. (2013). An examination of a blended learning approach in the teaching of economics to property and construction students. Property Management, 31(1), 39–54. doi:10.1108/02637471311295405
Poon, J. (2014). A cross-country comparison on the use of blended learning in property education. Property Management, 32(2), 154–175. doi:10.1108/pm-04-2013-0027
Sharon Yam & Rossini Peter (2012) Online Learning and Blended Learning: Experience from a First-Year Undergraduate Property Valuation Course, Pacific Rim Property Research Journal, 18:2, 129-148, DOI: 10.1080/14445921.2012.11104355
Zhang, Y., Zhang, H., & Seiler, M. J. (2014). Integrating lectures and experiments in the teaching of real estate investments: A blended learning approach.Journal of Real Estate Practice and Education 17(1). 31-52