The Benefits of Blended Learning in Science Education

The use of blended learning (i.e. learning that integrates face-to-face delivery and online components [Czaplinski et al., 2020]) has shown significant growth in higher education. As cited by Scott (2015), higher education requires innovative transformation to confront challenges such as multicultural integration, dropout rates, and even implementing a flexible and relevant learning process. Not only does blended learning respond to these challenges effectively (Castro, 2019), but the method also addresses the gaps that were posed by traditional learning (i.e. traditional learning requires face-to-face contact, which can be limited to some students).

There has been an increased interest in utilizing mobile technologies in the teaching and learning process. Research by GSMA (2019) showed that 4G coverage increased from 60% (2014) to 90% (2018) and mobile ownership in the Indonesian population has reached two-thirds. As this brings significant opportunities, one prerequisite is to understand the user’s perception of any proposed changes or new technology.

Previous Findings

In science education, blended learning is providing the needed interactivity, progress, as well as other benefits through its many method and tools. One example is that the use of mobile communications and wireless technologies in classrooms enables the communication between learners and teachers anytime and anywhere, allowing blended learning activities to be accomplished in return (Bidarra & Rusman, 2016).

When it comes to blended learning tools, Stockwell et al. (2015) have once conducted a blended-learning trial in science class that uses video assignments in an attempt to stimulate students’ interest. The results from the aforementioned trial said that video-based assignments, combined with in-class problem solving are more effective for science learning compared with the traditional learning approaches—as it can increase attendance alongside satisfaction.

Around the same year, Sharples reported the effective use of a system that supports personal inquiry learning (nQuire). The toolkit was effective when implemented across both formal and informal learning settings while supporting transitions between individual activities, group activities, and whole-class activities. This poses as another example to just how useful a blended learning platform really is.

Blended Learning for Collaborative Learning

Among other things, blended learning also enables collaborative learning (i.e. a learning process in which students work together through interpersonal interactions, active learning, and team cooperation [Liao et al., 2015]). By and large, students possess a positive attitude towards collaborative learning (Zhan et al., 2015), although this depends on many factors.

When collaborative learning is applied within science education, educators can increase students’ motivation and interest in science, as well as getting them actively involved in the learning process (Petrescu et al., 2017).

Besides, blended learning can provide thorough feedbacks as an effort to provide assessments towards the learners’ performance. In a study conducted by Yousef et al. (2015), flexible rubrics in blended MOOCs (bMOOCs) is proven to make the feedback process more accurate, credible, transparent, and reliable. This ensures the assessments’ quality needed to statistically measure students’ growth.

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Bidarra, J., & Rusman, E. (2016). Towards a pedagogical model for science education: bridging educational contexts through a blended learning approach. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 32(1), 6–20. doi:10.1080/02680513.2016.1265442

Castro, R. (2019). Blended learning in higher education: Trends and capabilities. Education and Information Technologies. doi:10.1007/s10639-019-09886-3

Chaplinski, I., Fielding, A. L. (2020). Developing a contextualised blended learning framework to enhance medical physics student learning and engagement. Physica Medica 72. 22-29

Liao, Y. W., Huang, Y. M., Chen, H. C., & Huang, S. H. (2015). Exploring the antecedents of collaborative learning performance over social networking sites in a ubiquitous learning context. Computers in Human Behavior, 43, 313–323.

Petrescu, A.-M.A., Gorghiu, G., Draghiscescu, L. M. (2017). The advantages of collaborative learning in science lessons. Studies and Current Trends in Science of Education (pp 326-333).

Stockwell, B. R., Stockwell, M. S., Cennamo, M., & Jiang, E. (2015). Blended Learning Improves Science Education. Cell, 162(5), 933–936. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2015.08.009

Yousef, A., Wahid U., Chatti, M., Schroeder U., and Wosnitza M. The Effect of Peer Assessment Rubrics on Learners’ Satisfaction and Performance Within a Blended MOOC Environment. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Computer Supported Education (2015), Pages 148-159.

Zhan, Z., Fong, P. S. W., Mei, H., & Liang, T. (2015). Effects of gender grouping on students’ group performance, individual achievements and attitudes in computer-supported collaborative learning. Computers in Human Behavior, 48, 587–596.

Lintang Tiara

Lintang Tiara