Date Approved

2010

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

Ronald Williamson, Ed.D., Chair

Committee Member

James Berry, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Barbara Bleyaert, Ed.D.

Abstract

Blended learning instruction is emerging as one of the most promising instructional practices in educational settings. Blended learning instruction combines two learning environments: traditional face-to-face instruction and online instruction.

Most research concerning blended instruction has been conducted at the postsecondary level. This study was conducted at the high school level and examined the implementation of blended instruction in a high school setting. It explored and considered the perspective of teachers and students as they experienced the blended environment for the first time. The study was conducted at two comprehensive high schools in West Michigan. The study collected qualitative data by using multiple data points. The data came from focused interviews with teachers, teacher narrative writing statements, student surveys, online course interaction, direct observation, and the grade distribution of students enrolled in the blended courses. The data were collected over two trimesters during the 2009-2010 academic school year.

The results of this study indicated several important findings that should be considered while implementing the blended instructional model at the high school level. Results showed that it was critical for each high school to have a vision and purpose for adopting the blended approach. This had important implications for the type of blending each school would adopt and practice. Interaction between students and teachers was different than students experienced in the traditional face-to-face classroom setting. Teachers were able to provide more individualized instruction, and students felt that their peers should have an opportunity to learn in a blended setting. Yet it was critical that teachers were adequately prepared for the rigors of teaching that were different in the blended setting. Significant time and training were needed prior to implementation of blended instruction. Results also indicated that teachers needed support after initial training to reflect and deal with the different working conditions they faced in the blended classroom setting.

While blended instruction has the potential to fundamentally redraw the instructional setting of future high school classrooms, it remains critically important that blended teachers’ instructional strategies and lesson designs are the foundation for engaging students in meaningful and relevant learning experiences.

Comments

Additional committee member: Byron Bond, Ph.D.

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