An andragogical approach to blended learning at the university graduate level

Based on the principles of Malcom Knowles, the focus of this paper will be to address the andragogical principles and process of adult learning in educational blended learning delivery modes specifically in graduate education at universities in the United States. Elements of the process to be addressed are climate conducive to adult learning, organizational structure for participative and self-directed learning, objectives and directions of learning, design of curriculum and activities, and the evaluation of outcomes of the programs. An examination of adult learning theory and the evolutionary regard to blended learning will be introduced and then substantiated by the various approaches to blended learning as underpinned by adult learning theory, a variety of theorists’ philosophies on distance learning, and a synthesis of these aspects to capture where we are today in relation to approached universities use in developing and implementing a blended learning curriculum.

Blended learning can be considered both evolutionary and revolutionary. While the basic construct of hybrid learning is not new, the implementation can be considered disruptive innovation. There has been both hype and hope about blended learning at the university level. The keys to success in blended learning will be addressed, which include connecting online and face-to-face learning to deliver deeper learning, guiding self-directed learning, making learning relevant to real-life tasks and situations, creating holistic approaches to learning rather than subject matter learning. The hope of blended learning is engaging students in the learning process and empowering students through technology bringing greater diversity in learning context and improving communication between faculty and students. Blended learning needs to move beyond the hype of the “flipped classroom” to develop its untapped potential to optimize the learning process, create collaborative learning and produce positive learning outcomes.

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