Propelling Student Engagement in Blended Learning Courses

A study of an English University


  • Alexandra Buchan Canterbury Christ Church University
  • Dr Robin Precey Canterbury Christ Church University



Blended Learning, Student Engagement, Digital Transformation, Educational Leadership, Higher Education


This paper looks at the realities of Blended Learning – a continuing and complex change across education that needs more research in order to develop best practice and maximise student engagement. Using a mixed methods approach, the explanatory factors of the level of student engagement in a respected English Higher Educational Institution are explored. By calculating how many days within the semester the median student accessed the Virtual Learning Environment [VLE] per module [n=562], each is categorised as having ‘High’, ‘Medium’ or ‘Low’ student engagement. The outcomes are supplemented by a thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with Module Leaders. The results suggested that engaging Blended Learning courses have a higher number of formative assessments, more recordings available, are delivered in a way that is best suited for the student cohort (whether that be remote, in-person or hybrid), and have resources on the VLE of a higher quality than quantity. To maximise student engagement, Module Leaders should interweave active learning and didactic teaching in their seminars and lectures, have a high level of enthusiasm for the subject material, and have a strong ability in the educational technology available to them. It can be concluded that in transforming the way Module Leaders build and deliver their Blended Learning courses, we may create a shift towards a higher level of student engagement. There are important lessons here for senior leaders in terms of how they understand Blended Learning, how it relates to their values and vision and what strategies they might use to encourage and plan for best practice.


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