Publication Details

Khan, Z. Reza., Huda, N. & Mulani, V. 2015, 'Barriers and solutions to adopting blended‐learning in private schools for students from low‐income families', in H. Malkawi & S. S. Choudhry (eds), e-Learning Excellence: Innovation Arabia, Hamdan bin Mohammad Rashid Smart University, Dubai, UAE, pp. 472-494. 2015


Statement of Problem: Blended learning is the integration of educational information communication technologies with traditional face-to-face teaching (Colis & Moonen, 2001). In the twenty-first century, with the new generation of digital native students, adopting blended learning to enhance student learning experience is no longer a question, but a given. But, are all schools able to integrate blended learning into their teaching and learning environments and prepare their students with the necessary digital skills desired by higher education institutions and employers alike? What are the barriers to adopting blended learning by schools that cater to students from medium-low wage households? Significance and relevance of work:: The pilot study is carried out on one private school that caters to students from medium to minimum-low wage households in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. United Arab Emirates is very diligent and conscientious towards educational improvements in the country. The nation's 2021 vision aims to improve the nation's education sector to become competitive not just in the region, but in the world (National Qualifications Authority, 2013). The Emirate Dubai's Ruler, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum always encourages advances in education and the role of information communication technology in boosting education (Arabian Business, 2014). The government has initiated many projects geared to support the public schools and implement technology for the benefit of the students. However, this research is very timely because it focuses on the private schools in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, particularly those schools that cater to students from medium to low income households. The findings of this study are expected to be beneficial to the following stakeholders:  Private schools  Teachers  Parents Governing bodies Description of research method: As this is the phase one of the pilot study, a mixed-method approach has been used in order to fulfill the requirements of the phase. Existing literature has been analyzed to understand the barriers to blended learning. Then, a qualitative exploratory case study design has been adopted through structured 5-point Likert scale surveys and semi-structured and informal interviews and focus groups with the chosen private school in Dubai to understand the barriers faced by private schools that cater to students from medium-low income households and teachers' perceptions of blended learning and the process of adoption of blended learning in their school (McMillan & Schumacher, 2010; Maree, 2010). Results: This paper reports the findings of the phase one of the pilot study being carried out in the United Arab Emirates to understand the barriers to adopting blended learning in schools, particularly the lack of funds to acquire information communication technology tools and facilitating training for teachers to help them integrate blended learning with the traditional classroom teaching. More specifically, the report highlights the difficulty faced by the schools that attract students from medium to low-minimum wage households and offer education at a low-fee structure. With a focus on one such school, the report offers insight into the current system of inspections in Dubai, the fastest growing Emirate of United Arab Emirates, that lead to ratings which decide on increments of fees, thereby further placing such schools in deeper predicament. Conclusions: The paper concludes with recommendations based on further review of literature towards a possible solution to help these schools adopt blended learning through collaboration of schools, parents and community, using a proposed Triad Stakeholder Model and paves way for phase two of the pilot study, that of validating the effectiveness of the proposed model.