Student experience


Educators constantly need to make adjustments to their pedagogy and learning activities to reflect the fast changes in society, the economy and industry. This has been clearly demonstrated throughout the world in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic required fully remote delivery of tertiary education. The aim of this study was comparing the experiences and perceptions of tertiary students in a fully online and a blended delivery mode, particularly in response to their laboratory skills and development of graduate attributes. Pedagogical aspects were kept consistent across delivery modes to minimise the differences in learning activities across cohorts. A comparison was made between the 2020 fully online cohort and the 2021 blended delivery cohort. The students were asked about their perceptions of how well they thought the course developed their graduate attributes; how authentic they thought the course was; and how easy the content was to navigate and understand. A mixed methods approach was used, where both quantitative and qualitative data was gathered. The blended delivery mode students appeared to benefit from having a specific reflective task, which allowed them to see their learning in a broader context. The paper discusses the blending and online learning from the students’ perspectives of developing graduate attributes and experiential learning. Specifically, where hands on skills are required, students need further guidance in “learning how to learn” or metacognition. A key challenge for future blended learning is getting the balance right between achieving efficiency in online learning and lack of social and dynamic interactions aspect of the online community.

Practitioner Notes

  1. This study focused on strengthening the blended learning for students to undertaking engineering education at university level.
  2. The findings also examined pedagogy and the used of technology in blended learning environment.
  3. It is important to recognise blended learning is not just about the educational tasks at hand, but also maximising the social relationship among students as they work collaboratively on the learning tasks.
  4. Successful blended learning requires achieving a balance between the technical efficiency in online learning and the social capital gained in face-to-face learning.
  5. A key challenge in any blended and online learning environment is the importance of supporting students’ psychological well-being.