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Blended learning

Blended learning
I. Introduction:
In these days, we have been accustomed to the term “ blended or hybrid learning” in
pedagogical contexts. Specifically, in 2012, Dahlstrom and Elen published a report where
they illustrated approximately three-quarters of students primarily got involved in BL
environments instead of traditional and electronic learning. According to Dziuban, Hartman,
and Mehaffy (2014, 328), “ blended learning is a transformational forcein education”. This
assignment would provide readers with fundamental literature reviews, previous research in a
specific context (Vietnam) and meaningful suggestions related to blended learning.
II. Literature review:
1. Definition:
In fact, there have been various definitions of Blended learning (BL), however, I saw the
following descriptions as the most sufficient and appropriate. Oliver and Trigwell (2015)
identified BL as the simultaneous use of traditional and web-based methods. As particularly
presented by Picciano (2009), BL represented a well- organized learning plan with
intentional allocation for both physical interaction and distance instructions. In fact, no
matter what the definitions are, hybrid learning has no longer existed without offline and
online practices.
2. History background of BL:
Generally, the establishment and development of blended learning has been divided into the
two main period: (2000-2005) and (2006-2014). During the first period, Guzer and Caner
(2014) found that BL has been officially formed in 2000. For example, surveys such as that
conducted by Adair-Hauck, Willingham-Mclain, and Youngs (2000) have shown that how
learners derived substantial benefits from significantly improved French courses at Carnegie
Mellon University in CALICO journal article. In this study, researchers illustrated that BL
provided students with clear and brief guidence and filled them with enjoyment. However,
both teachers and students sometimes might sufferred from unavoidable technical issues.
Notwithstanding obtaining certain achievements, definitions and instructions related hybrid
learning were mainly evaluated based on a unstandardized theoretical system.
BL or hybrid learning enjoyed a significant development for the next 5 years. Some crucial
words in technological and pedagogical environment was strongly analyzed such as CALL,
integration and transition. To be more specific, the studies illustrated how a variety of useful
tools were effectively utilized in blended contexts. In his research on just forum, Barragan
(2009) suggested that with the participation of language learners in writing reflections and
peer discussion was beneficial to writing skill and autonomous learning. Beside, Sagarra and
Zapata (2008) invited their students to experience electronic workbooks with numerous
activities namely grammar, vocabulary, listening and reading. After the research, participants
gave much possitve feedback on their practical performance. Despite reading and vocabulary
scores stayed unchanged, grammar scores significantly increased due to the fact that, students
were significantly fulfilled with encouragement in doing tasks, individual learning space, and
prompt comments provided by their friends. Similarity, Szadziewska and Kujawski, (2016)
found that it was straightforward for language learners to approach learning materials and
connect with their teachers. However, language learners still sufferred from many drawbacks
among which the lacking of motivation and discipline was seen as the typical examples.
III. Discussion in Vietnamese context:
1. BL in Vietnamese context:
Granted, technological advancement in Vietnam has been constantly improved thanks to the
economic integration. According to Ambient Insight (2004), Vietnam was predicted to
witness a significant upward trend in the implimentation of various categories of e- learning.
Especially, the government viewed Blended learning as one of the most potential methods
that is beneficial to learners. However, this innovative approach has not been widely applied
utilized yet and has only focused on higher education courses. Due to having full-time jobs,
learners are able to balance their studying and working through the combination of traditional
and web-based classes. In reality, despite typical studies on BL including (Vu et al., 2011;
Huynh and Le Thi, 2014; Nguyen et al., 2014), it is extremely essential for Vietnamese
educators to conduct a variety of in-depth research on this promising potential procedure.
These are the two following studies that I consider as the most outstanding.
2. Finding from the previous studies:
2.1 Study 1: The study has been conducted by Hoang., Huynh., Huynh (2019) at Can Tho
University with 165 participants in English course. During their semesters, the students
would be given a chance to experience in BL environment and gave feedback on the course
via questionnaire. In terms of advantages, organizing e-learning lessons significantly increase
student engagement in face-to-face classes. Additionally, students could not only decrease
heavy workload but also are motivated to outside activities thanks to using a discussion
forum where they could easily receive immediate and interesting answer from both teachers
and classmates. Nevertheless, technical issues consist of computer manipulation and unstable
Internet connection have been frequently mentioned. Particularly, some students find using
the e-learning platform slow and complicated while logging and editing. In addition to the
aforementioned problem, without direct and regular supervision of instructors, participants
tend to underestimate the importance of online tasks, which results in ineffective learning
2.2 Study 2:
In the next research, I also consider the study of Vu (2014) as one of the most meaningful
and practical ones. To be more specific, this case study was carried out at Ha Noi Open
University with the participation of 13 students at higher education. They were asked to take
part in the four different courses through a mutual platform called LMS (Learning
Management System). Due to not being completely e-learning courses, online and offine
components were didivied into the following rates: 80% and 20%, respectively. During the
courses, learners saw studying through LMS as advantageous due to its flexible time
management. This is because most of the learners were full-time white-collar workers,
therefore, LMS enabled them to enjoy learning at any time and place. Despite having less
time on face-to-face classes, they still found it communicative thanks to sharing knowledge
and information in the same forum (Discussion). Additionally, they was given a chance to
experience in using new technology with different interesting functions. More importantly,
this course was officially acknowledged by Hanoi Open University, considerably increasing
the reliability of the given courses. However, traditional interaction between teachers and
students was viewed as one of the biggest obstacles. Particularly, although students and
teachers could actively communicate via discussion forum, the lack of direct facial
expressions and physical contact caused misunderstanding while the messages were being
conveyed. Sometimes, students had to experience unstable Internet connection if they were
studying in mountainous areas. Last but not least, due to several subjective factors, learners
would easily get distracted and discouraged if they were not able to overcome laziness and
IV. Recomendation and Conclusion:
After reading some studies with a number of practical findings, I would like to make
suggestions for better BL implimentation in Vietnam. The very first issue has been technical
problems , therefore, giving students clear and simple instructions is a prerequisite for
assissting them in the e-learning courses. In reality, we have been familiar with the use of
BL, however, it should be more authorized and widely applied in different pedagogical
levels. This means policy markers should more concentrate on developing the BL system to
fullfil the needs of every levels not only higher education. In terms of the accreditation, BL
programes must be acknowledged by the university, for example, Hanoi Open University
has accredited their hybrid learning courses on the official website. Therefore, this could
build mutual trust among the organizations and participants. Honestly, I am interested in the
use of BL during my teaching and learning practices. I have also encountered some
intractable problems regarding students, among which plagarism and indiscipline in
handling given tasks on LMS. However, I have relatively been sucessful in overcoming
these obstacles. Hopefully, these following advice would be advantageous for individuals
facing the same difficulties. The former one used to be my nightmare until I propose using
Turnitin website with the faculty of English to guarantee the quality of their writing tasks no
matter how short or long they are. Hence, every student would be officially provided an
account and have to submit their work before uploading to the LMS. More importantly,
besides deligent students, some suffer from demotivation because of distance learning. In
these situations, fostering learner autonomy in the traditional classes has been extremely
vital. Accordingly, teachers necessarily differentiate learners through factors such as
genders, hobbies, demands and traits in offline classes. This would enable teachers to
comprehend students’ needs besides teaching only. Undeniably, it is difficult to measure
how successfully teachers raise their awareness of learning through BL courses, however,
teachers must be patient and dedicated in simplifying online instructions and promoting selfdirected learing.
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