Student transitions to blended learning: an institutional case study

Josephine Adekola, Vicki H.M. Dale, Kerr Gardiner, Moira Fischbacher-Smith

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This paper examines the experiences of students transitioning to blended learning in the University of Glasgow as part of the QAA Enhancement Themes work on Student Transitions. We draw here on exploratory, qualitative research to examine the benefits, challenges and skills developed by students during transitions to blended learning as a means of advancing understanding, and informing future curriculum design. Data from home undergraduate and international postgraduate students were collected over two years through focus groups, individual interviews and end-of-course quality assurance surveys. We found that while home/undergraduate and international/postgraduate students have similar transition experiences, international taught postgraduates encounter additional challenges in terms of acclimatising to UK higher education (HE), especially within shorter programmes of study and where pedagogical and language differences exist. The findings are integrated in a conceptual framework highlighting the importance of access, acculturation (attitudes) and attributes (skills) to enable learner autonomy to engage effectively in blended learning. The findings have implications for institutional infrastructure, curriculum design and learner development. Further research is required to collect a larger data set as a means of developing the study’s conceptual framework, in order to better understand and support diverse student transitions to blended learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-65
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • student transitions
  • blended learning
  • digital education
  • learner experience research
  • case study


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