Academic Development Perspectives of Blended Learning
Published in Blended Environments for Adults: Evaluations and Frameworks. (2011)
Technological advances in every aspect of today’s higher education environment create a forum for academic developers to re-examine existing delivery methods for professional development. Within the context of this case study, the term ‘academic developer’ is taken to encompass the role of learning technologist. In order to be responsive and accommodate the changes, traditional instruction methods are being extended to encompass the range of Web 2.0 tools available. Debate is ongoing in the area of blended learning as to the ultimate effectiveness of technology integration. Through exploration of the experiences of two academic developers involved in the design and delivery of accredited professional development programmes for academic staff in Ireland, the case is made for an effective balance in pedagogical and technological intervention. Both were experienced in delivery face-to-face instruction, had different levels of experience in online teaching and work collaboratively with academic staff. Experience from the two case studies suggests that a prerequisite for embedding blended learning strategies in learning and teaching is that the instructors recognise the need for appropriate holistic academic development to provide them with not only an understanding of how best to use the technologies, but fundamentally for enhancing their understanding of how to develop effective blended learning environments.