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Recent studies are showing that ‘blended learning’ is more than a mix between face-to-face and online education, or in other words: a mix of traditional and computer-based education. Blended learning seems to include mixtures between eLearning and other ways of learning, where the right choices have to be made in the distribution of learning content, didactical approaches, ways of communicating and characteristics of learning environments, in the perspective of the type of learning process and characteristics of students. This symposium provides evidence from qualitative studies of blended learning in practical situations, drawing on tutors’ and students’ perspectives, contrasted with theoretical ideas. Attention is focused on assessment in blended learning environments and the use of ePortfolios to align learning, teaching and assessment when new educational approaches are implemented. Also, research on the roles and effectiveness of the eTutor in blended learning will be presented, focussing on academic learning and social integration. Furthermore, attention is focussed on blended strategies in problem-based learning by presenting recent case study research on a postgraduate course for academic staff in ‘eLearning design’. Also, a redesign of the initial teacher training curriculum will be presented, offering different routes for groups of students according to their need of flexibility and support. Finally, a framework is offered for determining the quality of reflection reports in a blended learning environment. In sum, the concept of blended learning is studied from the main perspectives according to learning processes: designing a learning process, supporting a learning process and assessing a learning process. The discussant will go into issues like the design, deliverance, support and evaluation of the presented projects, the degree of internal locus of control for the learners, the assessment methods and tutor and student perceptions on interactions.
Reinmann, G., Macdonald, J., Donnelly, R., Fransen, J. & Poldner, E. (2007). Blended learning in Higher Education: theory and praxis. Symposium for EARLI 2007, University of Szeged, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, 28 August-1 September.