Blended learning, and Open and Distance Learning:  implications for the best practice in higher education

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 4
  • Abstract:

    The provision of higher education in South Africa and in many parts of the world is challenged by the enrolment of large numbers of students, many of whom cannot attend classes or afford conventional face-to-face tuition. This has forced institutions of higher education to resort to various forms of non-traditional teaching and learning, among others, open distance learning and blended learning. In South Africa, as elsewhere, official government policy provides for approaches that make extensive use of teaching technologies. This article highlights two problems in connection with blended learning as such and attempts to address both. The first is the fact that, in view of the dynamic and fluid nature of the field, ‘blended learning’ cannot be defined conclusively, and the other is that ‘best practice’ has not been examined in connection with blended learning. After offering a working definition of blended learning, the authors unpack what they think has to be discovered in an effort to describe best practice in blended learning. The discussion forms the background for the findings regarding best practice in open distance learning and blended learning proffered in the ten research articles in this journal. In the process, authors outline certain implications of distance learning and blended learning for the practice of higher education.