AbstractThe socioeconomic, demographic, cultural and religious context of Arab region is distinctive in comparison to rest of the world. Gender segregation and restriction of direct communication between men and women form the basis of several limitations for learning and access to resources. Blended Learning (BL), in this context provides for an interesting research problem.
Over the last decade, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has invested significantly in education sector, exclusively on Distance/online Education based universities such as the Saudi Electronic University and the Knowledge International University. Our research is set in this context and broadly aims to assess the current status of BL in KSA and to identify the obstacles and challenges encountered at universities when implementing BL. The perceptions of the students and faculty who participate in BL form the basis of the assessment. The research is conducted by way of a survey of students and faculty from HEI in KSA. Some experts also participate in the survey. An instrument, termed Blended Learning Evaluation Instrument (BLEI) is developed and deployed for purposes of assessing BL components.
The study indicates that BL adoption faces some obstacles in the KSA context and surprisingly, not gender-related! The eco-system necessary for BL is not completely in place. Tight coupling of face-to-face and online content necessary for BL is not in place. There is a clear indication of lack of training for both staff and students in using the Internet and LMS technologies and therefore the tightly couple content. Internet illiteracy is still a problem to increase enrolment.
Both men and women express the need for BL and women find this mode of learning very convenient. Based on the study, a few recommendations are drafted. These recommendations are potential inputs for policy makers in the government of KSA. Similarly, there are valuable inputs for educators, university management and course designers to lay out strategy for BL implementation. It could also serve to provide useful inputs to the other countries in the Arab region, given that they have a similar cultural background and a fairly similar socio-economic ethos.
|Date of Award||Oct 2014|
|Supervisor||Khalid Al-Begain (Supervisor) & Heather Skinner (Supervisor)|