Towards an optimal blended learning model during disrupted education periods
Keywords:Online Learning, Blended Learning, Constructivism, COVID-19 Pandemic, Learner Autonomy
This paper studies the application of online and blended learning models in the Arab learning settings to compensate the closures of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) including colleges and universities worldwide following the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. The academic and educational institutions introduced online learning as an immediate alternative to complete academic semesters by offering courses via distance learning modes. However, the review of relevant literature, surveys, and studies showed that complete online learning does not bring the optimal results in the Arab learning settings at least. Surveys conducted in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and other contexts revealed that complete online learning proved insufficient from the viewpoint of students, parents, and educators. Blended Learning Models (BLMs) are presented as a midway between full face-to-face and online instruction modalities. This study examines the different types and models of blended learning and how it is perceived by students in the Arab learning contexts. This review aims to set the features of developing an optimal model of blended learning and how it can be presented in the Arab learning settings, given the nature of the Arab students who believe that the role of a more knowledgeable individual like an instructor is necessary to facilitate acquisition and construction of knowledge. This study provides insights and pedagogical implications into how to apply an effective blended learning model to reinforce knowledge construction during disrupted education periods.
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