PhD research highly commended for excellence

An article published by VU researchers about the effectiveness of blended learning was awarded a Highly Commended Paper in the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence for 2015.

Recipients of these awards are selected by Emerald’s editorial team and are judged on research excellence, rigour and relevance.

“A Framework for Investigating Blended Learning Effectiveness” was published in Education + Training in 2014 by Dr Lily Wong; Adjunct Associate Professor Arthur Tatnall; and Associate Professor Stephen Burgess, all from VU’s College of Business.

Education + Training is a highly respected international journal and the article was selected as one of the most impressive pieces of work the editorial team had seen throughout 2014.

The article, based on Lily's work in her recently completed PhD, proposes a framework to assess the effectiveness and quality of blended learning (a combination of online and face-to-face teaching) that continues to gain pace in universities around the world.

The value of the paper’s contribution lay in developing a unique framework to assess the impact of blended learning approaches from a viewpoint of student-readiness, intensity of delivery and its impact – all measures used by the OECD to investigate the adoption and use of e-Business technologies.

The research was based on surveys from more than 500 students in a first-year VU accounting unit who were introduced to three new online learning options to complement face-to-face lectures and tutorials.

The research provided a holistic approach to the implementation of blended learning and ensured that its impact is considered during its design, rather than its implementation as an afterthought.

From the perspective of the unit coordinator in the case study, the evaluation provided some insight as to where future efforts need to be directed to improve the quality of the learning experience in the first-year accounting unit. 

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