Friday, January 16, 2015

Online vs. Blended Learning: an empirical study

Alfredo Imbellone
Link Campus University
Rome - Italy

I would like to focus attention to a recent study by Doo Hun Lim, Michael L. Morris, and Virginia W. Kupritz (University of Tennessee), titled “Online vs. Blended Learning: Differences in Instructional Outcomes and Learner Satisfaction”. The paper is available online ( and I will give here just a short summary about its main findings.

This study investigates similarities and differences in instructional and learner factors between online only and blended learning delivery formats. The analysis was conducted with a sample of undergraduate students in a college setting, and findings indicate that no significant differences existed in learning outcomes; however, significant differences existed in several instructional and learner factors between the two delivery methods

The research questions for this study asked:
  • Do learners in online and blended delivery format show significant differences in learning and learning application before and after the course?
  • What are the perceived differences in instructional satisfaction, learning, and application of learning between the learners in blended and online delivery format?
  • What are the reasons facilitating or inhibiting the learners’ learning and learning application in blended and online delivery group?


What emerged as substantially similar for the two delivery methods was that both groups of learners experienced a significant increase in perceived and actual learning. The most influential reasons supporting and hindering learning and application were identified in “clear and concise learning content”. Regarding the reasons for low perceived learning, instructional ineffectiveness was also found to be the most important category negatively influencing the learners’ learning as a whole. Learners in both groups indicated similar responses regarding the instructional activities perceived as helpful for learning. Among all instructional activities used for the course, learners in both groups perceived group/individual projects as the most important learning activity followed by discussion activities, class assignments, review/pre/post tests, case studies, multimedia cases and scenarios, lecture, and online learning modules.


On the contrary, differences emerged in instructional and learner factors. Learners in the online delivery format had a significantly higher mean score for instructional difficulty level than those in blended delivery format. They also experienced significantly higher workload for their study, and felt significantly less learning support during study. They also provided relatively more claims for their lack of understanding as their reasons for low learning than the blended delivery learner group.

The blended delivery format seems to provide clearer instructions to learners rather than using the online delivery format alone. Review and repetition of learning was identified more frequently by the blended learner group as a supporting learning factor. Learners in the blended delivery group responded more frequently to use learning during class activities, assignments, and for other classes or personal situations than the learners in online delivery group.

No comments:

Post a Comment