Advancements in Online/Blended Learning and Teaching: Shifting towards the New Normal

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102). This special issue belongs to the section "Technology Enhanced Education".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 7086

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Education, University of Primorska, Koper 6000, Slovenia
Interests: anthropomorphic robots; artificial intelligence; computer aided instruction; e-learning; education; educational technology; intelligent robots; robotics; social computing; care-receiving robots; classroom settings; co-present; computer mediated communication; humanoid robot; information communication technology; learning materials; teacher; social robots

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

I am inviting you to prepare a manuscript addressing the topic of “Advancements in Online/Blended Learning and Teaching: Shifting towards the New Normal”. Empirical research and review papers are welcome.

With the advent and spread of computers and the Internet, there has been a rise in digital educational technology. Instructional designs and educational technology were supported by the new communication and interaction possibilities offered by digital technology. With the invention of the Internet,  teacher–student interactions, the process of providing student support and feedback and the use of learning resources changed. Computer-supported collaborative learning introduced a variety specialized distance learning and e-learning modes and methods. Integrating interactive multimodal (multimedia) resources enhanced the approaches to learning and student assessment. Artificial intelligence is introducing a rapid shift in educational communication, and consequently, in the students’ and teachers’ attitudes and behaviors. The current educational era is facing safety, ethics and equity issues. Society’s requirements necessitate educational spaces for novel teaching and learning practices. With the rise of the Internet, the notion of literacy expands beyond grammar and arithmetic. There is a need for varied, multimodal skills and competencies.  Writing and literacy utilize various online and offline strategies and activities. The rapid shift to online teaching during the pandemic facilitated changes in higher education. Traditional learning is currently experiencing innovations due to developments in e-learning, distance learning and blended learning. We are facing expansions of the use of online learning resources, which are challenging traditional models.

The aim and scope of the Special Issue are to discuss the issues and  solutions in this area for researchers and practitioners. Integrating technologies has brought about concerns, as well as innovation. Educational systems are introducing curriculum reforms with underlining digital transformations.

The suggested themes are, but not limited to, the following:

  • New educational communication patterns facilitating teaching and learning;
  • Anticipating the future of teaching and learning;
  • Educational technology in the past and the future;
  • Analogue and digital learning environments;
  • Educational, psychological, sociological, information technology and organizational theories influencing education;
  • Teacher education and training for educational technology facing challenges to blending analogue and digital modes;
  • Professional development and career planning utilizing digital resources;
  • New research models and definitions in education;
  • Analyzing communication modes and methods in teaching, learning, feedback and assessment;
  • From computer-supported learning to embodied technology in learning (e. g. social robots);
  • Concerns of digitalization in education.

Prof. Dr. Andreja Istenic
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • educational technology
  • blended learning
  • learning environment
  • preschool education
  • elementary education
  • higher education
  • lifelong learning
  • qualitative methodology
  • quantitative methodology
  • teacher professional development

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 241 KiB  
Article
Schools’ Challenges in Distance Learning during Emergency Education: Focus Group Methodology
by Wajeeh Daher
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(4), 383; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14040383 - 06 Apr 2024
Viewed by 331
Abstract
The present research uses the focus group discussion methodology to report the challenges met by the educational system in distance education during emergency education. It shows the different potentialities of this use. In doing this, it studies the practices used by schools during [...] Read more.
The present research uses the focus group discussion methodology to report the challenges met by the educational system in distance education during emergency education. It shows the different potentialities of this use. In doing this, it studies the practices used by schools during emergency education. Furthermore, the research verifies the suggestions given by a group of educationists to cope with challenges in emergency education. A focus group of nine participants met in the frame of a Ph.D. course to discuss the issues in which the present research is interested, and the number of discussion sessions was four. The research results indicated that the reasons varied for agreement and disagreement in the FGDs, where these reasons were mostly experience-based, perception-based, affiliation-based, inconsideration-based, compromise-based, and suggestion-based. Moreover, the types of agreement and disagreement were mostly complementary, vis-à-vis agreement-with-objection and agreement-with-advancement. The facilitator performed the following different functions: (1) initiator, (2) caring about the different voices in the FGD, and thus encouraging equity in the FGD, (3) making the discussion smooth, (4) advancing the discussion, (5) and orchestrating the discussion. In addition, the discussion of the participants addressed challenges related to the teachers, to the Ministry of Education, and to the resources. The schools’ and the Ministry of Education’s practices included different actions in an attempt to overcome the challenges of distance education: holding workshops related to distance education, suggesting the schools as places for the teachers to teach their online lessons, and making declarations for the public and families. The suggestions given by the participants to maintain and improve online learning included communicating with the students and holding workshops for the professional development of teachers at regular times. Close relationships between the Ministry of Education, the schools, and the parents were recommended in order to maintain an acceptable level of distance education. Full article
13 pages, 282 KiB  
Article
Nursing Students’ Evolving Perceptions of Online Learning: A Hierarchy of Curricula
by Henrietta Nwamu and Anna Ya Ni
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(6), 574; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13060574 - 02 Jun 2023
Viewed by 2775
Abstract
Many nursing programs had relatively light online learning components before the COVID-19 pandemic. The transition to fully online courses without preliminary planning represented a problematic shock to most nursing students and faculty. To understand students’ perceptions of the critical success of online learning [...] Read more.
Many nursing programs had relatively light online learning components before the COVID-19 pandemic. The transition to fully online courses without preliminary planning represented a problematic shock to most nursing students and faculty. To understand students’ perceptions of the critical success of online learning factors, an empirical comparison was conducted of nursing (n = 126) and non-nursing students (n = 1766) with similar demographic characteristics, but in different timeframes. A two-sample t-test was conducted for each question to ascertain significant differences in student perceptions between nursing and non-nursing students. While the ranking of critical success factors was similar for nursing and other students, the perceptions of nursing students were generally far more critical of the capability of online learning due, partially due to the perception that the online medium is less well suited to nursing education, and partially to instructional challenges caused by the rapid transition and chaos caused by the pandemic. The pandemic provided an inferior initial exposure to online nursing education in programs that had not previously prepared for online instruction, but had an abnormally increased demand for more online education. Without aggressive efforts to improve online teaching in programs with similar circumstances, students’ perceptions of overall quality may not improve significantly in the long term. Full article
14 pages, 289 KiB  
Article
Blended Learning in a Higher Education Context: Exploring University Students’ Learning Behavior
by Kleopatra Nikolopoulou and Georgios Zacharis
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(5), 514; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13050514 - 19 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3448
Abstract
Blended learning is a growing phenomenon in higher education after the COVID-19 pandemic (the educational process moved entirely online), and the way is prepared for blended education mode in universities. Although blended learning research is on the rise, fewer studies regard university students’ [...] Read more.
Blended learning is a growing phenomenon in higher education after the COVID-19 pandemic (the educational process moved entirely online), and the way is prepared for blended education mode in universities. Although blended learning research is on the rise, fewer studies regard university students’ learning behavior in blended learning environments. This study aims to investigate university students’ blended learning behavior perceptions shortly after the pandemic. A 19-item questionnaire was administered to 176 university students in Greece. Students, in general, expressed positive blended learning behavior perceptions. Higher percentages of agreement were associated with the role of audio-visual online resources in facilitating and supporting independent learning and with student motivation in blended education. Students expressed lower percentages of agreement, and some uncertainty, with regard to involvement in small group work with their peers. Implications for students, educators, as well as university policy and practice are discussed. Full article
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