Transforming a First-year Accounting Course Using a Blended Learning Pathway

Mathews Nkhoma, Clara A. Nkhoma, Susan Thomas, Long Tu Tu, Nha Quoc Le
Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology  •  Volume 16  •  2019  •  pp. 319-342
Aim/Purpose: Blended learning can transform students experience and learning in higher education. Although the literature extensively explores benefits of blended learning, limited research exists to provide a detailed design principle for implementing instructional activities in blended courses and its usage as tool to influence learning outcomes for second language first year accounting learners.

Background: The objective of this study is to find out how the learning experience of students was impacted and by designing and implementing blended learning and connectivity between online and face-to-face learning. This paper reviews the challenges and benefits of blended learning and highlights teachers’ and students’ perceptions on the impact of the connectivity of online and face-to-face activities on students’ learning.

Methodology: Data was collected from students enrolled in the course using an open-ended questionnaire. There were 220 respondents, representing a response rate of 65%. Data was extracted from the online learning data and grade center. Teachers’ experiences and observations were also noted. The survey results were analyzed using content analysis.

Contribution: Research focusing on blended learning design and implementation is limited, and there is no one size fits all when it comes to blended learning. Consequently, this paper contributes to the discussion by highlighting how second language, first-year accounting students benefit from blended learning and the connectivity between online and face-to-face activities. Increased flexibility for learners appears to be one of the most cited rationale for the combination of traditional with online instructional methods, however, this study evaluates blended learning as a tool for transforming the learning experience of second language, first year accounting students.

Findings: Findings show that students benefit from blended learning, and connectivity between online and in-class activities allows students to exploit the advantages of both online and face-to-face learning. Students can see the relevance of what they are doing online and how that contributes to their in-class activities and, hence, are motivated to complete the activities.

Recommendations for Practitioners: Educators should use a well-designed blended learning pathway to empower students to be in charge of their learning. Placing materials online creates more and better opportunities for engaging students in class. Institutional support is important when implementing blended learning.

Recommendations for Researchers: There is a need for more studies on blended learning design and implementation. Future researchers may carry out more studies on how blended learning design affects student engagement and learning for second language learners in other courses.

Impact on Society: A blended learning pathway would greatly benefit second language learners to learn better and empower them to be more independent as a self-directed learner who is able to utilize their time wisely. Community of practice is an excellent platform to encourage teaching teams to work together and create innovative teaching and assessment materials.

Future Research: Future studies may carry out the study using other methods for example quantitative surveys and interviews to get a deeper understanding of both students and teachers’ perceptions and experiences.
learning management system, learning pathway, community of practice, independent learning, content analysis, second language learners
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