How to improve students’ experience in blending learning? Evidence from the perceptions of students in a Postgraduate Master’s Degree
This paper examines the perceptions of a group of students of a Postgraduate Master’s Degree in Cosmetics Industry at the Universitat de València, delivered with a blended learning modality, in relation to their experience in face-to-face learning and differentiating between those with or without a previous background in a remote online learning environment, with the added purpose of identifying strategies to enhance that experience, while offering further evidence for scholars, educators and institutions in this field. To this end, a survey with open questions devised ad hoc leaning on our literature review was submitted to a group of 114 students of the Master’s Degree in the period 2017-2020. Students were enquired about the pros and cons of their blended learning experience in relation to the traditional face-to-face learning, and which modality they would choose next time if both were offered, only considering the achievement, experience and satisfaction, regardless of the price. 77 students of our initial sample participated in the questionnaire, 38 of them without previous experience in blended or distance learning. The results show a certain predilection for face-to-face learning, especially in the group of newbies in blended or distance learning. They highlight how they miss a closer interaction with their peers and professors and the difficulties to assimilate certain content, while appraising the flexibility, autonomy, and the self-pace of the blended learning modality. Correspondingly, students with experience in remote online education settings generally show a better predisposal and find fewer disadvantages in blended learning. This suggests that the factor of experience and adaptation to new tools and methods improves student perception and confidence and shapes their preferences, with a foreseeable growing acceptance of blended learning in the future. Finally, the outcome allows us to define a series of strategies to improve the achievement, experience, and satisfaction of students in this learning context.
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