Students’ perceptions of blended and remote learning and its impact upon sense of belonging




Blended learning has been widely recognised for its ‘transformative potential’ (Garrison and Kanuka, 2004) in higher education, especially when it comes to its versatility and increased opportunities for distributed learners. Nonetheless, the technological challenges it poses, alongside issues linked with policy, resources and support structures, have led to considerable resistance to the concept of blended practice. Despite this mixed reputation (Antunes, Armellini and Howe, 2021; Lomer and Palmer, 2021), few studies have attempted to explore students’ perceptions of blended delivery, with most research focussing on staff experience (Torrisi-Steele and Drew, 2013).

The session reports on a small-scale evaluative study on student perceptions of blended learning that we conducted in the academic year 2020/21. A critical realist framework that considers both agency and structure has been applied to situate these perceptions while our mixed methods approach offers a multi-layered insight into the captured diversity of experience. The aim of the conference session was to discuss with the participants the implications of the findings for future practice and, more specifically, consider the role of Learning Development in enhancing post-pandemic student experience.

Author Biographies

Alicja Syska, University of Plymouth

Alicja Syska is a hybrid academic, combining her role in Learning Development with lectureship in History at the University of Plymouth. She is a Senior Fellow of Advance HE and a Certified Leading Practitioner of LD. Her research interests include writing in disciplines, blended learning, student perceptions of their university experience, community building through writing, and the development of LD as a discipline. She serves as Co-Lead Editor for the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.

Christie Pritchard, University of Plymouth

Christie Pritchard is a Senior Fellow of Advance HE and an Associate Professor of Higher Education. Her research and practice focus on promoting student success through creating a sense of belonging, designing inclusive curriculum and assessment, and developing social learning spaces for transformational learning. As well as leading the Academic Development department at the University of Plymouth she contributes to the strategic development of cross institution education policies and projects. She champions academic development and student experience at an institutional and national level, focusing on understanding students’ learning in a relational way. She has recently taken the role of Co-Chair of ALDinHE.


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How to Cite

Syska, A. and Pritchard, C. (2022) “Students’ perceptions of blended and remote learning and its impact upon sense of belonging”, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, (25). doi: 10.47408/jldhe.vi25.959.

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