Enhancing Student Engagement Within a Blended Learning Approach

This week I was asked to make a presentation about the blended learning approach and how we can enhance student engagement to improve the learning experience. It took me some time to collect the materials and put them together.

I thought I'd just share the slides, please scroll down to the end of the post or click here to download it.

Blended learning and enhancing student engagement

The text here is the notes I used during the presentation, which I adapted from different sources from the internet.

Blended Learning:


Over the past 15years, an increasing number of courses, including in the health sciences, have incorporated online course components. Of particular interest are courses that adopt a blended learning design, where some course elements are conducted in a traditional classroom setting while other course elements are delivered online

Often called Hybrid learning, “Blended learning is the thoughtful integration of classroom face-to-face learning experiences with online learning experiences” (Garrison and Kanuka, 2004).

The prerequisites of blended learning are an effective combination of different modes of delivery, models of teaching and styles of learning & applying them in an interactively meaningful learning environment (Gonzales and Vodicka, 2012)


Blended Learning, in particular, helps students increase their interactions, communication skills, self-confidence, self-awareness, as well as encourage discussion and collaboration, not only with their lecturers but also with their peer classmates and course materials leading to an overall positive experience, thus becoming more active in their learning and creating a more interesting and engaging learning process.

There are several benefits:

  1. The focus of the classroom shifts from a presentational format to one of active learning. This involves putting learners in situations that compel them to read, speak, listen and think
  2. Lets trainers tailor learning content to the unique needs of different audience segments. Blended learning also offers flexible time frames that can be personalized, offering them the ability to learn at their own pace.
  3. The benefits of this approach include synergistic impact of the strengths of synchronous (face-to-face) and asynchronous (text-based Internet) learning activities.

Components of effective blended learning:

They are not separate entities, they are all woven to each other.

  1. Human

a)     Blended learning shifts the teacher’s role from knowledge provider to coach and mentor. with blended learning, teachers can have an even more profound influence and effect on students’ learning. 

b)     Engaged students

  1. Content:
    1. Data doesn´t have to be a scary concept nor something that should intimidate people usually comes from the evaluation and feedback. Knowing what the class has achieved or how well the students engaged can help us set future class goals or identify the need for targeted intervention.
    2. I definitely did well as a student when I knew what exactly is expected of me. Setting and communicating clear learning goals in a language that students can relate to are one of the key learner engagement strategies right from the start.
    3. Convenience is no longer just a nice-to-have. Today, keeping learners engaged and motivated is a necessity.
    4. In my experience, the content and approach should be creative and fun to interact with, this stops learners from losing interest and improves engagement.
    5. Strategic, An appropriately timed and implemented course gives the opportunity for building stronger relationships with individual students as well as ensuring a comprehensive and corrective learning process.
  1. Another one of the keys to a successful blended learning strategy is technology. It has to be a high-quality and intuitive solution to really make a difference in our blended learning strategy.
  2. I’ll come to feedback later but evaluation assessment and feedback all feed into the data that feeds into all other components

Barriers to effective blended learning

      Current situation of pandemic

      On the one hand, when students lack access to adequate technology and internet connections at home or school, blended learning can cause student engagement to take a turn for the worse. As educators, we must keep in mind that simple access to computers and the internet is a necessary first step in balancing digital equity.

      It was difficult for me for the initial few months. Students who are new to university education (either as a fresher or someone who came from another country where the system is different), the transition could be a challenge

      Educators who are not appropriately trained either to handle the technology or to deliver the course content

      Disengaged students

What is student engagement?

Student engagement is not a simple concept. Engagement initially focused on what students did to enhance their learning – the time, effort and commitment they put into their study; the use they made of the resources; their study intentions and conceptions of learning. Recently, more complex interpretations have included belongingness, motivation and community. Institutions and teachers are added as they create the learning environment within which students engage. 

‘Student engagement represents both the time and energy students invest in educationally purposeful activities and the effort institutions devote to using effective educational practices’
(Kuh et al., 2006)

Strategies to enhance student engagement

Although the degree of student involvement and range of activities can vary, there are commonalities between institutions that have focused on improving student engagement. The institutional context has a great influence; what works well in one institution is no guarantee for success in another. 

  1. I definitely did well as a student when I knew what exactly is expected of me. Setting and communicating clear learning goals in a language that students can relate to is one of the key learner engagement strategies right from the start.
  2. create an institutional culture that empowers the students’ voice and their activities. Faculty members and student representatives together should take the lead in establishing such a culture.
  3. Such a framework should outline membership of governance and educational structures and formally list student representatives with their roles and responsibilities, describe communication pathways between students and peers and students and faculty, elaborate on the role students play in the delivery of the educational program, evaluation, and quality assurance, and explain how students contribute to the academic community and the community at large.
  4. This strategy should result in a closed feedback loops – it should ensure that all student voices are heard and communicated to the right faculty members, and information regarding outcomes of student engagement should be communicated back to all students. The latter is important to keep students involved because when students feel that their voices do matter, they will more likely respond to evaluation forms or provide faculty with constructive feedback for further improvement.
  5. Evaluation and feedback keep the ball rolling. In addition to the written feedback, I found better outcomes of face-to-face feedback with the students to discuss their performance. Likewise, I found the feedback from the students either through formal or informal channels to be helpful in improving my performance and I always appreciate it.
  6. Students should be active stakeholders within a university governance structure. Informed advice of students advances the quality, transparency, and accountability of decision-making processes, and leads to the development of a broad set of skills for students in leadership positions.
  7. Engaging with students leads to greater insight in the way students think, learn, and take decisions which may inform further improvement and development of teaching methods and materials. An additional benefit of involving students as co-producers in curricular development is that these students are in direct contact with their fellow students. Problems and concerns that arise among the student body can, therefore, be addressed directly and taken into account in the development process.
  8. Peer-teaching and Students should be actively involved in support programs for other students. Providing such programs is a professional approach to cope with the many challenges and hurdles that students can face. My experience of adopting the peer mentoring technique definitely brought positive impacts.
  9. Institutions should provide curricular and extracurricular opportunities to integrate students into their research community. Advancing science is central to the mission and culture of many universities, including Chester Uni. An important educational aim is that students learn to understand and apply research evidence in their future professional life. Research is more than just teaching the techniques or processes. It is about engaging in communities of practice and becoming a contributing member. Evidence from the literature and my own experience when I worked as research assistant led to positive perceptions of research, encouraging me in career paths as researchers, as well as contributing to the research output of the institution I was involved with.
  10. Institutions and students together should continue to consider new areas and approaches of actively involving students, even when a high level of student engagement is already achieved. 

Indicators of engaged students

  1. Learning satisfaction is a psychological condition that includes interest in learning, expectations about learning, and enjoyment of learning.
  2. One important student role is that of explorer. Interaction with the physical world and with other people allows students to discover concepts and apply skills.
  3. Involvement in sessions and sharing thoughts
  4. Completion of learning tasks and deriving ideas
  5. Reaching out to instructors or peers for additional support


  • Blended learning shifts the teacher’s role from knowledge provider to coach and mentor.
  • The success of BL depends on multiple factors including engaged students
  • To get the students engaged,  they should be in the centre of the course design and implementation



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