Blended course format may improve academic achievement in students at risk for failing

Before online learning existed, the traditional lecture format was the only option for college courses. Students who skipped class risked missing out on valuable information presented in-person. Researchers from the University of Iowa found that online content presentation accompanied by weekly interactive class meetings-;a "blended" course format-;may improve academic achievement in students at risk for failing. In addition, fewer students withdrew from the class when the content was presented in a blended format. The findings will be presented today at the American Physiological Society's (APS's) Institute on Teaching and Learning in Madison, Wis.

Traditional lecture and online learning course delivery formats tend to flow in one direction only: The instructor delivers content to students. "The blended course structure we utilized facilitated bidirectional information flow, fostering conversations not only between the instructor and students but among the students themselves (peer learning)," said Jennifer Rogers, PhD, first author of the study.

"Greater than 95 percent of students enrolled in the blended course section earned course grades [of] C- or higher, compared with 82 percent in the large lecture sections and 81 percent in the online sections," Rogers added. Furthermore, students who chose the blended format reported less end-of-semester anxiety than those who studied solely online, suggesting that there might be additional value in face-to-face engagement with faculty.​

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