Investigating Implementation of Blended Learning in Higher Education through Lens of Diffusion of Innovations

Year: 2021

Author: Ali, Ramiz

Type of paper: Individual Paper

Blended learning has been prevalent in higher education in the last decade and has become even more valued recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of adoption is providing students with meaningful learning interactions by integrating face-to-face instructions and digital technology. However, implementation of blended learning can be uneven in university settings, resulting in inconsistent and inequitable learning experiences for students. Using a case study method, this study investigates how blended learning can be adopted and implemented in a university across various subject disciplines. Diffusion of innovation (DoI) theory is used to understand the process of organisational adoption and implementation of blended learning. Participants were 24 teachers and six executives from one university in the Maldives. Results show adoption and implementation of blended learning can occur as a roughly sequential process that involve five stages: (a) agenda-setting, (b) matching, (c) redefining or restructuring, (d) clarifying, and (e) routinising. Results also show when blended learning is adopted and implemented by top-management of a university, the matching stage may not properly occur, raising significant questions in relation to the sustainability of blended learning. Implications for diffusion of innovations, specifically for adoption of blended learning in higher education and teacher support will be discussed.