Student perspectives on learning experiences in a higher education active blended learning context

Ale Armellini, Virginia Antunes, Rob Howe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Abstract: This article focuses on university students’ perceptions of their learning and social experiences in the context of an institution-wide pedagogic shift to Active Blended Learning (ABL). It explores students’ perceived enablers and barriers to learning in the new environment. Thematic analysis was conducted on data collected through focus groups involving 60 students. Three key categories emerged: (1) learning experiences, (2) social experiences and (3) support provision. Findings suggest that quality learning experiences are necessary but not sufficient to provide a quality overall student experience. Tutors play a key role in both. Staff-student partnerships are central to promote learner engagement and a sense of belonging. Students value, above all, regular synchronous and asynchronous interaction with peers, tutors and content, enabled by sound pedagogic design and the appropriate deployment of digital technologies. Employability-focused activities that explicitly link theory and practice are regarded as an essential ingredient in learning and assessment. Students view support as a holistic term that integrates academic and pastoral aspects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-443
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Early online date26 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2021


  • active blended learning
  • learner support
  • partnership
  • student engagement
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Education


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