Blended synchronous learning environment: Student perspectives

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Distance education environments can take many forms, from asynchronous to blended synchronous environments. Blended synchronous learning environment (BSLE) can be defined as an innovative setting in which students can decide to attend classes either face-to-face or via a synchronous virtual connection. Many educators are unfamiliar teaching in BSLE because of lack of experience or exposure to this delivery method. Thus, it is important to understand the optimal organisational structures and the effective management of BSLE courses to facilitate student learning and interaction. Seeking to understand this teaching method, an exploratory mixed-method study was conducted to examine graduate students’ perceptions of the BSLE. Quantitative and qualitative data was collected from a questionnaire and analysed. The findings revealed that students were satisfied with the BSLE, interactions, and the instructor. However, findings showed that the instructor divided attention between face-to-face and online synchronous students, which can cause cognitive overload and compromise the quality of instruction. Additionally, this study suggests that technical difficulties can affect students’ satisfaction with BSLE courses. Implications for further research and limitations are discussed.

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