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Title: Implementing blended learning to satisfy growing demand for higher education in Saudi Arabia
Author: Alshathri, Sulaiman
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 7200
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Expanding higher education is a key policy objective in many developing countries and in Saudi Arabia there is a particularly acute need as a young population grows and the government attempts to build capacity in the Saudi workforce. In the first few years of the twenty-first century the country had a boom and bust experience with distance learning, with a rapid expansion underpinned by poor quality control and a concomitant lack of acceptance of the qualifications earned. Blended learning, combining online learning with face-to-face methods, was subsequently viewed as the solution to this major policy problem. Many hopes subsequently have been pinned on the Saudi Electronic University which was established to deliver high quality blended learning programmes. The purpose of this study was to investigate the implementation of blended learning at the Saudi Electronic University by giving voice to learners, instructors and leaders. The thesis thus aimed to provide both practical and theoretical insights to blended learning implementation that will be of interest to policymakers, higher education leadership and education researchers. With a mixed methods case study design, the advantages and challenges of implementation were explored, identifying how blended learning was being experienced at the university. A questionnaire survey was administered to which 365 of the university's students responded. The results were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. An interview study gave voice to the views and perceptions of twenty participants including students, instructors and institutional leaders. Data from the interviews is thematically analysed. Among the main findings of the research were that lack of preparedness among learners was causing excessive dropout and that learners perceived an excessive workload. This unpreparedness was mostly concerned with English language skills and the ICT skills that were required to take advantage of the new technology used in blended learning. Among the theoretical findings, a need for increased application of adult learning theories to blended learning implementations was found to be appropriate in this context. The thesis proposes a Framework for the Implementation of Blended Learning for as a contribution to theory building and makes a practical contribution through a set of recommendations for those involved in the implementation of blended learning programmes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available