The COVID-19 pandemic created an extraordinary health catastrophe, which significantly impacted the daily lives of people. The notion of blended learning has evolved as an achievable solution for bridging the gap between traditional classroom learning and the digital learning process. Blended learning gives students a flexible and accessible educational experience by fusing in-person classroom instruction with online learning platforms.
However, despite the benefits of blended learning, there are challenges present that hinder the wider spectrum implementation (Thabet et al., 2021). These include staff’s low competence, lack of time, inefficient support from the workforce management, lack of hardware and inefficient technical support. There are several obstacles to the successful integration of blended learning in the higher education system. Although universities across the world have made great strides in building their digital infrastructure, there exist gaps in terms of high-speed internet access and technological devices, particularly in rural or economically underdeveloped areas in countries like India (Noori et al., 2020). Since blended learning primarily depends on reliable technology assistance, closing the digital gap and ensuring equal access to resources are both imperative.
The hesitance of teachers and students in adopting a new learning format
Integrating blended learning in the classroom warrants an enormous amount of time for preparation on the part of the educators due to the rapidly changing internal and external environment (AnthonyJr et al., 2022; Nisana, 2021). Moreover, their teaching practices also need to be modified with the inclusion of newer learning formats such as videos and augmented reality. This results in reducing the instructor’s satisfaction level with the teaching experience (Thabet et al., 2021; Yadav, 2022). Different universities like the University of Delhi have implemented blended learning practices post-COVID-19 but most of the students are unable to adapt to the mechanism and that reflects in their academic performance (Joshi et al., 2020).
Although there is a requirement for a set of rules to regulate both means, the absence of standard government rules results in hampering the implementation. Also, blended learning adds the pressure of constant innovation and upgrading of skill sets. Universities need to invest more financial resources to enhance technical infrastructure and staff training (Bawa’aneh, 2021). They also need to make the classes more engaging with the help of visual representation and implementation of AR and VR technology in their teaching mechanism. However, the availability of digital tools and resources, the technical infrastructure, and guaranteeing fair access for all students is a challenge.
Lack of equitable access to technology restricts the adoption of blended learning
In terms of overall technical development, many universities have achieved tremendous progress. However, there could still be disparities in how easily accessible gadgets are and how reliable internet connectivity is in various locations. Poor infrastructure in developing countries often causes connectivity problems, inefficient internet speeds, and restricted access to online learning resources.
For instance, it is difficult for students to acquire a dependable internet connection if they live in underserved or distant places This will make it difficult for them to participate in online learning activities. In order to support online instruction and learning activities, blended learning demands the availability of proper digital tools and resources. Learning management systems (LMS), video conferencing platforms, interactive learning resources, and other technology tools are also required to facilitate blended learning (Roy and Brown, 2022).
Effective staff training is the key to widespread adoption of blended learning
Effective implementation of the blended learning process depends on offering instructors and students technical assistance and training. Teachers may need training on learning to use the digital resources and platforms connected to blended learning effectively (Singh et al., 2021). Similarly, students want assistance in finding and using the online course materials. Educational institutions, governments, and stakeholders must work together to develop practical solutions to these problems. This might entail making investments in the development of infrastructure, delivering the required digital tools and resources, providing technical assistance and training, and putting measures to close the digital gap.
Other issues include a lack of administrative and technological assistance, difficulty balancing several educational systems, instructor overload, and a lack of legislation that enables blended learning. Implementing strategies that facilitate mixed learning should be the main focus of universities’ efforts to solve these issues. It is possible to use techniques like developing online platforms for instructor-student interaction, establishing regulatory bodies to regulate cyber threats, planning sessions for students to track their progress in blended learning, and holding seminars to improve teachers’ technical expertise. Overall, a progressive-thinking mindset and deliberate attempts to overcome obstacles will support the effective adoption of blended learning and the improvement of it.
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