Transformative potential of constructivist blended problem-based learning in higher education

Donnelly, R. (2009) Transformative potential of constructivist blended problem-based learning in higher education. In: Information Technology and Constructivism in Higher Education: Progressive Learning Frameworks. IGI Global, pp. 182-202. ISBN 9781605666549 (ISBN)


This chapter critically explores the design and implementation of a blended problem-based learning (PBL) module for academic professional development in higher education. A core aspect of the chapter is the overview of the design framework used for the application and specific use of learning technologies in the PBL module. As it would appear that E-Learning courses are often lauded on the basis of their constructivist approach to learning, but in reality sustained inter-student contact and discussion can be difficult, an underlying purpose of the chapter is to show how interactional analysis helps in understanding the potential of transformative pedagogy within blended PBL. This chapter aims to highlight how emerging constructivist theories of learning may be applied to the blend of PBL and E-Learning. It addresses the need for an analysis of the interactions taking place in blended PBL with a specific focus on academic staff who are engaged in professional development in higher education in Ireland. It applies the relevant constructivist theories to the face-to-face PBL tutorials, online discussions, focus group interview texts and reflective papers generated over two years in a professional development module involving 17 academic staff. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the difference that the blended delivery made to both tutors and participants and discusses the design implications of a blended PBL model for the practice of academic development. © 2009, IGI Global.

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