An evaluation of a blended programme of teacher education in Ireland

McHugh, Bernadette (2015) An evaluation of a blended programme of teacher education in Ireland.


The purpose of this research was to examine the blended-learning primary teacher education course, the Higher Diploma in Arts in Education (HDAPE), offered by Hibernia College in Ireland with a view to ascertaining what can be learned from this unique course that might inform future practice at college and national levels.

An investigation of this blended-learning course is warranted as it has not been conducted previously and thereby this research adds to the bank of knowledge on teacher education. Hibernia College is unique because it is the only private provider of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) for primary and post-primary teachers in Ireland. Furthermore it is the only provider to utilise a blended-learning approach and now as the largest provider of primary teachers in Ireland, Hibernia College exerts a significant influence on the number of primary teachers trained using the consecutive model of ITE.

This researcher used a mixed methods approach gathering both qualitative and quantitative data. A qualitative investigation of the genesis of the college, the values underpinning the HDAPE programmes, how quality provision is assured and the opinions of external evaluators on the programme was undertaken through the use of interviews and document analysis. A questionnaire elicited the student experience of the programme. Finally school principals’ views were sought on their opinions of graduates from Hibernia College as practising teachers.

A series of recommendations, arising from the findings, which have implications for Hibernia College (13) and for the wider education community (4) were posited along with possible future research enquiries.

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