Final reflection

In my final reflection blogpost, I want to share my thoughts on a popular institution-wide initiative – the adoption of blended learning, which has gained momentum due to the need for continued teaching & learning during this Pandemic. Most faculty members would agree that blended learning is an effective approach to learning that combines the strength of both face-to-face pedagogy and technology-enhanced instruction. However, there remains issues such as clarifying what exactly is blended learning, how best to go about blending instructions (and other aspects of learning) and how do we know that it is working for our students?

Firstly, I believe that blended learning demands blended research. This means researching blended learning in practice rather than as a by-product of an evaluation of large-scale intervention. What we are looking for is a systematic, programmatic and incremental improvement of blending that is situated in the professional expertise of teachers and teaching assistants. Teachers’ learning progression (aka academic development) is just as important as KPIs. Researching how teachers develop their understanding and use of blended learning will help shed light on the above issues.

Secondly, effective adoption of blended learning is dependent on the teacher being able to design an effective balance between their instructional strategies and the learning tools which creates effective learning opportunities for students. The emphasis here is on instructional design and teacher decision-making, which in many university settings, are rarely taught or developed. More can be done to equip university teachers with the necessary knowledge and skillset to bring about effective and meaningful design or blending, to enhance students’ learning.

Thirdly, blended learning is not a new phenomenon. In fact, most institutions of higher learning have been engaged in blended learning since the 90s. However, the rapid transformation of technology has afforded many opportunities for students to learn beyond a traditional classroom setting (or face-to-face instruction), which means some form of ‘blending’ has already occurred in the online learning space, regardless of whether there is formal blending or not. The availability of OER (Open Educational Resources) is a case in point. It’s arbitrary to argue about the right percentage of blending, but rather, to focus attention on programme and course/module design and their alignment and coherence.

Fourth, and related to the notion that blended learning is not new, we could and should leverage on past learning experiences on implementing blended learning. Besides looking at data, we could invite colleagues with experience in adopting blended learning to share and to engage in building a learning community.

Fifth, blended learning is only one of the many active learning approaches that promotes deep and engaged learning. The teacher should have the agency to decide when and how best to use (or not to use) blended learning in their teaching practice. What I mean is not to ignore blended learning but to complement it together with other useful strategies. At the end of the day, it is about asking “As a teacher, what is the unique value that I can contribute to help my students’ to learn better?” and “What can the technology offer to support students’ in their learning?” rather than “Should I blend or not blend this course?”

Sixth, while good design is fundamental to the effective implementation of blended learning, learner self-regulation is at the heart of successful learning. To put it bluntly, students need to learn how to learn, whether it is online or face-to-face. If we consider blended learning as developing important skillsets for both teachers and students, than we need to provide space and time for this to happen.

ONL PBL Gp 6 Topic 2 & 3

I have the privilege of learning with a diverse group of colleagues with a wealth of knowledge and skills in TEL. My Group 6 teammates taught me lots of things, some of which were applied in my own lessons with teaching assistants. I found the conversations we had every week and the online resources that were shared in the group, very rich and useful. Thank you everyone in Group 6!

I’m just going to share in this blogpost, how I adopted a strategy that was used in our PBL Gp 6 activity. This collaborative learning strategy was introduced by Isabel Tarling and involves using an online e-book ( to allow students to work together, to share ideas and co-create learning artifacts by documenting in one interactive platform. 

In my lesson, I got teaching assistants (undergraduates who will be supporting their supervisors in teaching duties) to work together in groups of 3 to come up with an outline of an example of how they implement active learning activity in their tutorials. The aim of this exercise is to involve the teaching assistants in active learning and in turn, allow them to reflect on this experience and to understand how active learning can be implemented in their own teaching practice.

The e-book activity turned out to be a success and the teaching assistants were able to collaborate actively in planning and sharing about active learning strategies.

PBL Gp 6 Topic 1 post

These are belated blogposts. I guess, it’s better late than never. One good thing perhaps is that I have the chance to apply some of the ideas taught and discussed in our ONL group sessions and to reflect a bit more on these experiences.

Online participation and digital literacies have become hot topics when the Pandemic started raging havoc worldwide. In particular, in Singapore, there is a greater focus on online active participation, especially in home-based or remote learning situations. Questions were asked about how students manage their learning online and how best to engage students to learning in an online environment. There is another side to participation, which was somehow a blind spot in TEL educational initiatives, and only surfaced when schools were forced to close and learning was transferred to living rooms, bedrooms and other venues except the classroom – the inequality in learning opportunities (conditions and environments). Without going into details, I believe more needs to be done to improve learning conditions/environment before online learning can be scaled effectively across the country.

Digital literacies became the buzz word overnight as the first wave of virus spread across the country two years back. There is a real concern that digital literacy levels may impact how we learn and work, i.e., this applies not only to students but to working adults as well. In the midst of this, is of course teachers’ competencies for technology integration in teaching – their own digital literacies.

Again, we are blindsided by a fixation on technology use and usefulness in supporting learning and working from home, that we fail to realise that what is equally important beside digital literacies, is the need for digital wellbeing. Try teaching (or learning) remotely for six months to one year and you will agree that managing one’s digital wellbeing is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle i.e., looking after personal health, safety, relationships, and work(study)-life balance in digital age is not a given, but something we need to consciously build upon.




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