Blended learning in higher education (HE): Conceptualising key strategic issues within a business school

Colm Fearon, Simon Starr, Heather McLaughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to create a conceptual analysis of key strategic issues for developing blended learning within a university or higher education (HE) setting.
Design/methodology/approach: The paper identifies key issues based on focus group analysis with students and reflections from staff. A conceptual grid framework was used to develop insight into blended learning and to enable a pragmatic approach for strategy making.
Findings: A discussion of key issues for strategic analysis is presented. Traditional lectures are not as popular as more interactive seminars. "Pure" e-learning in terms of computer-based training is not as desirable as a blended learning approach because face-to-face interaction between students and staff is not present. Blended learning is useful as a supplementary resource for students and a way of improving collaboration and group work. It takes time to develop a blended learning strategy and care must be taken to balance stakeholder needs as well as preserve the wider HE student experience. Practical implications: Findings are not generalizable because the approach adopted is qualitative and conceptual in nature, yet useful insights are provided into key issues regarding blended learning within a HE setting. The conceptual analysis approach used in this paper is useful for practitioners in the organizational development of blended learning.
Originality/value: There is a paucity of useful qualitative research regarding the analysis of blended learning for strategy makers and this paper examines some key issues for analysis and organizational development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-22
Number of pages4
JournalDevelopment and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Blended learning
  • Higher education
  • Learning methods
  • Strategy making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Library and Information Sciences


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