Effects of a blended learning approach on student outcomes in a graduate-level public health course
Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, University at Buffalo, 314 Kimball Tower, 3435 Main Street, Buffalo, NY, USA
BMC Medical Education 2014, 14:47 doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-47Published: 11 March 2014
Blended learning approaches, in which in-person and online course components are combined in a single course, are rapidly increasing in health sciences education. Evidence for the relative effectiveness of blended learning versus more traditional course approaches is mixed.
The impact of a blended learning approach on student learning in a graduate-level public health course was examined using a quasi-experimental, non-equivalent control group design. Exam scores and course point total data from a baseline, “traditional” approach semester (n = 28) was compared to that from a semester utilizing a blended learning approach (n = 38). In addition, student evaluations of the blended learning approach were evaluated.
There was a statistically significant increase in student performance under the blended learning approach (final course point total d = 0.57; a medium effect size), even after accounting for previous academic performance. Moreover, student evaluations of the blended approach were very positive and the majority of students (83%) preferred the blended learning approach.
Blended learning approaches may be an effective means of optimizing student learning and improving student performance in health sciences courses.