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Comunicar Journal 62: Learning ecologies in the digital age (Vol. 28 - 2020)

Personalised learning networks in the university blended learning context


In researching student learning experience in Higher Education, a dearth of studies has investigated cognitive, social, and material dimensions simultaneously with the same population. From an ecological perspective of learning, this study examined the interrelatedness amongst key elements in these dimensions of 365 undergraduates’ personalised learning networks. Data were collected from questionnaires, learning analytics, and course marks to measure these elements in the blended learning experience and academic performance. Students reported qualitatively different cognitive engagement between an understanding and a reproducing learning orientation towards learning, which when combined with their choices of collaboration, generated five qualitatively different patterns of collaboration. The results revealed that students had an understanding learning orientation and chose to collaborate with students of similar learning orientation tended to have more successful blended learning experience. Their personalised learning networks were characterized by self-reported adoption of deep approaches to face-to-face and online learning; positive perceptions of the integration between online environment and the course design; the way they collaborated and positioned themselves in their collaborative networks; and they were more engaged with online learning activities in the course. The study had significant implications to inform theory development in learning ecology research and to guide curriculum design, teaching, and learning.