CONTEMPORARY EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY
e-ISSN: 1309-517X
Graduate Students’ Experiences in a Blended Learning Program in Kazakhstan: A Mixed-Method Study Employing Interaction Equivalency Theorem

Gulmira Tussupbekova 1, Kathy L. Malone 1 2 * , Janet Helmer 1, Gulnara Namyssova 1, Miruyert Abdrakhmanova 1, Filiz Polat 1, Zumrad Kataeva 1

CONT ED TECHNOLOGY, Volume 14, Issue 4, Article No: ep386

https://doi.org/10.30935/cedtech/12398

Submitted: 10 May 2022, Published Online: 26 August 2022

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Abstract

This explanatory sequential mixed-method study explored the effectiveness of blended learning (BL) courses offered to graduate students at an English medium university in Kazakhstan. The study’s purpose was to explore and understand graduate students’ experiences while enrolled in BL courses by learning their perceptions of the benefits and challenges of BL, as well as its potential for enhancing their teacher leadership skills. A survey (n=81) and semi-structured individual interviews (n=17) were used as the main research instruments. This allowed for a detailed and rich data set on the conceptual underpinnings of the BL courses, their effectiveness, and their potential to inform higher education institutions towards implementing BL policies and practices, specifically in the field of education. Through the lens of the Interaction equivalency theorem, we analyzed students’ experiences and their interactions with their teachers and peers, as well as the mode, place, and pace of learning. This investigation revealed that the benefits of learning using BL outweighed its challenges. However, most of the participants preferred the face-to-face part of the BL course over its online teacher-student interaction component due to the opportunity to gain immediate feedback. Most importantly, the BL courses facilitated the enhancement of teacher leadership skills among the students. Finally, the paper provides recommendations for further development and revisions to current BL courses to enhance their learning value.

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