Assessing Blended Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Student Perspectives at the Morsli Abdullah University Center in Tipaza

تقييم التعلم المدمج خلال جائحة كوفيد-19: التحديات وآراء طلاب المركز الجامعي مرسلي عبد الله بتيبازة

Évaluation de l'apprentissage hybride pendant la pandémie de COVID-19 : Défis et perspectives des étudiants au Centre universitaire Morsli Abdullah à Tipaza

Malika Bakir

p. 555-574

Malika Bakir, « Assessing Blended Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Student Perspectives at the Morsli Abdullah University Center in Tipaza », Aleph, Vol 10 (4-1) | 2023, 555-574.

Malika Bakir, « Assessing Blended Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Student Perspectives at the Morsli Abdullah University Center in Tipaza », Aleph [], Vol 10 (4-1) | 2023, 18 June 2023, 21 July 2024. URL : https://aleph.edinum.org/9815

This study aimed to assess the utilization of blended learning during the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of students at the Morsli Abdullah University Center in Tipaza. The research objectives focused on understanding the current state of blended learning, evaluating its perceived significance, and identifying the challenges it encounters. A descriptive research approach was employed to address these objectives. The study comprised 200 male and female university students, and data collection was facilitated through a questionnaire consisting of 28 items. The questionnaire underwent validation by a panel of experts to ensure item validity.

Following the validation process, the questionnaire was administered to the study participants. Upon data collection and subsequent statistical analysis, the findings indicated that the implementation of blended learning during the COVID-19 pandemic received an overall medium-level assessment from the students. Furthermore, students attributed a medium level of importance to the utilization of blended learning. The study also uncovered various obstacles associated with blended learning, which were assessed at a medium level.

هدفت هذه الدراسة إلى تقييم استخدام التعلم المدمج (Blended Learning) خلال جائحة كوفيد-19 من وجهة نظر طلاب المركز الجامعي مرسلي عبد الله بتيبازة، من حيث فهم الوضع الحالي للتعلم المدمج وتقييم أهميته المدركة وتحديد العقبات التي تواجهه. وتم استخدام منهج وصفي لتحقيق هذه الأهداف. وتكونت عينة الدراسة من 200 طالب وطالبة جامعيين وتم تسجيل البيانات من خلال استبيان تألف من 28 عبارة، الذي تم إخضاعه للتحقق من صحة عباراته عن طريق لجنة من الخبراء.

بعد عملية التحقق من الصحة، تم توزيع الاستبانة على المشاركين في الدراسة. بعد جمع البيانات والتحليل الإحصائي اللاحق، أشارت النتائج إلى أن تنفيذ التعلم المدمج خلال جائحة كوفيد-19 حصل على تقييم متوسط من خلال آراء الطلاب. علاوة على ذلك، عبر الطلاب عن مستوى متوسط من الأهمية في استخدام التعلم المدمج. كما كشفت الدراسة عن عدة عقبات متعلقة بالتعلم المدمج التي تم قييمها بمستوى متوسط.

Cette étude visait à évaluer l'utilisation de l'apprentissage mixte (Blended Learning) pendant la pandémie de COVID-19 du point de vue des étudiants du Centre universitaire Morsli Abdullah à Tipaza. Les objectifs de la recherche se sont concentrés sur la compréhension de l'état actuel de l'apprentissage mixte, l'évaluation de son importance perçue et l'identification des défis auxquels il est confronté. Une approche de recherche descriptive a été utilisée pour atteindre ces objectifs. L'étude a porté sur 200 étudiants universitaires, hommes et femmes, et la collecte de données a été facilitée par le biais d'un questionnaire composé de 28 éléments. Le questionnaire a été soumis à une validation par un panel d'experts pour garantir la validité des éléments.

À la suite du processus de validation, le questionnaire a été administré aux participants à l'étude. Après la collecte des données et l'analyse statistique ultérieure, les résultats ont indiqué que la mise en œuvre de l'apprentissage mixte pendant la pandémie de COVID-19 a reçu une évaluation globale de niveau moyen de la part des étudiants. De plus, les étudiants ont attribué une importance de niveau moyen à l'utilisation de l'apprentissage mixte. L'étude a également révélé divers obstacles associés à l'apprentissage mixte, qui ont été évalués à un niveau moyen.

Introduction

The realm of higher education has undergone a profound transformation over the past two years, catalyzed by the pervasive influence of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. This period has borne witness to a remarkable fluctuation, marked by the closure of traditional university campuses and the necessitated adoption of alternative modalities for student and faculty engagement. Paramount among these emergent approaches is the paradigmatic shift towards distance education, a mode hitherto unfamiliar to many educational institutions, officially embraced only in the wake of the pandemic’s outbreak.

At the zenith of the crisis within Algerian universities, the initial response took the form of e-learning, where students embarked on a year-long journey within this digital domain. Subsequently, the educational landscape transitioned to a form of blended learning that amalgamated conventional pedagogy with the virtual realm in response to the evolving epidemiological situation in the year 2021. Within this educational milieu, the instructional process is orchestrated by educators who serve as genuine catalysts for the students’ learning odyssey, thus forging a symbiotic relationship wherein pedagogical guidance is paramount (Al-Shahwan, 2014:3).

Within the corpus of research literature, diverse nomenclature is often invoked to denote this blend of traditional and digital pedagogical paradigms, including terms like blended learning, hybrid learning, and mixed-mode instruction. The primary objective of this blended approach is to ameliorate the limitations associated with pure online instruction. Despite having been practiced globally for over two decades, the efficacy of blended learning remains a perennial concern within technology-enhanced education.

In the contemporary landscape, precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, blended instruction has acquired heightened significance, poised to emerge as the new standard in higher education’s teaching-learning dichotomy. The pandemic necessitated the abrupt cessation of on-campus teaching activities in many nations, compelling institutions to innovate and devise strategies accommodating spatial constraints and stringent hygiene imperatives. Consequently, a multitude of institutions have been compelled to recalibrate their erstwhile face-to-face learning paradigms into blended learning frameworks (Chango & al, 2021).

The integration of diverse learning and teaching modalities within a blended environment emerges as a plausible solution to accommodate distinct learning proclivities. In light of the ubiquity of information accessibility from disparate sources and the imperative of social distancing engendered by the COVID-19 pandemic, e-learning has assumed an indispensable role in pedagogical design (Alabdulkarim, 2021:5,379).

In broad terms, blended learning entails the fusion of online content delivery with the salient attributes of traditional classroom interaction and live instruction, facilitating personalised learning, reflective contemplation, and differentiated instruction within a heterogeneous student cohort (Kaur, 2013).

Blended learning hinges on networked technologies for the facilitation of teaching and learning. Consequently, it necessitates careful consideration of delivery mechanisms, such as the utilization of a Learning Management System (LMS), pedagogical approaches that optimally exploit these mechanisms, like learner-centred methodologies, and the delineation of the proportion of engagement transpiring in physical proximity versus remote or online environments. In this regard, blended learning is best construed as “the deliberate amalgamation of face-to-face and online environments to facilitate teaching and learning. The manner of implementation remains contingent upon a plethora of factors, including mechanisms, pedagogies, infrastructure, and capacities” (Perris & Mohee, 2020).

Scholarly literature attests to the affirmative impact of blended learning, not only on the student experience but also on academic performance. It has been associated with enhanced academic outcomes and diminished attrition rates. However, it is noteworthy that students’ perspectives reveal certain challenges inherent to blended approaches, notably feelings of disconnection and a diminishment of the personalised teacher-student relationship within the online milieu. Furthermore, concerns arise regarding both students’ and educators’ proficiency in effectively harnessing technology (Waha & Kate, 2014).

Nurmasitah et al. (2019) have concluded that,

“in some aspects, the implementation of blended learning got a good response. By implementing blended learning, the students and teachers can share learning materials easily, has independent learning, and save time and costs in the learning process. The combination of both traditional and online classes is a productive method that can boost the students to be active in the learning process and they can do a self-evaluation anytime and anywhere without any pressure and intimidated from their classmates”. (Istiqomah, 2021).

Based on the findings of Erdem and Kibar’s (2014) study, which sought to investigate students’ opinions regarding the integration of Facebook into a blended learning environment, it becomes evident that students hold generally favorable views regarding blended learning and its implementation. Notably, the study revealed that students consistently awarded the highest ratings to the face-to-face component of the blended learning approach during the course of its implementation. Nevertheless, students also expressed positive sentiments regarding the blended learning method itself. These findings underscore the potential suitability of Facebook as a tool for facilitating communication and interaction, while the online environment may be well-suited for the dissemination of course content, assignments, and projects (Erdem & Kibar, 2014).

Despite the advantages associated with blended learning, it is essential to acknowledge certain negative aspects of this approach. These drawbacks encompass a lack of clarity in its definition, an increase in students’ cognitive load, challenges faced by educators in grasping the intricacies of the blended learning model, and the inherent complexity of the teaching process (Chen & Lu, 2013, p. 28).

Against this backdrop, it becomes evident that following the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous universities have adopted blended education as a means of ensuring the continuity of learning and enhancing the quality of education. As students have now had the opportunity to experience this novel approach, their perceptions have taken shape, reflecting its potential benefits and the obstacles encountered during its implementation. This study aims to shed light on the actual utilization of blended learning in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify the challenges faced during this unprecedented period.

1. Methodology

1.1. General framework of the study

1.1. Research Questions, Objectives, and Significance

1.1.1. Research Questions

This study endeavors to address the following inquiries:

  • What is the students’ perspective on the actual implementation of blended learning amidst the backdrop of the global COVID-19 pandemic?

  • To what extent do students perceive the significance of utilizing blended learning in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • What are the primary obstacles faced by students when engaging with blended learning during the COVID-19 pandemic?

1.1.2. Research Objectives

The primary objectives of this study encompass:

  • To ascertain the empirical realities surrounding the adoption of blended learning during the COVID-19 pandemic from the vantage point of students.

  • To gauge the perceived importance of integrating blended learning within the framework of the COVID-19 pandemic, as perceived by students.

  • To identify and delineate the key impediments encountered by students when navigating the terrain of blended learning in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

1.1.3. Significance of the Study

The significance of this research is multifaceted:

  • It addresses an underexplored dimension of blended learning within the Algerian educational context. This pedagogical approach was not conventionally embraced but was precipitously implemented as a response to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, thereby ensuring the continuity of academic pursuits, both in physical presence and remotely, following an extended hiatus in formal education.

  • It contributes to the formulation of educational training programs aimed at enhancing the competencies and skills of faculty members and trainees in higher education institutions, equipping them with the requisite proficiency in the blended education paradigm.

  • This study serves as a catalyst for the provision of resources and capabilities necessary to cultivate an optimal interactive learning environment for both educators and students operating within the blended learning framework.

  • By spotlighting the challenges inherent to the educational process in the context of blended learning during emergency situations like the COVID-19 pandemic, this research endeavors to guide strategies and interventions aimed at bolstering effective learning outcomes.

1.2. Procedural Definitions

1.2.1. Blended Learning

Blended Learning is a multifaceted concept that has garnered various interpretations:

  • In contemporary educational technology discourse, Blended Learning conveys the deliberate fusion of face-to-face and online instructional modalities with the overarching goal of catalyzing and facilitating learning. Despite its modern coinage, the practice of melding traditional and digital modes of instruction has been recurrently implemented and studied since the proliferation of information and communication technologies in education (Boelens et al., 2017).

  • The terminology “Blended Learning” is often utilized interchangeably with phrases such as “hybrid,” “mixed-mode,” or “flexible” learning (Müller and Mildenberger, 2021).

  • Graham, Allen, and Ure delineate three principal definitions of Blended Learning, encompassing the amalgamation of instructional modalities, the convergence of instructional methodologies, and the integration of online and face-to-face instruction. Graham’s assertion that the third definition aligns more closely with the historical evolution of blended learning resonates with Colis and Moonen’s characterization of it as a fusion of traditional classroom-based instruction with online learning, the latter serving as a natural extension of the former (Gulnaz et al., 2020, pp. 331-332).

  • Garrison and Vaughan (2008) conceive of blended learning as a fundamental restructuring that fundamentally transforms teaching and learning methodologies. In this context, Blended Learning denotes a confluence of activities and instructional components encompassing in-person classes and digital activities and assignments, often facilitated through online platforms (Abbas, 2018, p. 102).

In summation, while researchers converge on a common definition of Blended Learning, nuances persist, with some scholars offering narrower interpretations while others furnish comprehensive expositions. It is imperative to underscore that the efficacy of Blended Learning hinges upon the availability of conducive educational environments and requisite support mechanisms, both for educators and learners.

1.2.2. Advantages of Blended Learning

Blended Learning synthesizes the advantages and drawbacks of traditional face-to-face instruction and online learning. Its merits encompass:

  • Empowering learners with greater autonomy over their educational content, pace of learning, and flexibility in terms of when and where learning transpires (Elgohary et al., 2022).

  • Transitioning from passive to active learning, thereby fostering learner engagement through activities that necessitate reading, speaking, listening, and critical thinking.

  • Tailoring learning content to accommodate diverse learning styles, bolstering the likelihood of students achieving course objectives and mitigating dropout rates, enhancing test scores, and increasing student motivation (Kaur, 2013, p. 616).

  • Enhancing personalization, individualization, and relevance in education by enabling instructors to tailor content to the distinct needs of different student cohorts.

  • Facilitating under-enrolled programs, reducing faculty teaching burdens, and optimizing cost-effectiveness for educational institutions.

  • Providing students with a flexible learning experience, enabling access and engagement with educational content at their convenience.

  • Supplying abundant learning resources that bolster learner confidence and competence.

  • Furnishing prompt feedback to students, supporting their learning journey.

  • Alleviating the constraints of traditional learning by affording learners the freedom to choose when and where they engage with their educational materials.

  • Encouraging learner responsibility and self-motivation.

  • Promoting collaborative activities between teachers and students, enhancing student satisfaction and academic performance.

  • Broadening access to education by accommodating diverse learning modalities (Srivastava, 2014).

  • Expanding learning opportunities beyond the confines of physical classrooms (Moalosi et al., 2016).

  • Cultivating technological proficiency and digital fluency among students.

  • Nurturing qualities like self-motivation, self-responsibility, and discipline.

  • Updating course content to rejuvenate established curricula (Kiran & Dangwal, 2017, p. 133).

1.2.3. Challenges Encountered in Blended Learning

The adoption of a blended learning strategy is not without its share of challenges, which may impede the quality of the learning process and hinder its widespread adoption across various educational settings. Notable challenges include:

  • Technological prerequisites, encompassing hardware, software, and internet connectivity with adequate bandwidth. Insufficient access to these resources can create systematic disparities in access to education.

  • Systemic challenges such as a lack of clear institutional policies, faculty support, and adequate technological infrastructure.

  • Low levels of technological proficiency and computer literacy among both educators and students.

  • Language barriers, as many educational tools and platforms are primarily developed in English.

  • Physical impediments such as the scarcity of computers, software, and networks, compounded by their high cost (Al-Muaqil, 2017).

  • An absence of self-pacing and self-direction in the learning process.

  • Insufficient mechanisms for monitoring student attendance and addressing their concerns.

  • Challenges stemming from the pressure faced by educators in responding to student inquiries and maintaining continuous contact with a large number of students.

  • Difficulties associated with the integration of technology, including frustration, misunderstandings, irritation, and discomfort, which can negatively impact productivity, social relationships, and overall academic achievement (Fakhir, 2015, p. 22).

  • Variability in students’ preparedness for self-directed learning and management of their own learning paths (Cleveland-Innes & Wilton, 2018, p. 31).

  • Lack of immediate feedback and monitoring mechanisms for students (Samawi, 2021, p. 28).

In conclusion, the successful implementation of blended learning necessitates the identification and mitigation of these challenges to optimize the learning experience for both educators and students.

1.3. Previous Studies

A significant body of research has investigated various aspects of blended learning, shedding light on the multifaceted nature of this pedagogical approach. Some noteworthy studies that contribute to the discourse include:

  1. Tariq Muwaffaq Sahri Al-Taie (2021) conducted a study titled “The reality of using blended learning in teaching physics at the secondary stage from the point of view of its teachers.” This research sought to ascertain the extent to which male and female physics teachers in Mosul employed blended learning. The study involved 99 teachers and employed a questionnaire with 33 five-point Likert scale items. The findings indicated a medium level of blended learning implementation among male and female physics teachers in Mosul (Al-Taie, 2021).

  2. Lalin Abbacan-Tuguic (2021) conducted a study titled “Challenges of the New Normal: Students’ Attitude, Readiness and Adaptability to Blended Learning Modality.” This research explored students’ attitudes and readiness for blended learning, aiming to determine their adaptability to this modality. The study used 508 questionnaires and virtual interviews with 25 participants, employing both quantitative and qualitative analyses. Findings highlighted technological challenges, a positive student attitude, and a moderate readiness for blended learning, with a negative correlation between attitude and readiness (Abbacan-Tuguic, 2021).

  3. Rania Ratib Samawi (2021) conducted a study titled “The Status of Using Blended Learning in Teaching English Language at the Basic Stage from the Teachers’ Point of View.” This research aimed to identify the degree of blended learning usage in teaching English at the primary level from teachers’ perspectives. The study employed an analytical descriptive approach and questionnaires, revealing a moderate level of blended learning adoption among teachers. The study also identified obstacles, primarily the lack of training courses related to blended learning (Samawi, 2021).

  4. Assabi Ali Ressam Hadjed (2019) conducted a study titled “The Reality of Using Blended Learning from Teachers of Arabic Language Perspective in Teaching Elementary Students.” This research sought to assess the reality of blended learning usage by male and female Arabic language teachers in teaching elementary students. The study involved 250 teachers and used arithmetic means for data analysis. The findings indicated an intermediate level of blended learning implementation, along with a high level of associated challenges (Hadjed, 2019).

  5. Ibraheem Abdulaziz Almuaqel (2018) conducted research titled “The Reality and Barriers of University Blended Learning for Students with Disability; the Experience of the Saudi Electronic University.” This study aimed to identify the reality and obstacles of blended learning for students with disabilities in Saudi Arabia. The research encompassed 50 students with disabilities at the Saudi Electronic University. The findings revealed a combined high and medium level of blended learning reality, with no significant differences based on personal and demographic variables (Almuaqel, 2018).

  6. Waha and Davis (2014) conducted a study investigating students’ perceptions of combining online and face-to-face activities in a master’s program in library and information science. The study involved 23 students and employed both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. Students expressed favorable views toward the blended learning model, emphasizing its flexibility and convenience (Waha & Davis, 2014).

  7. Smyth et al. (2012) conducted a qualitative study on first-year postgraduate students in Ireland’s School of Nursing and Midwifery. This research aimed to uncover the benefits and challenges of blended learning. Findings indicated that students favored blended learning for its accessibility and flexibility, as it facilitated studying and personalized learning. Challenges included social interaction limitations and issues related to feedback and internet connectivity (Smyth et al., 2012).

  8. Sagarra & Zapata (2008) offered suggestions for optimizing online workbooks, materials, and feedback methods to enhance the user-friendliness of online learning. This study revealed that students found computer-assisted language learning (CALL) helpful in improving linguistic skills and expressed positive sentiments about online homework (Sagarra & Zapata, 2008).

While these studies have enriched our understanding of blended learning in diverse contexts, it is noteworthy that most of them were conducted under normal conditions. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, a comprehensive national or international study addressing blended learning in such conditions remains scarce, highlighting the need for research to fill this gap and align with the present study’s objectives, sample selection, and research methodologies.

1.4. Field Study Methodology

In the pursuit of this research endeavor, a meticulously structured methodology was meticulously employed to guarantee the utmost rigor in the collection and subsequent analysis of data, as delineated in the following sections:

The research adopted a descriptive approach, a methodology particularly well-suited for providing an authentic representation of a given phenomenon while enabling quantitative scrutiny of the amassed data, encompassing problem categorization and in-depth analysis.

Furthermore, it is noteworthy that the research was carried out during the month of January, corresponding to the academic year spanning from 2021 to 2022. The scope of this investigation was delimited to the confines of the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities.

1.4.1. Sample Selection

The primary focus of this study was the students of the University Center Morsli Abdallah in Tipaza, comprising a total of 16,955 students. The main research sample consisted of 200 university students, encompassing 50 males and 150 females, all from the Institute of Social and Human Sciences. A simple random sampling method, utilizing number tables, was employed for sample selection. Additionally, a pilot study sample comprising 150 male and female students and an exploratory study sample consisting of 150 male and female students from the Morsli Abdullah University Center were included.

Table 1. Sample Characteristics

Sample Characteristics

Frequency

Ratio

Gender Male

50

25%

Female

150

75%

Total

200

100%

1.4.2. Study Instrument

The research instrument developed to assess the reality of blended learning and its obstacles among university students underwent a comprehensive validation process.

1.4.2.1. Exposition of Instrument in its First Form:

  1. Validity Test:

  • Apparent Validity: The tool’s validity was ensured by subjecting it to evaluation by a panel of experts and specialists, leading to modifications based on their feedback.

  • Internal Consistency Validity: Internal consistency validity was established by calculating correlation coefficients between individual items and the total score. All items demonstrated statistical significance except for items 29, 30, 31, and 32.

  1. Reliability Test: The reliability of the instrument was assessed using Cronbach’s Alpha coefficient, yielding a value of 0.64, indicating an acceptable level of internal consistency.

Table 2. The reliability test by calculating the Cronbach-Alpha coefficient for the questionnaire for blended learning

Alpha Cronbach

Number of elements

sample

0.64

32

100

1.4.2.2. Exposition of Instrument in its Final Form:

The final instrument comprised three axes:

  1. First Axis: Assessing the reality of blended education, encompassing 6 items (1, 4, 6, 16, 18, 27).

  2. Second Axis: Evaluating the importance of using blended learning, comprising 9 items (5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 17, 20, 28).

  3. Third Axis: Exploring obstacles related to blended learning, involving 13 items (2, 3, 10, 11, 14, 15, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26).

1.4.2.3. The Method of Scoring

The Likert scale was employed in the study, encompassing four response options: Disagree (1), Somewhat Agree (2), Agree (3), Strongly Agree (4). Items were scored positively in ascending order (1, 2, 3) for positive statements and inversely for negative statements (3, 2, 1).

1.4.2.4. Interpretation of Scores:

Arithmetic means of student responses were interpreted using the following scale:

Table 3. Interpretation of Arithmetic Mean Scores

Arithmetic Mean

Degree of Approval

1.00 - less than 1.66

Lowest degree

1.66 - less than 2.32

Medium degree

2.32 - 3.00

Highest degree

This methodology ensured the rigorous evaluation of the instrument’s reliability and validity and facilitated the collection of data required for a comprehensive analysis of the study’s objectives.

2. Data Analysis, findings and discussion

In the course of this study, various statistical methods were employed to analyze the data, encompassing percentages, frequencies, arithmetic means, standard deviations, and ranges. Furthermore, a correlation coefficient was utilized to gauge validity, and the reliability coefficient Alpha Cronbach was employed to assess reliability.

This section presents a comprehensive analysis of the study’s findings to address the following three questions:

2.1. First Question

The first question seeks to determine the students’ perspective on the actual implementation of blended learning amidst the backdrop of the global COVID-19 pandemic. To answer this question, means and standard deviations were computed to assess the students’ viewpoint on blended learning.

Table 4. Means and Standard Deviations for the Reality of Blended Learning from the Students’ Point of View

Items

Mean

Standard Deviation

Degree of Approval

1

The way to use blended learning is suitable for me

2.40

0.60

Medium

6

I am not convinced of the feasibility of using the blended learning system

2.39

0.58

Medium

4

If it wasn’t for Corona’s need, I wouldn’t have accepted the idea of blended learning

2.39

0.64

Medium

18

I constantly follow the lessons through the blended learning system

2.35

0.69

Medium

16

I am excited to study in the blended learning system

2.31

0.63

Medium

27

I love studying in light of the blended learning system regardless of any circumstance

2.39

0.58

Medium

Average Axis

2.34

0.29

Medium

Table 4 illustrates that the overall mean for this axis was 2.34, denoting a medium degree of approval. The arithmetic means for the individual items within this axis ranged from 2.18 to 2.39, all within the medium degree of approval. This outcome suggests that, from the students’ viewpoint, there is a medium-level acceptance of blended learning. This conclusion aligns with the findings of Rania Ratib Samawi’s study “The Status of Using Blended Learning in Teaching English Language at the Basic Stage from the Teachers’ Point of View,” which also reported a medium degree of acceptance. In contrast, Assabi Ali Ressam Hadjed’s (2019) study yielded results indicating a higher degree of acceptance.

This result can be attributed to the unique circumstances created by the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced students into their first experience with blended learning, thereby affecting their perception of it.

2.2. Second Question

The second question investigates the importance of utilizing the blended learning during the Covid-19 pandemic from the students’ perspective. To address this question, means and standard deviations were calculated to gauge the perceived importance of blended learning.

Table 5. Means and Standard Deviations for the Importance of Blended Learning from the Students’ Point of View

Items

Mean

Standard Deviation

Degree of Approval

7

Using blended learning has increased my interaction with the teacher and my classmates

2.38

0.58

Medium

17

Blended learning helped me to realize good academic achievement

2.38

0.60

Medium

5

The blended learning system is more flexible than any other educational system

2.35

0.62

Medium

13

The use of blended learning has increased my understanding of educational materials

2.32

0.62

Medium

9

Blended learning helps me to get more information faster

2.32

0.63

Medium

8

Blended learning helps me to achieve autonomy in receiving and retaining information

2.30

0.64

Medium

28

The blended learning method is more attractive to learn than others

2.27

0.74

Medium

20

Blended learning increases my motivation to study

2.25

0.67

Medium

12

Using blended learning helped me how to exploit time and effort

2.20

0.70

Medium

Average Axis

2.31

0.32

Medium

Table 5 presents the results, indicating that the overall mean for this axis was 2.31, reflecting a medium degree of approval. The individual item means within this axis ranged from 2.20 to 2.38, all falling within the medium degree of approval. This suggests a medium level of importance placed on blended learning from the students’ viewpoint. This result aligns with qualitative data analysis that suggested online lessons were unengaging for some students due to communication difficulties with teachers and issues with online platforms (Sriwichai, 2020).

However, it contradicts the findings of Gehishan’s study (2015), which highlighted the positive impact of blended learning on English language skills. It is important to consider that these results may be influenced by the conditions and preparedness of students and institutions to fully embrace blended learning.

2.3. Third Question

The third question examines the obstacles faced by students when engaging with blended learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. To answer this question, means and standard deviations were computed. To answer this question, means and standard deviations were computed.

Table 6. Means and Standard Deviations for Obstacles in Using Blended Learning from the Students’ Point of View

Items

Mean

Standard Deviation

Degree of Approval

19

Weak language abilities of students to deal with blended learning

2.69

0.54

Highest

11

The classroom space is not suitable for blended learning

2.58

0.65

Highest

3

Students’ lack of computer skills and the blended learning system

2.58

0.63

Highest

22

Difficulty to absorb lessons in light of blended learning system

2.56

0.63

Highest

23

Difficulty dealing with online inquiries

2.53

0.64

Highest

26

Lack of halls equipped with modern technologies

2.51

0.57

Highest

2

Not having enough resources to deal with this new style of education like computers and the internet

2.49

0.65

Medium

15

Frequent disconnections while using blended learning

2.46

0.66

Medium

21

Preoccupation with non-blended learning sites

2.39

0.69

Medium

10

Difficulty interacting with the teacher in the large class

2.43

0.68

Medium

25

The difficulty of providing a variety of exercises in light of the blended learning system

2.42

0.67

Medium

14

Lack of technical support for a blended learning system

2.39

0.67

Medium

24

Lack of educational activities that support the employment of blended education

2.34

0.68

Medium

Average Axis

2.49

0.29

Medium

Table 6 demonstrates that the overall mean for this axis was 2.49, signifying a medium degree of approval. The individual item means within this axis ranged from 2.34 to 2.69, with standard deviations ranging from 0.54 to 0.59. These results suggest that students perceive both medium and high-level obstacles in using blended learning. This outcome concurs with the findings of Lalin Abbacan-Tuguic’s study (2021), which highlighted technological lapses, including the unavailability of educational devices and unreliable internet connectivity.

Conclusion

The reasons for these obstacles can be attributed to the relative novelty of blended learning in the Algerian educational context, as it was swiftly implemented as an urgent solution to ensure learning continuity during the Covid-19 pandemic. To enhance blended learning in Algerian universities, several recommendations can be considered:

  • Provision of Infrastructure and Technical Support: Ensuring that adequate technological infrastructure is available to support blended learning.

  • Modernization of Classrooms: Equipping classrooms with modern technologies conducive to blended learning.

  • Diversification of Educational Activities: Implementing a variety of activities to support blended education.

  • Training for Students and Teachers: Organizing training sessions to familiarize both students and educators with blended learning.

  • Integration of Blended Learning: Incorporating blended learning into the regular curriculum and ensuring students are well-prepared to use it in emergencies.

In conclusion, while blended learning has demonstrated numerous advantages, including time and cost savings, improved learning outcomes, and increased accessibility, the findings of this study suggest that its implementation in Algerian universities during the Covid-19 pandemic faced challenges, resulting in a medium level of acceptance and importance. These challenges should be addressed through improved infrastructure, training, and further integration of blended learning into the educational system to fully realize its potential benefits.

This study aimed to assess the utilization of blended learning during the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of students at the Morsli Abdullah University Center in Tipaza. The research objectives focused on understanding the current state of blended learning, evaluating its perceived significance, and identifying the challenges it encounters. A descriptive research approach was employed to address these objectives. The study comprised 200 male and female university students, and data collection was facilitated through a questionnaire consisting of 28 items. The questionnaire underwent validation by a panel of experts to ensure item validity.

Following the validation process, the questionnaire was administered to the study participants. Upon data collection and subsequent statistical analysis, the findings indicated that the implementation of blended learning during the COVID-19 pandemic received an overall medium-level assessment from the students. Furthermore, students attributed a medium level of importance to the utilization of blended learning. The study also uncovered various obstacles associated with blended learning, which were assessed at a medium level.

Blended learning, COVID-19 pandemic, student perspective

هدفت هذه الدراسة إلى تقييم استخدام التعلم المدمج (Blended Learning) خلال جائحة كوفيد-19 من وجهة نظر الطلاب في مركز جامعة مرسلي عبد الله في تيبازة. تركز أهداف البحث على فهم الوضع الحالي للتعلم المدمج وتقييم أهميته المدركة وتحديد التحديات التي تواجهه. تم استخدام نهج بحث وصفي لتحقيق هذه الأهداف. تكونت الدراسة من 200 طالب وطالبة جامعيين، وتم تسجيل البيانات من خلال استبانة تتألف من 28 عنصرًا. خضعت الاستبانة للتحقق من صحة العناصر عن طريق لجنة من الخبراء لضمان صحة العناصر.

بعد عملية التحقق من الصحة، تم توزيع الاستبانة على المشاركين في الدراسة. بعد جمع البيانات والتحليل الإحصائي التالي، أشارت النتائج إلى أن تنفيذ التعلم المدمج خلال جائحة كوفيد-19 حصل على تقييم متوسط عام من الطلاب. علاوة على ذلك، نسب الطلاب أهمية متوسطة لاستخدام التعلم المدمج. كما كشفت الدراسة عن عدة عقبات متعلقة بالتعلم المدمج تم تقييمها على مستوى متوسط.

كلمات مفتاحية: التعلم المدمج، جائحة كوفيد-19، وجهة نظر الطلاب

Cette étude visait à évaluer l’utilisation de l’apprentissage mixte (Blended Learning) pendant la pandémie de COVID-19 du point de vue des étudiants du Centre universitaire Morsli Abdullah à Tipaza. Les objectifs de la recherche se sont concentrés sur la compréhension de l’état actuel de l’apprentissage mixte, l’évaluation de son importance perçue et l’identification des défis auxquels il est confronté. Une approche de recherche descriptive a été utilisée pour atteindre ces objectifs. L’étude a porté sur 200 étudiants universitaires, hommes et femmes, et la collecte de données a été facilitée par le biais d’un questionnaire composé de 28 éléments. Le questionnaire a été soumis à une validation par un panel d’experts pour garantir la validité des éléments.

À la suite du processus de validation, le questionnaire a été administré aux participants à l’étude. Après la collecte des données et l’analyse statistique ultérieure, les résultats ont indiqué que la mise en œuvre de l’apprentissage mixte pendant la pandémie de COVID-19 a reçu une évaluation globale de niveau moyen de la part des étudiants. De plus, les étudiants ont attribué une importance de niveau moyen à l’utilisation de l’apprentissage mixte. L’étude a également révélé divers obstacles associés à l’apprentissage mixte, qui ont été évalués à un niveau moyen.

Apprentissage mixte, pandémie de COVID-19, point de vue des étudiants

Abbacan-Tuguic, L. (2021). Challenges of the New Normal: Students’ Attitude, Readiness, and Adaptability to Blended Learning Modality. International Journal of English Literature and Social Sciences, 6(2), 443-449. https://dx.doi.org/10.22161/ijels.62.65

Abbas, Z. I. (2018). Blended Learning and Student Satisfaction: An Investigation into an EAP Writing Course. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 9(1), 102-105. https://file:///C:/Users/TOSHBA/Downloads/4096-8842-1-SM.pdf

Adas, D., & Bakir, A. (2013). Writing Difficulties and New Solutions: Blended Learning as an Approach to Improve Writing Abilities. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 3(9), 254-266. https://staff.najah.edu/media/sites/default/files/Writing_Difficulti_es_and_New_Solutions__Blended_L_earning_as_an_Approach_to_I_mprove_W_riting_A_bilities.pdf

Alabdulkarim, L. (2021). University health sciences students’ rating for a blended learning course framework. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, 28, 5379–5385. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sjbs.2021.05.059

Al-Muaqil, I. A. A. (2017). The Reality and Obstacles of Blended University Education for People with Disabilities: The Experience of the Saudi Electronic University. Journal of Special Education and Rehabilitation, 5(17), 1-48. [Doi: 10.1281/0038006] (Doi: 10.1281/0038006)

Al-Taie, T. M. S. (2021). The reality of using blended learning in teaching physics at the secondary stage from the point of view of its teachers. College Of Basic Education Research Journal, 17(4), 671-692. [Doi: 10.33899/berj.2022.170317] (Doi: 10.33899/berj.2022.170317)

Al-Shahwan, U. M. H. (2014). The impact of blended learning on direct achievement and reflective thinking for first-year secondary school students in management information systems (Thesis of Magister’s Degree). College of Educational Sciences, Middle East University.

Assabi, A. R. H. (2019). The reality of using blended learning from the point of view of Arabic language teachers in teaching primary school students. The Arab Journal for Scientific Publishing, 21, 553-577.

Boelens, R., De Wever, B., & Voet, M. (2017). Four key challenges to the design of blended learning: A systematic literature review. Educational Research Review, 22, 1-18. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2017.06.001

Bukhari, S. S. F., & Basaffar, F. M. (2019). EFL Learners’ Perception about Integrating Blended Learning in ELT. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on CALL, 5, 190-205. Doi:https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/call5.14

Chango, W., Cerezo, R., & Cristobal, R. (2021). Multi-source and multimodal data fusion for predicting academic performance in blended learning university courses. Computers and Electrical Engineering, 89, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compeleleceng.2020.106908

Chen, S., & Lu, Y. (2013). The Negative Effects and Control of Blended Learning in University. International Conference on Education Technology and Information System (ICETI), Atlantis Press, China. file:///C:/Users/TOSHBA/Downloads/7856.pdf

Cleveland-Innes, M., & Wilton, D. (2018). Guide to Blended Learning. Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Canada. [https://oasis.col.org/colserver/api/core/bitstreams/888d37d6-2e2d-4859-940d-36df969621e5/content] (https://oasis.col.org/colserver/api/core/bitstreams/888d37d6-2e2d-4859

Malika Bakir

Morsli Abdellah University Center -Tipaza

© Tous droits réservés à l'auteur de l'article