Non-traditional students’ preferences for learning technologies and impacts on academic self-efficacy | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Accessibility links

Non-traditional students’ preferences for learning technologies and impacts on academic self-efficacy

Blended Learning (BL), combining face-to-face and online elements, has been a topic of discussion for three decades. However, despite its prevalence, the integration of learning technologies has often been approached through the lens of categorising learner cohorts. The current research, co-led by Karen Sutherland and Ginna Brock and a team of esteemed researchers, challenges this conventional approach, emphasising the importance of empirical evidence in understanding the dynamics between non-traditional students and learning technologies. The study, published in the Journal of Computing in Higher Education, looks at the preferences of non-traditional undergraduate students across four campuses of an Australian regional university. Conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, the research aimed to unravel the intricacies of non-traditional students' relationships with learning technologies, their preferences, and the impact on academic self-efficacy within a blended learning framework.

Three key themes emerged: Non-traditional students expressed a strong desire for consistency in the use of BL tools. The relevance of learning technologies to their coursework and effectiveness in aiding comprehension were important considerations. Lecture recordings and video resources were identified as preferred tools for supporting learning, showcasing a need for multimedia formats. Email and Facebook Messenger emerged as preferred communication channels for interactions with peers and academic staff. The study underscores the importance of a quality BL environment that aligns with students' preferences.

This study contributes valuable insights into the preferences of non-traditional students in a blended learning context, offering educators a roadmap to enhance academic self-efficacy through thoughtful integration of technology. As institutions continue to navigate the digital frontier, this research serves as a beacon, guiding the way toward a more inclusive and effective blended learning experience.