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      Blended learning in health education: three case studies

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          Abstract

          Blended learning in which online education is combined with face-to-face education is especially useful for (future) health care professionals who need to keep up-to-date. Blended learning can make learning more efficient, for instance by removing barriers of time and distance. In the past distance-based learning activities have often been associated with traditional delivery-based methods, individual learning and limited contact. The central question in this paper is: can blended learning be active and collaborative? Three cases of blended, active and collaborative learning are presented. In case 1 a virtual classroom is used to realize online problem-based learning (PBL). In case 2 PBL cases are presented in Second Life, a 3D immersive virtual world. In case 3 discussion forums, blogs and wikis were used. In all cases face-to-face meetings were also organized. Evaluation results of the three cases clearly show that active, collaborative learning at a distance is possible. Blended learning enables the use of novel instructional methods and student-centred education. The three cases employ different educational methods, thus illustrating diverse possibilities and a variety of learning activities in blended learning. Interaction and communication rules, the role of the teacher, careful selection of collaboration tools and technical preparation should be considered when designing and implementing blended learning.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Multimedia Learning

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            Problem-based learning: future challenges for educational practice and research.

            Problem-based learning (PBL) is widely used in higher education. There is evidence available that students and faculty are highly satisfied with PBL. Nevertheless, in educational practice problems are often encountered, such as tutors who are too directive, problems that are too well-structured, and dysfunctional tutorial groups. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that PBL has the potential to prepare students more effectively for future learning because it is based on four modern insights into learning: constructive, self-directed, collaborative and contextual. These four learning principles are described and it is explained how they apply to PBL. In addition, available research is reviewed and the current debate in research on PBL is described. It is argued that problems encountered in educational practice usually stem from poor implementation of PBL. In many cases the way in which PBL is implemented is not consistent with the current insights on learning. Furthermore, it is argued that research on PBL should contribute towards a better understanding of why and how the concepts of constructive, self-directed, collaborative and contextual learning work or do not work and under what circumstances. Examples of studies are given to illustrate this issue.
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              Multimedia learning

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                +31-43-3881827 , +31-43-3884162 , n.dejong@maastrichtuniversity.nl
                Journal
                Perspect Med Educ
                Perspect Med Educ
                Perspectives on Medical Education
                Bohn Stafleu van Loghum (Houten )
                2212-2761
                2212-277X
                24 January 2014
                24 January 2014
                September 2014
                : 3
                : 4
                : 278-288
                Affiliations
                [ ]Department of Health Services Research, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, the Netherlands
                [ ]Coventry University, Coventry, UK
                [ ]Institute of Primary Care and Public Health, Academic Lead for eLearning, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
                [ ]Department of Educational Development and Research, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands
                Article
                108
                10.1007/s40037-014-0108-1
                4152467
                24458338
                © The Author(s) 2014

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.

                Categories
                Original Article
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2014

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