Designing blended learning

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In this topic we will cover:
  • How to design blended learning. This may involve designing a new course, or redesigning an existing face-to-face course to incorporate a blended learning component.

Because the latter is more common, the examples we'll use are based around redesigning an existing face-to-face course. But the principles and concepts are easily applicable to designing a new course.


Case Study: Emilia

The Bachelor of Nursing has an existing course entitled Sociology and health which provides an overview of the key theories and concepts in the field.

Until now, the course has been taught in a 'traditional' face-to-face mode based around large lectures. Now the department sees a need to revamp the course in order to:

  • Provide greater flexibility to learners through the use of technology to access reading and activities in their own time and place. Since the degree now incorporates a greater proportion of work experience where the learners are in hospitals and in the community, and not on-campus, the need for flexible access has increased.
  • Provide access to a wider range of resources and media such as video.
  • Make use of high-quality learning materials which are already freely available on the Internet as Open Educational Resources.
  • Encourage learners to connect with the wider 'sociology of nursing' community.
  • Engage learners with a range of technology-enhanced learning activities.

Because Emilia has a strong sociology component in her qualifications, she has been asked to be part of the small team redesigning this course. She is one of the subject matter experts, while another member has a high level of expertise with blended learning technologies. Another member of the team is designated the project leader to provide overall co-ordination.

In an earlier section, we saw how a structured learning design process provides a framework, whether for designing a new course or redesigning an existing course. See also Learning Design

Templates for the structured process which we use here can be downloaded as rich text and pdf documents from the Moodle site.


Case Study: Emilia

Emilia's team starts the redesign by meeting to discuss the planning template. One of the team members is keen to make some quick decisions about the technology, but the project leader guides the team discussion to the questions in the first section:

Background and rationale

  • What are you doing now?
  • Who are your learners (learner profile)? - entry requirements, enrolment (stair casing etc.)
    • learning preferences, styles
    • access, location, entry skills
  • What do you want/need to change?
  • What is working?
  • What is not working?
  • Why do you want/need to change?
  • How do you get student to engage - currently:
    • with each other?
    • with content?
  • How do you support learners:
    • pastoral?
    • preparation, pre-entry, orientation?
  • Costs and efficiencies - where can costs be reduced? Including: teaching time, classroom use, development costs, equipment, technology and software costs.
  • Aim and Objectives:
    • What is going to be changed?
    • Describe the intention and objectives for doing this.

This first stage of the planning process establishes the purpose and overall direction of the redesign: without such clear goals, the design of specific blended learning strategies can go astray.

The team members share ideas, then the project leader follows up the meeting by completing the first section and circulating a draft so they can move on to the next stage.

OP icon activity.gif


  • Choose an existing face-to-face course which you will redesign as a blended learning course.
  • Download the blended learned redesign template from the Moodle site.
  • Complete section 1 for the existing course you have chosen to redesign.

You may not be able to work in a small team as Emilia has done, but you should aim to get some input and feedback from others.