Psychological correlates of blended learning in higher education  

Kada O., Brunner E., Zwischenberger R.
First author's affiliation: Carinthia University of Applied Sciences (CUAS), Feldkirchen, Austria

Blended learning, a combination of traditional teaching and e-learning (Akkoyunlu & Yılmaz-Soylu, 2008), is becoming increasingly important in higher education. It can be assumed that psychological variables – like self-efficacy (Bandura, 1966), attitudes (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980) and past behaviour (Velicer & Prohaska, 2008) which have proven useful in the prediction of primarily health behaviour – play a role in the use of blended learning. This assumption was confirmed in several studies. In the context of e-learning Johnson et al. (2008) identified application-specific computer self-efficacy as a significant predictor of course instrumentality, performance and satisfaction. Furthermore, computer self-efficacy predicted nursing students’ intention to use online courses (Tung & Chang, in press, 2008). Computer self-efficacy also predicted attitudes towards computing as well as computing competence (Downey & McMurtrey, 2007). A positive attitude towards e-learning is correlated with a high intensity of computer use and greater experiences with computer-based and web-based training (Link & Marz, 2006). The association of these psychological variables in the context of blended learning in healthcare management study courses of the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences (CUAS) will be investigated. A questionnaire measuring the following aspects was developed: past experience with the blended learning tools of the CUAS, blended learning specific self-efficacy, attitudes towards blended learning, perceived usefulness for study and workplace, and intention to use web applications in the workplace. Students of healthcare management will be surveyed. Full-time and part-time students will be compared. The results will help to identify students in need for additional support. Offering students access to blended learning tools and helping them develop a positive attitude might encourage the use of such technologies in workplace learning.