The Potential of Blended Learning in Agricultural Education of Ireland

Document Type: Regular articles

Authors

1 School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.

2 School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

3 Teagasc Kildalton Agricultural College, Piltown, Kilkenny, Ireland

Abstract

The management of agricultural education faces on-going challenges to deliver current and effective materials in an approach that takes advantage of developments in education technology. In this article the use of blended learning was compared with the traditional approach for the instruction of theoretical materials in agricultural education. This study used a pre-test, post-test experimental design with agricultural college students. All students were taught using either a traditional or blended methodology. They were subsequently assessed to determine their level of knowledge. Two key findings from this study were highlighted: Firstly, regardless of their age profile all learners achieved significantly better exam results following blended teaching for theoretical material. Secondly, academically weaker students performed significantly better following the blended method of delivery. Key implications arising from this research indicate that the use of the blended method of delivery can increase students acquisition of knowledge for learners of all ages; blended learning can bring text heavy materials to life and makes them more interactive and less mundane; the learning experience and learning outcomes for academically weaker students are improved through the blended learning environment. 

Keywords


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