Blended learning is the topic of the action research plan. The research will compare a traditional teacher-led BIM (Business Information Management) classroom to the current blended learning model. The study will compare one teacher’s traditional classes and another teachers classes implementing blended learning. The blended learning environment combines traditional teaching methods with online resources (Horn & Staker, 2015). The model that will be used in the classroom study, consists of students being provided choices with how they learn content. Students are given the option to watch that a video created by the BIM teacher, or follow along with teacher-led instruction. This allows students opportunities to work at their own pace, or have small group instruction with the teacher. The traditional classroom will consist of teachers providing the lesson through teacher-led instruction only. Students will not have a choice in which they learn, and will not be provided additional learning methods.
The students that will be part of this action research plan will be eighth grade students taking the BIM (Business Information Management) course at a North Texas suburban middle school. It is important to note that this is an elective high school credit course offered to eighth grade students only. This course is self-select, and students have all chosen to take this course. The teachers participating in this research are from core content areas and electives, all with experience in a blended learning environment. The current demographic for the current BIM classes for the 2017-2018 school year across the campus was: 48.7% White, 17.1% Hispanic, 17.1% Asian, and 17.1% African American. The gender for these courses was 32% female and 65% male. This demographic will be re-assessed for calendar year of 2018-2019, but it is predicted for the demographics to be similar.
The purpose of this study is to form research based conclusions based on evidence of how the traditional model compares to blended learning. The research will measure both student engagement and student achievement through blended learning. Case studies that have been conducted at a broad level have shown that when students are provided a blended learning model, student learning increases (Horn & Staker, 2015). However this research was conducted at a wide-range and may or may not applicable to Middle School students in a BIM (Business Information Management) course. To conduct a proper action research plan, it is important to use specific questions to investigate (Mertler, 2016). These questions should be open ended, include an appropriate scope of content, be unbiased, ethical, and structured for the possibility to provide answers. The study following questions have been formed following these guidelines:
What is the effect on student engagement when Ford Middle School BIM students learn content through a blended learning model?
What is the effect on student achievement when Ford Middle School BIM students learn content through a blended learning model?
Qualitative and quantitative are the most appropriate combination to effectively answer the research questions. The qualitative data will provide opportunities for students and teachers to express their opinions, while quantitative data will provide a statistical analysis using various collection methods (Mertler, 2016). The combination of using both methods may provide a better understanding of the problem, than using one method alone. The mix of these types of research will provide strength in the research and confidence of formed conclusions. In the following plan, phase two provides an updated timeline timeline of when the action research will be conducted.
This focus of the literature review provides information from several published articles, case studies and other resources examining the effects of implementing blended learning in the classroom. The majority of these reports provide documentation explaining the benefits of transitioning a traditional classroom to blended learning. The blended learning model provides a learning environment for students to have choices in their learning and access to online resources. These choices provide increased engagement appropriate for 21st century students to improve learning. The obstacles regarding blended learning revolve around schools unable to apply the model effectively, teachers’ lack of technical training, and teacher’s attitudes towards implementing technological devices. When teachers are not effectively implementing blended learning, lack the skills needed, and proper belief in blended learning benefits, there is no difference in student engagement. The literature review has been a resource in creating appropriate questions to study and developing an action research plan.
Horn, M., B., & Staker, H. (2015). Blended. San Francisco: Josey-Bass. Mertler, C. A. (2016). Action research: Improving schools and empowering educators (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. ISBN-13: 978-1483389059