Adult Learners’ Self- Directed Learning in a Blended Synchronous Learning Environment
Abstract: Blended synchronous learning is gaining traction in higher education as it enables on-site and remote learners to be simultaneously engaged in learning. The blended synchronous learning environment (BSLE) might seem to meet the challenges faced by adult learners and, at the same time, maintain the pedagogical integrity of the lesson. However, it is often presumed that adult learners are able to execute self-directed learning (SDL) processes and competencies within a learning environment. This qualitative study explored the BSLE through the lens of the 16 adult learners enrolled in a Master programme as they exhibit self-directed learning (SDL) behaviours in the accomplishment of the lesson activities. Qualitative content analysis using a priori coding of the open-ended responses of a survey revealed the major factors of SDL exhibited by the learners in the BSLE. Findings from the researchers’ field notes also outlined the crucial elements of the BSLE that can support or hinder the learners’ SDL. The perspectives of the learners in such a learning environment would be crucial to the gaining of deeper understanding of BSLEs. The implications of this research could give rise to the possibility of according learners greater voice in the shaping and implementation of future BSLEs.