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Blended learning is defined as a combination of face-to-face instruction and online learning activities (Bonk & Graham, 2006; Graham, 2006; Marsh, Pountney & Prigg, 2008). According to So and Brush (2008), blended learning combines the advantages of both face-to-face learning and online technologies to deliver learning. Online learning can be complimentary to face-to-face learning by providing students with access to learning resources, facilitating communication, and collaborative working with peers and teachers (Garrison & Kanuka, 2004). In our changing society, with a growing demand for lifelong learning, learners especially lifelong learners can benefit from blended Education. More and more educational institutions provide blended learning environments to meet students’ educational and economical needs. Blended learning can increase adult learners’ access to education and facilitate the challenging combination of work and study. In addition, the use of authentic learning tasks and online collaboration in blended learning facilitates student centered and active learning (Ginns & Ellis, 2007). However, blended learning also faces a number of challenges, such as dropout, sustainability, copyright issues, and social presence (Andresen, 2009; Hara & Kling, 2002; Persell, 2004; Stracke, 2007).
The purpose of this study is to evaluate part of a competence based blended learning program for teacher education in a center for adult education in Flanders, Belgium. During one year, student teachers are trained in a blended learning environment, combining an online theoretical component - off-campus (30 ECTS), and practical training - on-campus (15 ECTS). They are expected to acquire teacher competences as outlined in the amended decree (2007) describing the professional profiles and basic competences for teachers by the Flemish government (1998). The blended learning program was designed for the purpose of coaching and assessing student teachers during this process.
During two consecutive years the student teachers enrolled in the blended program were invited to fill in a questionnaire to evaluate the blended learning programme. In total 18 students participated in the study. The questionnaire consisted of a set of propositions to be rated on a 4 point Likert-scale and two open questions. Collected data were analyzed quantitatively using descriptive statistics. Answers on the open questions were coded qualitatively. The age range of the student teachers was from 20-49. All student teachers had previously completed at least bachelor education.
The results show that the student teachers evaluated positively the structure of the on-line sessions (M=3.50, SD=0.62) and offered technical support (M=3.33, SD=0.69). The amount of face-to-face sessions was regarded as sufficient (M=3.71, SD=0.59) and its content was seen as relevant (M=3.28, SD=0.75). The combination of