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Can "Blended Learning" Be Redeemed?


E-Learning Volume 2, Number 1, ISSN 1741-8887


Although the term "blended learning" is widely used, this article argues against it. Two arguments are advanced. The first is primarily philosophical, although it has several pragmatic implications. It proposes that "blending" either relies on the idea of dichotomies which are suspect within the context of learning with technology or else becomes ineffective as a discriminating concept and is thus without purpose. The implication of this is that the term "blended" should either be abandoned or, at the least, radically reconceived. The second argument proposes that learning, from the perspective of the learner, is rarely, if ever, the subject of blended learning. What is actually being addressed are forms of instruction, teaching, or at best, pedagogies. The implication of this is that the term "learning" should be abandoned. The second half of the article attempts to redeem the concept of blended learning by arguing that learning gains attributed to blended learning may have their explanation in variation theory. It offers a new way to conceptualise what is being "blended" that is theoretically coherent, philosophically defensible and pragmatically informative. The article concludes by setting an agenda for further work in this area.


Oliver, M. & Trigwell, K. (2005). Can "Blended Learning" Be Redeemed?. E-Learning, 2(1), 17-26. Retrieved September 25, 2020 from .

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