Document Type

Dissertation

Rights

This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Publication Details

Dissertation submitted to Dublin Institute of Technology in partial fulfilment of Masters (MA) in Higher Education 2015.

Abstract

This case study reports on the results and experiences of adult learner engagement when using learning supports within a blended learning environment (BLE) in Irish insurance education. Currently, there is a lack of comprehensive research focusing on this area in the professional education sector. This research is of interest to educators who offer a blended ‘bricks and clicks’ model to adult learners within either a professional or a higher education programme. For instance, this blended learning approach model is used at an increased frequency by modern professional education with education programmes shifting from a tutor-centred to more learner-centred approach. From an Irish higher education perspective, the Hunt Report (2011) comments that there is an increasing need for the provision of educational opportunities that differ significantly from the traditional model. Research demonstrates that active adult learner engagement with learning supports in a blended learning environment increases the chances of exam success (Griffin, 2014). Nonetheless, adult learner engagement with both types of learning supports (i.e. face-to-face and in the cloud) varies for The Insurance Institute of Ireland in using this model. This case study, designed from the perspective of an adult learner highlights active and passive engagement with learning supports, levels of satisfaction, attitude and value towards learning supports and post-reflective thoughts towards engagement. The module MDI-01 Insurance and Business Law is used as a case study within the Management Diploma in Insurance (MDI) programme. The case study is supported with both qualitative and quantitative research from 58 professional learners’ engagement over a twentyweek academic term. The results demonstrate that adult learners may differentially prefer certain learning supports in each learning environment or incur certain challenges in engaging with the face-to-face supports. As such, each adult learner tailors their level of engagement to accommodate their learning style and overcome these barriers. From this, the two archetypal environments in the blended learning model can complement each other and accommodate the different learning styles that are inherent to each individual adult learner.

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