Blended Learning: The Importance of Design
A study carried out by the Stanford Research Institute (SRI International)  Center for Technology in Learning, on behalf of the US Department of Education, and involving a meta-analysis of over 1000 empirical studies of online learning from 1996-2008, found that students in blended learning settings performed better than students in fully online and fully face-to-face environments. However, the differences were found to be the effect of redesigning the learning experience to make the most of the face-to-face and online learning environments.

 Designing for learning and understanding is the key to effective teaching.  Learning design involves deliberate choices about what, when, where and how to teach.  It involves decisions about the learning goals and intended outcomes, content, structure, timing, pedagogical strategies, types and sequencing of learning activities, and type and frequency of assessment in the course.   Also important are decisions about what media and technology will be used to support learning. A critical goal of effective design is ensuring that the major components of the  course - course goals and learning outcomes, assessment, content and learning activities – are constructively aligned.

It has been said that designing a course for learning is similar to completing a jigsaw puzzle in that some pieces will not fit first time.  It is an iterative process, and a complete picture requires careful consideration of alternative options.

The CETL offers a number of face-to-face, online and blended workshops and courses to help faculty develop the knowledge and skills necessary for designing and delivering high quality blended courses.  These include a wide range of hands-on workshops focusing on the use of the elearning technologies, and the following more comprehensive courses:
  • Planning Your Blended Course
  • Making Effective Use of the Virtual Learning Environment
  • eAssessment
For further information or to register for a course, contact the E-Learning and Media Services Unit at

Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning(CETL)
Tel: (246) 417-4204