Notes: Porter et al. (2016). A qualitative analysis of institutional drivers and barriers to blended learning adoption in higher education.


Porter, W. W., Graham, C. R., Bodily, R. G., & Sandberg, D. S. (2016). A qualitative analysis of institutional drivers and barriers to blended learning adoption in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 28, 17:27. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.iheduc.2015.08.003 Retrieved from http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1096751615000469

An article from the future! (it's not 2016 here yet, but articles from next year are already showing up. Go go, Gibson!)

Interesting paper, tying technology adoption stuff into professional development and support. This leads directly into our Learning Technologies Coaches program. Good timing.

Basically, more courses are going online or blended (LOTS of courses are getting shifted into blended format). Instructors are loosely described in broad categories: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. Ugh. I hate the term laggards for those-who-seem-to-resist.

They follow Graham et al's (2013)1 framework to describe barriers based on institutional strategy, structure, and support.

The researchers did an online survey of instructors at BYU-I, followed up with interviews of a stratified sample of survey respondents.

They found that instructors aren't very trustful of the motivations and demands from Administration, and that they trust their peers because they are “in the trenches.” Man, I hate when people draw on the rhetoric of war when describing how they view teaching. Anyway.

So, instructors like to learn and design with peer instructors. They like one-on-one F2F support while building their blended and online courses, so they can see body language etc. But that seems a bit tone-deaf, when they are talking about building blended and online courses where their students won't have body language cues. Hey. Whatever. Instructors are fun.

Instructors in the study want broadly defined policies, which they can interpret as needed. Guidance from above, without meddling or direct oversight.

“Standardization in terms of definition, and also you can leave it open in terms of how faculty would approach it.”

Makes sense - context-specific implementation of high-level guidance.

They note that infrastructure is a big factor - if the tech isn't reliable, they get stuck. “If a student has a bad experience or difficulty with the technology, it can squelch their interest and excitement for the context of the course.” - We see this all the time. Frustration when network funkiness makes people have to wait or try again or wait and try again or give up and try later. Key bit:

“infrastructure is influential because course work and engagement stop when infrastructure fails during class or when students are completing assigned work.”

The researchers identified a few factors that were described by respondents as things that could help them to be successful in implementing blended learning:

  • course load reductions - give me time!
  • financial stipends - not a big factor. they want time more than anything.
  • tenure and promotion - also not a big deal, if they have the time to do things.

So, give one-on-one mentoring or coaching with peers, give them solid technology platforms, and give them the time to do stuff.


  1. Graham, C.R., Woodfield, W., & Harrison, J.B. (2013). A framework for institutional adoption and implementation of blended learning in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 18, 4â:14.

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