“It’s the Combination That Works”: Evaluating Student Experiences with a Multi-element Blended Design in First-year Law

 

This mixed method study involved twenty students enrolled in three consecutive intakes of an Australian Bachelor of Laws program’s introductory unit. Pioneering a multi-element blended design, the unit featured three key elements: summary videos, self-test online quizzes and interactive discussion boards. These elements were chosen based on evidence-based research into digital tools found effective in enhancing students’ face-to-face learning experience in blended and fully online designs. The study’s main goal was to evaluate how students utilized these elements and in what ways their previous experiences with blended designs influenced their learning process in this unit. A focus-group and online surveys were used to collect data. Based on literature review, four areas of student experience with this blended designs formed a particular focus of this study: student expectations, support, resources, and collaboration. It was found that students extensively used videos and quizzes for catch-up, revision, and clarification, while discussion boards were not perceived as useful, with students preferring to have discussions face-to-face, in and out of classroom. Findings also indicated that students’ expectations of and previous experiences with blended learning can be leveraged to strengthen blended designs.