Currently criteria for evaluating mixed-mode courses do not go much beyond the paradigmatic level, which poses problems if the evaluator’s preferred paradigm of knowledge construction is not congruent with the course designer’s. A critical realist approach is suggested, using Margaret Archer’s morphogenetic approach to social structure in order to provide a deep-theory explanation for effective integration of ICT in blended learning, moreover, one which does not favour any particular pedagogical epistemology. This is because critical realism provides a meta-theory for exploring causality at the ontological level, and accepts the existence of diverse epistemological positions in its ontology, rather than prescribing educational belief and value systems. The proposed framework will be illustrated by applying it to three best-practice mixed mode courses designed for undergraduate lecturing, staff induction and research capacity building respectively. It is hoped that this application of a deep-theory explanation will not only identify for practitioners the elements which are likely to result in effective mixed mode course design, but will also explain why this is so. This study is part of an ongoing project being carried out at a university of technology, and is intended to contribute to a theory of hypermedia communication based on social functioning.
|Keywords:||Blended Learning, Higher Education, Critical Realism, Morphogenesis|
Retired Professor, Directorate of Research and Postgraduate Support, Research, Technology Innovation and Partnerships (RTIP), Durban University of Technology, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa