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KOREA'S BLENDED LEARNING IN NURSING: ISSUES AND THE WAY FORWARD

Claire Su-Yeon Park
Center for Econometric Optimization in the Nursing Workforce, Republic of Korea
lachael@daum.net


Correspondence to: Claire Su-Yeon Park, Center for Econometric Optimization in the Nursing Workforce, Republic of Korea, Email: lachael@daum.net


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Journal of Learning and Teaching in Digital Age 2017. © 2017. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Blended learning is receiving significant scholarly attention in Korean nursing education for a number of reasons: the downsizing of universities due to low birth rates; the high demand for nurses in a super-aged society; and nursing’s distinctive characteristics, i.e., theory-driven practical scholarship (Park, 2016). However, the lack of scholarly evidence on this subject suggests that current nursing scholarship is not satisfying the needs of the times. This article thus addressed problems in the current literature on Korea’s blended learning in nursing and suggested a way forward for the future.

A rigorous literature review and synthesis were conducted from July 01 to August 10, 2016 using an electronic database operated by Korea Education & Research Information Service. The key words were “blended learning” and “nursing.” The search result included twelve publications on “blended learning” and “nursing” in Korea and thirty publications on “blended learning” and “nursing” in other countries. All articles were first scrutinized by the author for relevance to blended learning in nursing and were then compared and synthesized.

Korean articles had straight research structures from central casting in contrast to the articles from other countries. Specifically, these structures included 1) an ambiguous definition of the scope of blended learning: i.e., multiple instructional methods or delivery media, rather than an integration of technology-mediated instruction into a face-to-face (F2F) learning environment (Bonk & Graham, 2005); “enhancing blends[1]” rather than “enabling blends” or “transforming blends” (Bonk & Graham, 2005, see Table 1: Different categories of blended learning systems), 2) a very small sample size with a limited location, 3) the use of very basic descriptive statistical analyses, 4) undifferentiated types of a blended learning: i.e., most articles referred to blended learning in nursing education as on-line lectures for a few hours plus face-to-face lectures or practicum. Flipped learning and Virtual-reality-based (VR) education were nonexistent in Korean nursing literature despite the fact that these have already entered US and UK publications, 5) the use of clichéd variables such as “self-efficacy,” “satisfaction,” “motivation,” and “self-directed learning ability,” and 6) a study design lacking in scientific rigor.

Blended learning is significantly and rapidly transforming our education environment. This change is accordingly accelerating improved pedagogy toward interactive rather than transmissive learning, increased learner-centered access/flexibility, and enhanced cost savings. Considering that practice is vital in nursing education, “mixed-reality and problem-based embedded training” (Kirkley & Kirkley, 2005, pp. 533-549; Kirkley & Kirkley, 2007, pp. 42-53) such as “Live-Virtual-Constructive Simulations” (Wisher, 2005, pp. 519-532) are expected to play a key role in ensuring well-equipped nurses in the near future.

However, scholarly preparations to embrace advanced technology-based innovation in nursing education are, at present, insufficient. Before trying to present empirical study findings on the effects of blended learning in nursing education, 1) a clear definition and scope of blended learning must be established, 2) theories, models, and ethical considerations in the context of nursing education should be developed, and 3) the nursing science community must reach a consensus on the first two points. On this solid foundation, future research can be built. 

REFERENCES

Bonk, C. J. & Graham, C. R. (Eds.). (2005). Handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs. San Francisco, CA, USA: Pfeiffer Publishing.

Kirkley, J. R., & Kirkley, S. E. (2005). Expanding the boundaries of blended learning: Transforming learning with mixed and virtual reality technologies. In C. J. Bonk & C. R. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs (pp. 533-549). San Francisco, CA, USA: Pfeiffer Publishing.

Kirkley, S. E., & Kirkley J. R. (2007). Creating next generation blended learning environments using mixed reality, video games and simulations. TechTrends, 49(3), 42-53.

Park, C. S. (2016). Nursing education's future: Blended learning [Editorial]. Journal of Learning and Teaching in Digital Age, 1(1), 2. Retrieved from http://joltida.org/index.php/joltida/article/view/2

Wisher, R. A. (2005). Blended learning in military training. In C. J. Bonk & C. R. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs (pp. 519-532). San Francisco, CA, USA: Pfeiffer Publishing.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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Journal of Learning and Teaching in Digital Age. All rights reserved, 2016. ISSN:2458-8350