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Definitions: Theoretical background relevant to technology facilitated social learning
Research evidence: Systematic literature reviews on the theme of technology facilitated social learning

Active Blended learning

A new pedagogical model  Active Blended Learning (ABL) has become the normal mode of delivery for learning and teaching at the University of Northampton based on the effective use of blended learning approaches, and on making strong, explicit links between on and offline activities.

ABL image

Definition of Active Blended Learning:

The programme is taught through student-centred activities that support the development of subject knowledge and understanding, independent learning and digital fluency. Our face-to-face teaching is facilitated in a practical and collaborative manner, clearly linked to learning activity outside the classroom. Opportunities are provided for students to develop autonomy, Changemaker attributes and employability skills.

A recent report investigated barriers to student engagement in ABL (Palmer et. al., 2017). Students valued multimedia approaches, dynamic ways of engaging with content, active online tasks that gave them a chance to do things, classroom work extending online work, and the chance to contribute to developing understanding within a group. They recognised that relationships were crucial to the success of active blended learning and emphasised the importance of socialisation and collaboration within the online work (Palmer et. al, 2017).

Recommendations from this report include:
- Connect face to face and online components together
- Ensure that staff are regularly visible online.
- Vary the tools and types of activity. Be creative – mix up options.
- Foster a positive, experimental attitude towards technology for learning through creative experimentation.  
- Establish relationships with and between students through frequent and constructive online, as well as offline, interaction.
- Do not assume that online social interaction happens ‘naturally’. Embed it, expect it, and facilitate it.
- Encourage interaction with content through concrete doing or producing activities.
- Embed small passive tasks (reading, watching or listening) into active tasks.  
- Make use of quizzes, blogs, wikis, discussions, collaborative projects and documents, etc.
- Work towards ‘knowledge creation’, i.e. students creating content themselves.
- Encourage peer-to-peer and tutor interaction
- Make use of student-generated content as “your presentation”.

Read more about Active Blended Learning here:


Palmer, E., Lomer, S and Bashliyska, I. (2017) Overcoming barriers to student engagement with Active Blended Learning Available at: [Accessed 12/06/17]