‘I Couldn’t Join the Session’: Benefits and Challenges of Blended Learning amid COVID-19 from EFL Students


  •  Nada Bin Dahmash    

Abstract

COVID-19 has changed the process of teaching considerably, as educational institutions around the world moved to adopt blended learning initiatives to ensure continuity, while managing the spread of this infectious disease. All Saudi Arabia’s universities have continued to deliver courses via digital platforms. This study draws on traditional views about blended learning (Sharma, 2010) and examines the pedagogical changes to English courses implemented at King Saud University following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It aims to explore the benefits and challenges of blended learning during the spread of COVID-19 from the perspective of English as a foreign language (EFL) student. Qualitative data were collected from two focus group sessions, and one-to-one interviews with twelve students taking a general intensive English course at King Saud University over a six-week period. The results reveal that blended learning benefited the EFL students by supporting their writing skills and encouraging them to search online, as well as by matching their circumstances and being economical. It also identifies that the challenges EFL students faced included technological problems, flaws in the instructor’s performance, difficulties with online tests, attitudes to online learning and limited resources, and the university council’s decisions. The paper concludes with recommendations to exploit the benefits identified, and overcome the challenges of blended learning when teaching English in an EFL context.



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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