You are here:

A Meta-Analysis of Blended Learning and Technology Use in Higher Education: From the General to the Applied

, , , ,

Journal of Computing in Higher Education Volume 26, Number 1, ISSN 1042-1726


This paper serves several purposes. First and foremost, it is devoted to developing a better understanding of the effectiveness of blended learning (BL) in higher education. This is achieved through a meta-analysis of a sub-collection of comparative studies of BL and classroom instruction (CI) from a larger systematic review of technology integration (Schmid et al. in "Comput Educ" 72:271-291, 2014). In addition, the methodology of meta-analysis is described and illustrated by examples from the current study. The paper begins with a summary of the experimental research on distance education (DE) and online learning (OL), encapsulated in meta-analyses that have been conducted since 1990. Then it introduces the Bernard et al. ("Rev Educ Res" 74(3):379-439, 2009) meta-analysis, which attempted to alter the DE research culture of always comparing DE/OL with CI by examining three forms of "interaction treatments" (i.e., student-student, student-teacher, student-content) within DE, using the theoretical framework of Moore ("Am J Distance Educ" 3(2):1-6, 1989) and Anderson ("Rev Res Open Distance Learn" 4(2):9-14, 2003). The rest of the paper revolves around the general steps and procedures (Cooper in "Research Synthesis and Meta-Analysis: A Step-by-Step Approach," 4th edn, SAGE, Los Angeles, CA, 2010) involved in conducting a meta-analysis. This section is included to provide researchers with an overview of precisely how meta-analyses can be used to respond to more nuanced questions that speak to underlying theory and inform practice–in other words, not just answers to the "big questions." In this instance, we know that technology has an overall positive impact on learning (g[superscript +] = +0.35, p < 0.01, Tamim et al. in "Rev Educ Res" 81(3):4-28, 2011), but the sub-questions addressed here concern BL interacting with technology in higher education. The results indicate that, in terms of achievement outcomes, BL conditions exceed CI conditions by about one-third of a standard deviation (g[superscript +] = 0.334, k = 117, p < 0.001) and that the kind of computer support used (i.e., cognitive support vs. content/presentational support) and the presence of one or more interaction treatments (e.g., student-student/-teacher/-content interaction) serve to enhance student achievement. We examine the empirical studies that yielded these outcomes, work through the methodology that enables evidence-based decision-making, and explore how this line of research can improve pedagogy and student achievement.


Bernard, R.M., Borokhovski, E., Schmid, R.F., Tamim, R.M. & Abrami, P.C. (2014). A Meta-Analysis of Blended Learning and Technology Use in Higher Education: From the General to the Applied. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 26(1), 87-122. Retrieved April 18, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ERIC on November 3, 2015. [Original Record]

ERIC is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.

Copyright for this record is held by the content creator. For more details see ERIC's copyright policy.


View References & Citations Map

Cited By

  1. Time well spent: Creating a community of inquiry in blended first-year writing courses

    Lyra P. Hilliard & Mary K. Stewart, Department of English, United States

    Internet and Higher Education Vol. 41, No. 1 (April 2019) pp. 11–24

  2. How is the use of technology in education evaluated? A systematic review

    Jennifer W.M. Lai & Matt Bower

    Computers & Education Vol. 133, No. 1 (May 2019) pp. 27–42

  3. Interaction and presence in the virtual classroom: An analysis of the perceptions of students and teachers in online and blended Advanced Placement courses

    Andrew M. Blaine

    Computers & Education Vol. 132, No. 1 (April 2019) pp. 31–43

  4. The impact of a flipped classroom design on learning performance in higher education: Looking for the best “blend” of lectures and guiding questions with feedback

    Ngoc Thuy Thi Thai, Bram De Wever & Martin Valcke

    Computers & Education Vol. 107, No. 1 (April 2017) pp. 113–126

  5. Empowering Learners through Blended Learning

    Ron Owston, York University, Canada

    International Journal on E-Learning Vol. 17, No. 1 (January 2018) pp. 65–83

  6. Online Learning in the 30 Community Colleges of the State University of New York: Differences in Outcomes between Classroom and Online Coursework

    Peter Shea, University at Albany, SUNY, United States; Temi Bidjerano, Furman University, United States

    EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2017 (Jun 20, 2017) pp. 1192–1198

  7. Student Engagement and Satisfaction Between Different Undergraduate Blended Learning Courses

    Francisco Vargas Madriz & Norma Nocente, University of Alberta, Canada

    E-Learn: World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2016 (Nov 14, 2016) pp. 1443–1448

  8. Impact of Technology on Post-secondary Classroom Culture: A Critical Literature Review

    Susan W Bontly, Cynthia Gomez, Samar Khalil & Tahani Fouad Mansour, NMSU, College of Education, United States

    Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2016 (Mar 21, 2016) pp. 1862–1870

  9. Technology Integration in Postsecondary Education: A Summary of Findings of a Series of Meta-Analytical Research

    Eugene Borokhovski, Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance (CSLP), Concordia University, Canada; Robert M. Bernard, CSLP, Concordia University, Canada; Rana Tamim, College of Education, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates; Richard F. Schmid, CSLP, Concordia University, Canada

    EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2015 (Jun 22, 2015) pp. 1764–1774

These links are based on references which have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. If you see a mistake, please contact