With the spread of internet connectivity in the past decade, blended learning, a hybrid teaching model, is receiving much attention as it is considered to be a bridge between the traditional form of classroom teaching and the world of e-learning. However, this model of learning has always been studied in regions which has internet availability. Therefore, this action research project was aimed at examining the challenges and opportunities which blended learning offers in teaching Religious Education in the rural villages of Sindh, Pakistan. The research was qualitative in nature; used non-probability purposive sampling methods and employed students’ reflective journals, students’ work and a teacher’s reflective journal as the data collection tools. An analysis of the data revealed that even in the midst of internet connectivity constraints, blended learning proved to be a successful model of teaching and learning in those regions. This success was due to the flexible nature of the model itself which gives the opportunity to the teacher to experiment with the creative ways through which this mode can be applied in practice. The study also showcased that it is important to be mindful of the relevancy of content, routine development, skill development, appropriate support structures and contextualisation of the curriculum while designing blended learning for students in the rural regions of Pakistan. This small-scale study ends by highlighting the limitations and recommendations for RE as well as other content area teachers who aim to use blended learning in areas where there is limited internet connectivity.
Aly Jafferani, University College London, United Kingdom