Factors influencing the adoption of flexible and blended learning approaches for skills development: the case of Mombasa Technical Training Institute
Kithinji, Anne P K
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In education various approaches have been used and these have evolved within the years. Curriculum developers and designers have tried to come up with new course designs in their attempt to improve quality in teaching and learning. Policy makers have stipulated new guidelines aimed at quality assurance and improvement within the education sector in their respective countries. Teachers have also been changing their pedagogies in their attempt to improve teaching and learning. Flexible and Blended learning is the latest approach in the education domain that has been in practice for a few decades now in the Diaspora. The approach is becoming more and more popular due to its nature of inclusiveness and learner-centeredness. In Kenya the concept has just been introduced in Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) Institutions of Higher Education and much is being done to create awareness and sensitize stakeholders. The study explored the factors influencing the adoption of Flexible and Blended (FaB) learning approach to skills development. These ranged from technology-based pedagogy to lack of formal ICT training affecting capacity to develop instructional materials by lecturers. Culture within TVET Institutions influence adoption Flexible and Blended learning approaches in that Face-to Face was perceived as the best approach as opposed to online teaching and/or Flexible and Blended learning! teaching approach. Implementation of FaB is also partly influenced by policy issues since most policies are not made at the institutional level. Other pertinent factors like infrastructure, leadership, staff turnover and financial aspects have also some vital role- play towards FaB adoption.The study was conducted within Mombasa Technical Training Institute using a case study design. The sample of the study comprised of thirty seven lecturers, four lead team members and five management representatives. The data for this research was obtained from self administered questions to lecturers, focus group discussion with the lead team members and an interview with the management representatives. The data collected was analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively by use of descriptive statistics .Qualitative data was edited, coded, collated and analyzed by use of Statistical computer Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Frequencies were run and measures used to present findings in tables. The data was then interpreted to generate a report of the findings which showed that most of the TVET institutions were in the planning stage towards the road to the implementation of Flexible and Blended learning. Some of the institutions that were already in the implementation stage were relatively passionate about it and were prepared to go all the way to have it succeed, but not without obstacles and challenges, (Flexible Skills Development Community of Learning Network, 2011). This was been confirmed in the study of MTTJ whereby majority of respondents lamented that the institute was ready for FaB adoption but added that there are certain issues and requirements to be addressed towards the success of the implementation process. In addition to institutions equipping themselves with all the necessary requirements, the researcher also recommended the need to have an 'all-embracing and all-encompassing' type of approach towards the Successful adoption of Flexible and Blended approach.