Peer reviewed paper

Smith, T. & Parker, J. (2012). Designing an authentic blend:
Development of a 'real-life'  
learning environment for higher education
In: 21st Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 
2-3 February, 2012, Murdoch University, Perth


Increasing student enrolments in higher education have created new challenges for universities to address, if they are to provide quality learning experiences for all students. One key challenge is identifying how to construct more flexible, interactive and engaging student-centred environments that can support students’ transition to the workplace. A partial educational design research approach was employed to investigate how an authentic, blended learning environment could be designed to offer students real-life learning experiences supported by new technologies. Educational design research consists of four connected phases: analysis, development of solutions, iterative cycles of testing and refining solutions and reflection and production of design principles (Reeves, 2006). This paper discusses the first two phases of the research study. It identifies the aim of the study then describes the course context, the reengineered teaching and learning processes, the development of the learning and assessment tasks and the implementation of the first iteration of the course. The course is still in progress, therefore, subsequent phases; data collection and analysis methods, results and recommendations will be described in a future paper.