Blended learning

Blended learningBlended learning, a combination of face to face learning and a technology based learning 1, is an emerging pedagogical solution to education institutions in Tanzania and Africa generally. This is mainly due to increased number of enrollment of university students while classes and reading spaces in these universities remain the same2.Blended course programs are currently offered in more than 80% of higher learning institutions in Tanzania3.

Despite the good initiatives to establish blended learning for various University courses challenges remain in the implementation and take off of most of these blended courses. One of the challenging areas as a novice teacher of blended course is the ability to align the face-to face learning component content with the online component content and to determine which course component build in which – is the online component content build on the face-to-face component and vice versa? Or, I s one component an extension of the other. I am always caught up in this dilemma especially during course evaluation.

Another area is on grading of the assessments.  It is sometimes hard to establish fair grading when assessing learning. Grades may not accurately measure intended learning objectives and expectations blended learning due to several external and internal factors. For a blended course to be successful consistency in assessing both face to face and online learning components in terms of class size, facilitation and grading standards need to be maintained and should appear similar throughout course duration 3.  Otherwise, it may affect learners differently towards achieving their Intended learning Objectives (ILOs)?

DesignIn another instance, designing of online instructional materials  that meet students learning needs is quite a challenge as it involves different set of skills and it takes more time to develop an online course and learn and test different online tools which will suit learners context (Akdemir, 2008).

Another challenge is related to students’ attendance to online classes. If not well supervised may lead to poor grades. Case in point is the Communication Skills course which I and other 7 colleagues of mine at MUHAS library are teaching. More than 600 undergraduate students are taught in parallel sessions– this translates into difficulties in striking a balance between the face to face and online facilitation and assessment not only because the gap between teacher-student ratio is very big but also not all students are equally equipped with learning tools like laptops or smart phone for online assignments. The majority depend on Institutional computers at the library computer lab which are also very few.

In conclusion, these are some of challenges faced by many universities in Tanzania and elsewhere in Africa in implementing blended courses. However, there is a silver lining on the horizon. With increasing flexibility in accessibility of online content through open source technological tools and communication channels 4  which will enhance more discovery of learning content and increase collaborative learning processes through integration of learning management systems.


  1. Mtebe, J. S. (2013). Exploring the potential of clouds to facilitate the adoption of blended learning in Tanzania. International Journal of Education and Research1(8), 1-16
  2. Kumi-Yeboah, A., Young, W. H., & Boadu, K. (2014). 21st Century Distance Learning in Sub-Saharan Africa: Distance and Blended Learning in Ghana. In Advancing Technology and Educational Development through Blended Learning in Emerging Economies(pp. 142-158). IGI Global.
  3. Shmahonge, R and Mtebe, J (2018). Using a mobile application to support students in blended distance courses: A case of Mzumbe University in Tanzania. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology (IJEDICT), Vol. 14, Issue 3, pp. 167-182.
  1. Kabassi, K., Dragonas, I., Ntouzevits, A., Pomonis, T., Papastathopoulos, G., & Vozaitis, Y. (2016). Evaluating a learning management system for blended learning in Greek higher education. SpringerPlus5(1), 101.
ONL91-Grp9 – My Reflections for topic 4: Blended learning – design, content development & emerging challenges