Promoting social cohesion during blended learning in a Foundation Degree
This paper explores curriculum theory and principles, evaluates the social cohesion of curricula, and synthesises theory and policies related to education for sustainable development, whilst evaluating and enhancing a higher education blended learning module. Blended learning is defined as a ‘pedagogical approach that combines the opportunities of face-to-face learning with the opportunities of the online environment’ (Hew and Cheung, 2014, p. 3). The key challenge is social cohesion, specifically learner collaboration and social learning, which Lockhorst, Admiraal and Pilot (2010) break down into participation, interaction and the nature of the communication. To identify strategies to enhance the module, thereby maximising social cohesion and collaboration, this paper explores the module’s curriculum: the policy context, theoretical principles of curriculum design, social cohesion in the context of the parity of esteem between work-based and academic learning, and education for sustainable development. It concludes by proposing enhancements to the module curriculum to meet the demands of twenty-first century graduates (Ashwin et al., 2015, p. 159) and education for sustainable development.