Replication of the learning alliance inventory to blended student populations
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The therapeutic working alliance by Bordin has been demonstrated as a ‘common ground’ variable attributable to change in identified change enterprises, including education. In this context, working alliance (renamed learning alliance) has been empirically demonstrated to predict positive on-campus student outcomes . However, minimal research investigating whether learning alliance predicts blended student outcomes has been conducted. A measure of on-campus student teaching alliance (the learning alliance inventory, LAI; Rogers), which operationalises (measures) learning alliance using three subscales (collaborative bond, teacher competency and student investment) was administered to 199 Australian tertiary students, enrolled in a counselling program delivered in the blended learning modality (online learning coupled with synchronous tutorials and an on-campus intensive). The aim of the study was to investigate if this on-campus measure of learning alliance can validly measure learning alliance in blended student populations as well. Results revealed that learning alliance in the blended student population is best operationalised as a two-factor model (collaborative bond and student investment) only. Thematic analysis of an open question revealed learning alliance in the blended teaching environment is understood as four themes: qualities of the teacher, teacher style, mastery of the technology and unique online factors. These results were interpreted as evidence that the bond factor of the original learning alliance construct as operationalised by Bordin (1979) continues to be important in the blended teaching space, but other factors unique to blended learning are important for online learning alliance, including content relevancy, currency and validity, as well as a transparent and structured course delivery style, flexibility when technology fails and online objectivity. Study limitations, implications and future research recommendations are discussed.
Journal of Adult and Continuing Education
This publication has been entered into Griffith Research Online as an Advanced Online Version.
Education not elsewhere classified