Wormald, Jane, Findlay, Ian and Bennett, Elizabeth (2011) The value of 'soft skills' for blended learning. In: ALT C conference 2011, 6th-8th September 2011, Leeds, England. (Unpublished)

• Crucial to the blended learning approach of a part –time BA Education and Professional Development is the emphasis on ensuring that our mature learners maintain a proactive community of practice based on Humanist principles whilst engaged in F2F and online activities. – To support richness of learning.
• Students are typically employed in full time in education or training capacities and study on a part-time basis, currently over 3 years (next year 2) with 8 day schools in year 1; 6 in year 2; 4 in year 3.
• A strong investment in encouraging critical friendship groups, both early in the programme and throughout, has re-enforced positive working and social structures supporting interactive learning. This is essential in time constrained conditions (study, work and home commitments).
• Whilst tutor time is also being reduced, the need for interaction between peers becomes more essential.
• The previous weekly model (evening sessions) established group identity and critical friendship opportunities quite quickly through regular face-to-face exchange. Reflecting principles of andragogy, and engagement in positive learning cultures, the structure, content and assessment strategies of the programme were designed to foster meaningful reflective, collaborative learning.

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