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HIGHEREDUCATION,BLENDEDLEARNING

ANDTHEGENERATIONS:
KNOWLEDGEISPOWERNOMORE
CharlesDziuban,PatsyMoskal,andJoelHartman
ResearchInitiativeforTeachingEffectiveness,LIB118
UniversityofCentralFlorida
Orlando,FL328162810
Telephone:4078235487
Fax:4078236580
1. dziuban@mail.ucf.edu
2. pdmoskal@mail.ucf.edu
3. joel@mail.ucf.edu

ABSTRACT
Theauthorsexploreblendedlearningenvironmentsfrommetaphoricalandgenerationalperspectives.
Theysuggestthatthelanguageofhighereducationreflectsmetaphorsthatevolvefortheacademy,
faculty,andstudents.GenerationalmarkersforMature,BabyBoomer,GenerationX, and Millennial
studentcohortsinteractwithblendedlearningsatisfaction.Principalcomponentsanalysisidentifiedtwo
satisfactiondimensionslearningengagementandinteractionvalue.Studentscoreson thetwo
componentsshowedthatMillennialsrespondedleastpositivelytotheirblendedlearningexperience.The
authorsconclude thatthemetaphorknowledgeispowerisevolving tomoreaccuratelyreflect
asynchronouslearning networks(ALN)inhighereducation.

I. INTRODUCTION
Thetitleofthispaperforeshadows ourbeliefthatblendedlearningistransforminghighereducationby
altering the metaphors we use to define our profession. Sir Francis Bacons famous proclamation that
knowledgeispowerhasbeen thefoundationoftheacademyforhundredsofyears[1].Thissupposition
impliesthatknowledgeisacommodity andaccessisthekey.However,evenacasualreviewoftheALN
andblendedlearning literature indicateschangein highereducation.
Thestructureof metaphors provides us witha device forunderstandingtheworldandour actions init.
Lakoff & Johnson, for instance, contendthat, Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we
both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature [2]. Cytowic agrees, affirming that
metaphorsexplainhowwethinkandact[3].Bydescribinganobjectorideaintermsofsomethingelse,
we provide ourselves witha concept map anda universal language of understanding. For instance, the
commonmetaphorinoursociety,goodisupbadisdown,isfoundinlanguagesuchas,Shewenttoa
topuniversity,buthebottomedout.Anotherexample,argumentiswar,isdescribedbyphrasessuch
as,Heattackedmymainpoint.

Over time metaphors have evolved for higher education other than knowledge is power. A good
exampleisthattheuniversityisanivorytowerintimatedinwordssuchas,Thatprogramisabastionof
excellenceor,Attheuniversity,heisolatedhimselffromtherealworld.Anotherillustrationmightbe
that the university is a ship The president is charting a wonderful course for us. Additionally,
metaphors surface for the role groups at the university. Alternately, we characterize students as
consumers,emptyvessels,clients,disciples,rawmaterial,budding flowers,and blankslatesamongmany
others [4, 5]. Faculty experience the same metaphorical descriptions as storytellers, performers, task
masters,facilitators,counselors,coaches,directors,oracles,mentors,andcheerleaders,justtonameafew
[4,5,6].
Giventhisdefinitionaltheory,itisnosurprisethatmetaphorsaredevelopingforblendedlearning[7,8,
9]. For instance, blended courses are a hybrid species Fromthe way he teaches now, you wouldnt
recognizetheclass,oraconfluenceHerfacetofaceandonlineteachingarereallycomingtogether.
Undoubtedly,themetaphorsweuseimpactthelanguageforconductingbusinessinhighereducation(or
vice versa). The student as consumer leads to a particular model aligned with the university as a
community and the faculty as facilitators. In a sense, reconciling our metaphors defines the linguistic
strategic plan for the university. Undoubtedly, however, generational time periods give rise to quite
different metaphors for students, faculty, and higher education. With that in mind, we would like to
exploresomerecentdevelopmentsabouttodaysstudentsandtheirsatisfactionwithblendedlearning.

II. THENEWLEARNER
Recently,scholarshaveturnedtheirattentiontoaphenomenonnamedthenewornextgenerationlearner
[10,11,7].This development emerges fromsociological,cultural,economic, andpoliticalperspectives
rather than individual preference or psychological constructs as one might incorporate when studying
learningstyles. Definingtodaysstudentsasnewlearnerssuggestsafundamentaldifferenceintheway
they approach knowledge acquisition, problem solving, and moving into the workforce [12]. The
paramountquestionsbecome:ishighereducationmeetingtheneedsofthepresentgeneration learnerand,
possiblymoreimportant,whoisgenerationnext?Thesequestionscausespeculationabouthowwemight
transformorrebuildhighereducation.Letsbrieflyconsiderthegenerationsthatpopulateourcampuses
atthe presenttime.

III.THEGENERATIONS
Wheninvestigatorsconsiderthegenerationstheygenerallyreferencefourgroups:Matures(bornpriorto
1946), Baby Boomers (19461964), Generation X (19651980), and Millennials (19811994) [13].
Undeniably, these classification dates are arbitrary: for instance, someone born in 1945 is labeled a
Maturewhileanotherpersonbornin1946isaBabyBoomer,althoughtheirlifeshapingpolitical,social,
andeconomicmilestonesarenearlyidentical.However,thesecategoriesdoprovideusefulreferentsfor
contextualizingbehavior.

A. Matures
WorldWarII,theKoreanConflict,TheDepression,andtheNewDealweresomeofthemajormarkers
of this generation. Even though those persons born later inthe cohort didnt directly experience these
events, they shaped their lives, nonetheless, because this generation lived in extended families (same
house,sameblock,sametown)andtoldstories.LaterMatures remember well their parentsrecounting
(overandover)theimpactofWorldWarIIandtheGreatDepression.Thesenarratives hadaprofound
impact. Furthermore,therewereconsistentmessagesintheseconversations,ontheradio,inthemovies,

andinnewspapersandmagazines:hardworkisthekeytosuccess,thecommongoodaboveall,be
thrifty and save your money for arainy day there are hard times ahead, there are goodpeopleand
therearebadpeople,authoritydeservesrespect,andaboveall,oneshouldbeloyaltoonesfamily,
friends, job,country,and community.These events andthemesplayedapowerfulrole inshapingthe
mindset of the Mature generation. Technology markers for this group included such things as trans
Atlanticradiosignals,stereophonographs,andthedevelopmentofelectroniccomputersThesecitizens,
whobelievedinanhonestdaysworkforanhonestdayspay,sawtheuniversityasanivorytower:Go
to college,Iwantbetterforyou.[13,14,15]

B. BabyBoomers
BabyBoomers,throughtheirsheerweightofnumbers,havehadamonumentalimpactonthecountry
politically,economically,socially,andculturally.Thebeginningperiodofthegenerationsawrapidand
sustainedeconomicexpansion,givingrisetoastrongsenseoffinancialsecurity.Lifewasgoodhowever,
othereventsimpactedthisgeneration:divorce,consumerdebt,theCubanmissilecrisis,theKennedyand
Martin Luther King assassinations, and Vietnam. Even in the face of these events, Boomers remain
optimistic,arewillingtogointodebt,remainprocessoriented,andstriveforconvenience.Theyoccupy
high positions in government, commerce, and industry, and are becoming legendary for their potential
impact onthesocialsecuritysystem.Someofthemajortechnologymarkersforthis generationinclude
PLATO, thefax machine,theBASICcomputerlanguage,andthe minicomputer.FortheBoomers,the
universitywasagreatexpectation:Buyitnow,paylater.EverythingisgoingtoworkoutonceIgetmy
degree.[13,14,16]

C. Generation X
GenerationX experiencedasignificantly different setof markers fromthe Baby Boomers and was the
firstgenerationtofeeltheprofoundimpactoftechnologicaldevelopments.Theyencounteredeventssuch
as Watergate,antiwarprotests,excessive inflation,massive layoffs,theChallengertragedy,the energy
crisis,ThreeMileIsland,AIDS,andtheExxonValdez.Afterschooltheybecameresourceful,sinceboth
parentswereworking,forming thefirstLatch KeyGeneration.Asaresult,GenXersgrew upskeptical
and mistrustful of established organizations, institutions, and traditions. Viewed as disrespectful, they
speak up and look out for themselves because they feel societal expectations such as employment and
security areephemeral.Becausetheyseejobsecurityasamyth,theyworktolive,puttingverylittle stock
infuture stability.ForGenerationX,versatilityprovidessecurity.Thereweremanyimportanttechnology
markersforthisgeneration:Windowskeyboardmouse,theUNIXoperatingsystem,Intelsintroduction
ofthe4004,8008,and8080microprocessorchips,theCprogramminglanguage,andthefoundationof
Microsoft,andAppleComputer.ForGenXers,theiruniversityexperiencewasanuncertainmediation:
Ihavenoideawhatshappeningaftergraduation.[13,17,18]

D. Millennials
TheMillennial generationis describedby manyas the new learner,theNet Generation,Generation Y,
GenerationWhy?,Nexters,andthe InternetGeneration.Mediaexposurehastaughttheseyoung peopleto
challengeanytradition,institution,value,orpersontheychoose,andinmanyrespectstheyareconfused
bymediahighlightedscandalanddishonestyinindustryandthegovernment.Theyhaveseenameteoric
riseinstockpricesandgrewupinaworldofcellphones,pagers,theInternet,andtheWeb.Millennials
takeclassnotesonpersonaldigitalassistants,gettheirinformationfromblogsandwikis,andareasked
by their professors to turn off their cell phones in their facetoface courses. They have access to
worldwide events that are unprecedented in history. However, they view these sometimes gruesome
situations through the aloof templates of television and unfiltered websites that are repositories of

pornographyandextremeviolence.Atthesametimetheseinfluencestellthemwhattothink.Theysee
politicalcampaignsasmediaspinandjobexpansionattheminimumwagelevel.Millennialsarethemost
diversegenerationinthehistoryofournationandcannavigatecomplicatedsoftwarewithsucheasethat
they intimidate members of previous generations. They can complete a task, listen to the portable CD
player,andtalkonthecellphone simultaneously,butemployersreportthattheirbasicskilllevels,critical
thinkingability,andinitiativearedevelopmentallylacking.Millennialsbringamindsetandapproachto
theworkplaceandtheworldcommunitythatmanysimplycannotcomprehend.Theirtechnologymarkers
are impressive indeed: the PC is introduced, the Internet is established, CD sound systems marketed,
Microsoft introduces the initial version of Windows OS, Apple introduces the Macintosh, the
development of HTML, and the first ecommerce sites appear in the Web. The technologies of the
decades after their boundary year (1994) have been even more impressive: the first Internet search
engines weredeveloped,DVDs marketed,theMP3audioformat released,the numberofInternet hosts
exceed172,000,000,andGoogleclaimsadatabaseof4.28billionWebpages.TheMillennialgeneration
experiences the universitythroughbricolage: Im piecing together a program from four departments.
[13,19,20]

IV.LITERATUREREVIEWONBLENDEDLEARNING
A. TodaysStudents
Todaysstudentsareincreasinglymorediversethaneverbefore. Incomingundergraduatesareinmany
casesmoretechnologicallyproficientthantheirfacultywith80%reportingthattheyhaveacomputerby
thetimetheyreachcollege.WiththemajorityofthesestudentshavingalreadysurfedtheInternetfor
homework purposes (78%) and twothirds having used email, they are approaching college courses
alreadyexperiencedinWebtechnologies[21].
Undergraduatesalsoappeartobemorenontraditionalthaninyearspastwith43%being24orolder.The
majorityoftheseolderundergraduatesalsoreportbeingemployed(82%)and,asaresult,areapproaching
collegewithresponsibilitiesaboveandbeyondwhattheyencounterintheirclassrooms[22].

B. WhatsthePerfectBlend?
Manyfacultyanduniversitiesarenowexperimentingwithcoursesthatutilizebothfullyonlineandface
toface instruction. Faculty,students,andadministrators arerealizinga number ofadvantages inthese
blendedcoursesandmanyseethemasofferingthebestofbothinstructionalworlds.WebstersRevised
Unabridged Dictionary defines blend as to mix or mingle together esp. to mingle, combine, or
associate so that the separate things mixed, or the line of demarcation, cannot be distinguished [23].
Withinthecontextofblendedcourses,thisdefinitioncanberelatedtothecombinationofwebandface
toface that is necessary to produce a course utilizing the best of both instructional worlds. Some
educatorsdefineblendedlearningapproachesasfindingaharmoniousbalancebetweenonlineaccessto
knowledgeandfacetofacehumaninteraction[24]orthethoughtfulintegrationofclassroomfaceto
facelearningexperienceswithonlineexperiences[25].
CoursesthatreplaceaportionoffacetofaceinstructionwithWebcomponentsallowfortheflexibilityof
utilizing Web resources to reduce the oncampus time, yet allow facetoface interaction as well. Just
how many of the facetoface components are replaced with online instruction varies widely by
universities and instructors. This mix is influenced by many factors including the course instructional
goals, student characteristics, instructor experience and teaching style, discipline, developmental level,
andonlineresources[24].Infact,thereisnodefinedstandardastohowmuchorwhatpartofcoursesgo
onlineanditvarieswidely[25,26].Manyreplace2550%ofinclasstimewithWebcomponents[7,27,
28].
4

Programsarebeginningtoseetheusefulness ofutilizingblendedlearning,particularlywhentheyserve
studentswhoselifestylesprecludethemfromattendingfullfacetofacecourses,suchasgraduatenursing
programs [28]. Through utilizing blended learning, accreditation and high standards can be maintained
whileproviding the additionalflexibility thatstudentsrequire.
Thenumberofuniversitiesutilizingblendedcoursesisgrowingrapidly.Someestimatesarethatbetween
80and90percentofthe coursewillsomedaybehybrid[29].

C. WhyBlend?
Thereareanumberofpotentialadvantagestoblendedlearningthatareemerging.Someoftheserevolve
aroundaccessibility,pedagogicaleffectiveness,andcourseinteraction.Manyoftodayscollegestudents
are nontraditional, attempting to balance family, jobs, and university life. Coming to campus is often
difficult for many of them and through reducing the number of facetoface hours required, blended
learning can helpthem meetthis challenge. Universities andfaculty are looking for ways toreachand
retainthesestudents.ByputtingcoursematerialsontheWeb,studentscanaccessthematerialatanytime
ofdayandreviewitasneeded,whichprovidesthemwithincreased flexibility[28,30,31].Busystudents
dont have to spend time commuting and parking, so blended courses can add up to significant time
savings for those with long commutes [26, 29]. Students like the ability to access course materials
anytime,anyplace,andarepositiveabouttheconvenienceandflexibilitythisprovidesthem[7].Because
manystudentsareolderandworking,blendedcourseshelpprovidethemwiththeflexibilitytheyneedto
jugglejobs,school,andfamily [32,33,34].Byreducing timeandspacecommitment,accessiseasierand
thusmanystudentshavecometopreferthesecoursesoverthe facetofacecounterparts.

D. IncreasedInteraction
Anadditionalbenefitoftenreportedinblendedclassesisanincreaseininteractionoverwhatstudentsand
faculty typically perceive in facetoface courses [35, 33, 7]. Web resources, and course management
systems offer easieraccess tobothstudentsandfacultythroughdiscussion groups and email,andthey
also allow access to material and experts who might not be available otherwise. The end result is a
learning environment where students can be actively engaged, potentially learning more than in a
traditionaloncampusclassroom.
FacultyatMercyCollegearefindinganincreasedsenseofcommunityandcollaborationintheblended
format because their pedagogical strategy has been to address varying learning styles, increase
interactivity,promotecommunity,andmeetthespecialneedsofonlinestudents[36].Researchersfrom
Brigham Young University also use the blended format to compensate for student differences in
experience with content, realizing that some students had prior experience with the material and, thus,
mightnothavetoreviewthematerialasmuchasothernovices[37].Beingabletoreviewonlinematerial
asoftenorasmuchasneededcanbeastrategybywhichfacultyaddressstudentsvaryinglearningstyles
orthosewithEnglishasasecondlanguagewhomightneedextrapractice[28].
ThroughavailableWebresources,facultychangetheorganizationofthecourseandaddenhancementsto
accommodateunique needs orlearningstyles ofsomestudents.Studentswho need morerepetitionand
exercisescanhavethatopportunitywithouttakingfacetofaceclasstimeawayfromthosewhomightnot
needtheextrareinforcement[33].

Blended courses have the potential to facilitate a community of inquiry. By forcing students to be
independent and have control over their learning, blendedformats can help foster critical thinking and
facilitate collaborative learning [25]. To maximize the benefit of individualizing instruction through
blending,Schwartzman&Tuttle[38]providedredundancytostudentsintheformofaudio,video,and
textualversionsofmodulesandincreasedthevarietyofwaysstudentscouldengagethematerial.Without
theboundsofinclasstime,studentscanspendasmuchtimeasnecessarytomasterthematerial.
An increase instudent engagement inblended courses also occurs as studentsandfaculty experiencea
levelofcomfortfacilitatedbystudenttostudentandfacultytostudentinteractions[38].Whenstudents
become comfortable with the instructor and their peers, they become more involved with the course
material.

E. StudentandFacultyPerceptions
Whilethereis muchvariationinblended courses (andinfacetofacecourses as well),onefindingthat
appearstobeconsistent isstudentandfacultysatisfactionwiththis modality.Bothstudentsandfaculty
arepositiveregardingtheflexibilityandconvenienceandtheperceivedincreaseininteractiontheyhave
withblendedcourses[39,40,7,37].
Studentsratethequalityoftheirblendedexperienceashighasorhigherthantheirfacetofacecourses.
Theyalsoreporthighsatisfactionwithinstructorinteraction.Courseweaknessesoftenrefertoproblems
with technology, including difficulty with course management systems [35]. Researchers at Ohio State
Universitysurveyed201studentsfromthreeuniversitiesabouttheirexperienceincoursesspanningthe
distanceeducationcontinuumfromcompletelyfacetofacetocompletelyonline.Whatstudentsindicated
was that the intuitive structure of the course clearly defined objectives, assignments, deadlines, and
encouragingdialogueandinteractionweremostimportantinsatisfactionwiththecourse[41].
Rovai and Jordan [42] compared three education graduate coursestraditional, blended, and fully
onlineandfoundthatstudentsintheblendedcoursemeasuredhighestinasenseofcommunity,similar
to those students in the facetoface section, but higher than those in fully online section. They stated
sincestudentsintheblendedcourseexhibitedsimilarsenseofcommunityandvariabilityasstudentsin
thetraditionalcourse,offeringtheconvenienceoffullyonlinecourseswithoutthecompletelossofface
toface contact may be adequate to nurture a strong sense of community in students who would feel
isolatedinafullyonlinecourse(p.13).Studentsintheblendedcoursestoutedthebenefitsoftheonline
portionofthecoursewhichallowedthemthefreedomtoperformsomeofthecourseinstructionattheir
ownflexibility,afeatureimportantforthesestudents,manyofwhomneededtowork.However,manyof
them also mentioned the value of the facetoface component which they felt helped them both
academically and in building professional relationships and a strong sense of community. In addition,
some students in the fully online course misreadthe instructors comments as being sharpand frank
whilestudentsintheblendedandfullyonlinecoursesdidnotconveysuchimpressions,possiblybecause
oftheopportunityforfacetofacediscussionswhichallowedeveryonetobecomeacquainted.
For the mostpart,facultyreport that student performance inblendedcourses is as goodas,orinsome
casesbetter,thanfacetoface[35].ThePewGrantPrograminCourseRedesignfoundimprovedstudent
learningin19outof30projectswith11havingnosignificantdifferencefromfacetofacesections[43].
Comparing facetoface and blended introductory statistics courses, Utts, et al, [44] found performance
wasequal,althoughhybridstudentswereslightlylesspositive.

OToole & Absalom [45] found students in the blended format, accessing both online resources and
attendinglectures,performedbetterthanstudents whoattemptedtoperform without attending lectures.
Theyposit that the lectureprovides high motivationforstudentsto maintainprogress,thus equatingto
higherstudentachievement.

V. ASTUDYOFGENERATIONALSATISFACTIONWITHBLENDED
LEARNING
A. Methods
The investigators conducted a satisfaction survey of the blended learning student population at the
University of Central Florida. Fivepoint Likert scale questions formed the basis of this study, asking
studentstoindextheirblendedlearningexperiencewithrespecttooverallsatisfaction,abilitytointegrate
technologyintotheirlearning,abilitytocontroltheirownlearning,studyefficiency,abilitytomeettheir
educational objectives, willingness to take another blended course, ease of interaction, amount of
interaction withstudents,quality of interaction withstudents,amount of interaction with the instructor,
andqualityofinteractionwiththeinstructor.
These items were intercorrelated and the (11x11) matrix subjected to a principal components analysis
[46].Componentswereextractedaccordingtothenumberofeigenvaluesofthecorrelationmatrixgreater
than one. The components were transformed using the promax [47] procedure. Coefficients in the
transformed pattern matrix absolutely greater than .3 were considered salient. Prior to any factoring
procedures the domain sampling properties of the data were indexed with the measure of sampling
adequacy (MSA) [48]. Component scores for each responding student were computed using the
regression method. Subsequently, a oneway analysis of variance was completed for the component
scoresbythegenerations(Boomer,GenX,andMillennial).Finally,decisiontreeswerederivedforeach
set of scores using generational membership, gender and ethnicity as predictors. ChisquareAutomatic
InteractionDetection(CHAID)[49]derivedthetreestructureonthesamplethatwasvalidatedwithaten
partition fold. The objective of these procedures was to gain a better perspective of the generational
perceptions (metaphors) of blended learning. Of the 2000 survey instruments distributed, 491 were
returned.

B. Results
Table1presentsthepercentagedistribution,withnoMaturesrespondingtothesurvey,andshowingthe
majority of student respondents (80%) representing Generation X and Millennials. The majority of
Millennials (92%) represent undergraduate education while the majority of Boomers (78%) come from
graduateclasses.GenerationXissplitbetweentheupperundergraduatelevel(42%)andgraduateclasses
(51%).

Table 1
Percentageofstudentsrespondingtothe survey instrumentandregistrations

QuestionnaireResponses(n=487)
N
Boomer
99
GenX
206
Millennial
182

%
20
42
38

StudentRegistrations
LowUnd%
High Und%
2
20
7
42
55
37

Graduate%
78
51
10

Table2givesthepromaxtransformedpatternmatrixfortheprincipalcomponentanalysiswithameasure
ofsamplingadequacy(.87)indicatingexcellentdomainsampling.Theeigenvalueselectioncriterion(>1)
retainedtwocomponents.Thepatterncoefficientsforcomponentoneshowsubstantialvaluesforoverall
satisfaction,integratingtechnology, morelearningcontrol,study efficiency, willingnesstotakeanother
blended course, and meeting educational objectives. The construct associated with these coefficients is
probably best described as learning engagement. The second dimension is entirely related to
interactionvalue:ease,quantity,andqualitywithstudentsandinstructors.Thecorrelationbetweenthe
twocomponentsis.47.
Table2
Promaxtransformedpatternmatrix
Principalcomponentssolutionforstudentsratingofblendedlearning(n=491)

H**

Overall Satisfaction

83

00

68

BetterIntegrateTech.

75

01

57

MoreLearningControl

73

05

57

StudyEfficiency

80

.04

67

TakeAnotherBlendedCourse

80

07

60

MetEducationalObjectives

74

02

57

EasierInteraction

08

70

54

AmountofStudentInteraction

19

95

77

QualityofStudentInteraction

02

87

75

AmountofInstructorInteraction

.10

75

64

QualityofInstructorInteraction

.19

70

66

Eigenvalues

5.2

1.8

%Variance
Measure ofSamplingadequacy=.87
ComponentCorrelation=.47
DecimalsOmitted forPatternCoefficients
**Communality

48

16

Table 3 presents the results of the oneway analysis of variance of the component scores for learning
engagementandinteractionvaluescores.Thereadershouldbecognizantthatcomponentscoresarenota
simplesumoftheitemswithhighloadingsbutratherafunctionofthetransformedpatternvaluesused
as regression coefficients. One advantage of component scores is that, because of their scaling, they
produce values in a unit normal metric, thus presenting differences in standard deviation units. The
learning engagement scores produced a significant difference (p=.00) showing Boomers most positive
(.404) and Millennials least favorable toward their blended learning experience (.204). Those values
placeBoomersandMillennialsoveronehalfastandarddeviationapart.Theinteractionvaluecomponent
scoresproducedasimilarresult(p=.00)withBoomersshowinganaveragecomponentscoreof.246and
Millennialsproducinganaveragescoreof.273,againlocatingthosetwogroupsoveronehalfstandard
deviationapart.NotefromTable3thatthecorrelationbetweenthelearningengagementandinteraction
scoreswas.71 supportingthesuppositionthatstudentsatisfactionispositivelyrelatedtointeraction.
Table3
Average learning engagement andinteractioncomponentscoresbygenerationinblendedcourse

Learning Engagement
Boomer
GenX
Millennial

n
90
199
179

Mean
.404
.000
.204

SD
.823
1.024
1.003

p
.00*

Interaction
n
Mean
Boomer
96
.246
GenX
199
.134
Millennial
179
.273
*Probabilitiesbasedononewayanalysisofvariance
Learningengagement/interactioncomponentscorecorrelation=.71

SD
1.055
1.004
.903

p
.00*

Figure1presentsthedecisiontreeforlearningengagementusinggenerationalmembership,genderand
ethnicityaspredictors.Oneconclusionfrom Figure1isthatofthepredictors,onlygenerationandgender
were selected by the decision rules. Three noteworthy outcomes appear in Figure 1 male Millennial
students can be expected to score over onehalf of a standard deviation below the mean on learning
engagement with the distance between Boomers and Millennial males being almost one complete
standard deviation. Also, male Millennials (.545) scored considerably lower than female Millennials
(.061) who have an average value close to the group mean. Figure 1 indicates that the correlation
betweenageandlearningengagementisquitelow,r=.172.

Figure1
CHAID*based decisiontree
forlearning engagement componentscores
Mean=.000

n=475
Boomers

GenX

Millennials

Mean=.404
n=90(19%)

Mean=.001
n=203(43%)

Mean=.204
n=179

Female

Male

Mean=.061
n=126(27%)

Mean=.545
n=53(11%)

ChiSquareAutomaticInteractionDetector
Predictors=generation,gender,ethnicity,engagement
r(agexlearning engagement)=.172

Figure2presentsthedecisiontreeforinteractionvaluewithgeneration,gender,andethnicity,onceagain,
usedaspredictors.Forthisstructure,male Millennialscanexpectthelowestinteractionscorebeingmore
thanonehalfastandarddeviationbelowthegroupmean(.549).Thegreatestdistanceinthetreemaybe
foundbetween maleMillennials (.549)andfemales inthe combinedBoomerandGenerationX group
(.273).Inthis diagram,malesscorebelowthemeanoftheirparent nodewhilethefemales scoreabove
theaverage.Figure2indicatesthatthecorrelationbetweenageandinteractioncomponentscoresis.173.
.
Figure2
CHAID*baseddecisiontreeforinteractioncomponentscores
Mean=.006
n=.472

Boomers,GenX

Millennials

Mean=.166

Mean=.273

n=303(63%)

n=180(37%)

Female

Male

Female

Mean=.273

Mean=.153

Mean=.156

n=229(47%)

n=126(26%)

N=126(26%)

Male

ChiSquareAutomaticInteractionDetector
Predictors=generation,gender,ethnicity
r(agexinteraction)=.173

Mean=.549
n=54(11%)

10

Table 4 shows the percentage of each generation responding to the questionnaire indicating that they
changed their approach to learning as a result of blended learning. The familiar pattern of these data
continues.Fiftypercent oftheBoomersindicateachangewhileonly20%oftheMillennialsclaimedto
havetransformedtheirapproachtoclasses.

Table 4
Percentageofgenerationsthatchangedtheirapproach tolearninginblendedlearningcourses

n
47
76
36

Boomer
GenX
Millennial

%
50%
38%
20%

p
.00*

*Probabilitybasedonachisquarecontingencytest

VI. CONCLUSION
A. KnowledgeisPower
Inourintroduction,wesuggestthattheblendedformatmodifiesthecommonlyheldmetaphorforhigher
education: knowledge is power. Historically, the university sequestered knowledge in its library,
laboratories, in professors notes, correspondence, experience, and in their communication with
colleagues across universities. Faculty members controlled access to that knowledge, especially at the
graduate level where Matures and Boomers served their Ph.D. serfdom. To further reinforce the
conceptthathe(orshe)whocontrolstheknowledgehasthepower,wenowinformthereaderthatFrancis
BaconsactualquoteisForknowledgeitselfispower.Underthisorganizingmetaphor,facultycanbe
oracles,studentscanbeblankslates,anduniversitiescanbeivorytowers.
We believe the new metaphor for higher education is The ability to use knowledge effectively is
power. The immediate availability of data, information, and knowledge to university students is
astounding. The Millennial generation has much more access to information than its professors did.
HindmanandCukier[50]assertthatGoogleandYahoo(orentitiesusingtheirtechnologies)handle95%
ofallWebsearchesintheUnitedStates.Google,withmorethanfourbillionWebcontentpages,handles
hundredsofmillionsofsearcheseachday.
We should not be surprised, therefore, that whenMillennial generation students evaluate their blended
coursesforlearningengagement,interactionvalue,andchangedlearninghabits,theyreportthattheyare
theleastpositive(orsatisfied).Possibly,thenewtechnologiesthatuniversitiesofferthesestudentsdonot
relate to their view of technologybased learning, and surely, only the most engaging facetoface
presentationwillholdtheirattention.Millennialsdeclare:
Ispendmoretimereadingandreviewingwithouttheprofessortellingmeeverythingthereistoknow.
Irespectmyselfmoreasaselfteacher.
Learningthattakesplaceintheclassroomisntasimportantastimestudyingonyourown.
OnlinegivesmesomethingtodowhenImboredwiththeprofessor.

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Wendover[13]statesthatwhenstudentsviewgeneraleducationcourserequirementsthatdonottranslate
into usable job skills to be irrelevant, their metaphor for university is an unresponsive object. The
metaphorforuniversityisrightofpassageforstudentswhoareobligedtoobtainadegreetobecome
eligibleforpromotionincertainindustries.Overall,therefore,theabilitytouseknowledgeasastructure
becomesthedominant metaphorforthesestudents,andtosomedegree,blendedlearningcontributesto
thisphenomenon.Millennialshaveaccesstotheworldandtheybringitintotheclassroom.Theyvisitan
experts blog on the topic being taught, discuss the class assignment with several students around the
world,andquestiontheinconsistenciesabouttheinstructorsrequirements.Whohasthepower?

B. GenerationalSatisfactionwithBlendedLearning
Weidentifytwo major componentsforstudent satisfaction withblended learning:learning engagement
and perceived ability to communicate effectively. Within the limitations of our instrument, these two
componentsholdfor BabyBoomers,GenerationX, andMillennials.However,the generationalcohorts
do not reveal the same levels of satisfaction for blended learning on those two dimensions. Are the
explanationsforthisphenomenondifferentthangenerationalmarkers?Aninsightmightbethemetaphor,
perceptionisreality,evenifthatperceptionis notaccurate.Laing,Phillipson,andLee[51]offerone
hypothesis about interpersonalperception.Theypresent athreelevel model ofperception,in whichthe
finalstageiscalledmetametaperspective.Inahusbandandwifedyad,metametaperspectiveasksthe
husband to convey how his wife would describe him (or viseversa). Laing and colleagues indicate
problems if one or both spouses cannot accurately portray the others point of view [51]. We suggest,
therefore,thatMillennialstudentsdecreasedsatisfactionratesinblendedcourses (andprobablyothers)
affirmthatinstructorsdonotaccuratelyunderstandhowtheirstudentsperceivethem.
Our professors are shocked when student subgroups assign them low values on items such as The
instructorwasinterestedinyourlearning,orExpressionofexpectationsforthecourse.Theprofessors
aredismayedwhenstudentwritestatementssuchasIfonlyshetaughtaswellasshedressed.Here,we
have mixed metaphors or an inaccurate metameta perspective. Instructors perceive themselves in a
particularpedagogicalstyle,buttheirstudentsseethemdifferentlyadiscrepancyofwhichtheinstructor
isunaware.Thisdiscrepancyisgreatestforthe Millennial generation.Isitaquestionforfutureresearch?

C. AnotherExplanation
Richard Clarks work on motivation in the workplace offers an alternate hypothesis for declining
satisfactionacrossthegenerations[52].HisCANEmodel(commitmentandnecessaryeffort)basesitself
on three multiplicative components for determining commitment: personal agency (Can I do this and
what are the barriers?), emotion (Do I feel like doing this?), and task value (Will this do me any
good?AmIinterested?Isthisimportanttome?).Thesecondtwocomponentsareparticularlyimportant
forunderstandingMillennialstudentsinblendedlearning.Certainly,aswehavediscussed,technological
personalagencyisnotaproblemforthem.However,emotionandtaskvaluealsointeractwithblended
learningsatisfaction.Ifthetaskissomethingthatstudentsjustdontfeellikedoingortheyseeverylittle
valueinitscompletion,thentheCANEmodelpredictslowcommitment.Themultiplicativenatureofthe
model dictates that only one component needs to approach zero or be negative for commitment to
diminish. The CANE model features an additional dimension that predicts the effort one is likely to
expend onatask depending on his or herperceived personal agency.Interestingly,Clark demonstrates
that whenpersonalagencyis excessively high orlow,effort diminishes.Accordingly,Millennials with
highfacilityfortechnologybutnegativeaffectandlowtaskvaluearelikelytoexpresslowersatisfaction.
On the other hand, Baby Boomers with moderate technology capability (in general) but positive affect
and high task value are likely to expend more effort, evidence more commitment, and express higher
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satisfaction.

D. BlendedLearningandtheMillennialGeneration:AFinalMetaphor?
Designing a blended learning course that maximizes the potential of both the facetoface and online
components raises questions: What is the best definition of blended learning? How much of each
modalityshouldcompriseacourse?Wearguethatstudentsandfacultyshouldnotviewthefacetoface
aspectofablendedcourseandtheonlineelementasseparatecomponents[53].Theinstructionaldesign
perspective, therefore, requires a reevaluation of teaching and learning to blend or harmonize the
distinctionbetweenthetwoachallengingtask,madeevenmoreformidablebythepresenceofthenew
learners[11].
Some characterize the Millennials by their technological empowerment: stimulus junkies and gamers,
who multitask, demand response immediacy, and communicate by text messaging students who are
generally facile withrapidly emerging technologies. Others [13], however, suggest that Millennials are
not proficient in higher order thinking, and are unwilling to take intellectual risks and view problem
solving as a series of choices on the monitor. If older generation faculty confuse the Millennials
extensive technological sophistication with maturity, the faculty may forget that many of these new
learners are still adolescents. Howe and Strauss [19], however, describe Millennials differently:
conventional, confident, special, sheltered, pressured, achieving, and teamoriented. Despite their
technologicalsavvy,thesestudentsfacemorestressthanpriorgenerations,especiallywhentheirneedfor
team orientation pressures them to persist in a milieu of higher education that emphasizes individual
accomplishment.
Millennialsdiminishedsatisfactionwithblendedlearningreflectstheircooperativeapproachtoproblem
solving.Theirmetaphorisknowledgeisteamwork.Becauseofthisviewpoint,Straussbelievesthatthis
generationultimately willbe definedas possibly the next greatest generation, justas theGI generation
definedthetwentiethcentury.Ourchallenge,then,is todevelopteachingandlearningstrategiesforthe
blended learning environment that will capitalize on the Millennial students strengths while
accommodatingtheirimmaturity.Wecannotwaittoseewhatnewmetaphorsdevelop.

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