Investigation into the transition to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, between new and continuing undergraduate students

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Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) were required to rapidly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, integrating online and blended learning approaches to sustain teaching and learning provision. However, limited evidence exists to understand the student experience and perception of the various methods of online learning, in particular across different levels of study (new and continuing students). Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare the experiences of online learning transition, between new first year undergraduate students and continuing second and third year students, enrolled on various undergraduate sport programmes. A total of 182 students responded to an online survey, which investigated the students’ perceptions of online learning approaches. Participants were split according to level of study; [Level 3 (Foundation Year) and 4 (First Year Undergraduate) combined N = 62, Level 5 (Second Year Undergraduate), N = 51 and Level 6 (Third Year Undergraduate), N = 69]. Key findings highlight that both new and continuing students had an overall negative perception of online learning but did acknowledge that online learning provided a more flexible approach to their overall learning experience compared to face-to-face. Face-to-face teaching was deemed more engaging and sociable, in particular for the practical aspects of the programmes. Overall, there were no significant differences between the different levels of study for any of the questions asked. Although continuing students raised the difficulties of conducting practical sessions online, whereas this was not mentioned by new students. To conclude, this study provides novel insights into the experience of new and continuing students, and we advise that future blended learning strategies should consider the programme as a whole, rather than tailoring pedagogic strategies based on the level of study.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100430
JournalJournal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism Education
Early online date4 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023

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