Integrating Blended Learning into the Nursing Curriculum: Strategies, Challenges & Outcomes

Presented by Laurie Posey (The George Washington University, USA)
Online Learning Consortium Blended Learning Conference and Workshop, 2014

The George Washington University School of Nursing’s (GW SON) accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program requires students to complete a challenging curriculum within a compressed time frame, integrating dense clinical content with hands-on skills development. The new hybrid BSN program has been evaluated from a variety of perspectives. 

Blended learning enables educators to take advantage of the flexibility and active-learning benefits of the online environment while meeting students’ needs for clinical skills practice in a lab setting and guided instruction in the classroom. To provide assistance in realizing these benefits while expanding the reach of the program, the US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funded the Teaching and Transforming through Technology (T3) project to transition GW SON’s BSN program to a blended learning format.

In summary, transitioning any academic program to blended learning requires careful planning, from introducing students to a new way to learn, orienting and supporting faculty in the design and implementation of blended learning approaches, and designing courses and activities to ensure educational quality and effectiveness. As some students prefer traditional, classroom-based approaches, it is important to inform applicants of the blended format so that they can self-select into a program that is consistent with their preferred learning style. With careful planning and good instructional design, blended learning can increase active learning in the classroom and provide educators with flexibility to innovate and meet the demands of a fast-paced, challenging curriculum.