Design and evaluation of a sustainable blended study programme in higher education

Marieke Versteijlen*, Arjen E.J. Wals, Bert van Wee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Introduction: Blended learning, i.e., a mix of online and in-class education, can be deployed for enhancing the educational quality and resilience in higher education (HE). It may also contribute to HE’s sustainability objectives by lowering the carbon emissions of students commuting to campus. In this study, pedagogical design principles for sustainable blended learning and teaching are developed and evaluated taking into account these opportunities. Methods: A prototype for a sustainable blended study program at a University of Applied Sciences was developed and evaluated using a form of Educational Design Research. Results: The design stage, carried out by a team of eight lecturers, resulted in a design based on six pedagogical design principles. This design also included an effort to reduce student travel by limiting on-campus education to two days a week. The results show the effects of students’ increased online learning skills and diminished travel movements on their satisfaction with the blended learning design, and their travel behaviour, which can lead towards an attitude change regarding commute and online learning. The lecturers’ observations and experiences, depending on their personal preferences, contradicted (self-regulation skills) as well as confirmed (online learning experiences) the students’ evaluations. Discussion: The developed design principles are important to support a new balance between virtual and physical spaces, learning activities, moments in time and sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1222962
JournalFrontiers in Education
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • attitude change
  • design principles
  • higher education
  • student travel behaviour
  • sustainable blended learning


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