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Blended workplace learning: the value of human interaction

Suniti Hewett (QUT Business School, Queensland, University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)
Karen Becker (School of Business, Faculty of Arts and Business, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, Australia)
Adelle Bish (College of Business and Economics, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 18 December 2018

Issue publication date: 11 February 2019




The purpose of this paper is to study the use of blended learning in the workplace and questions whether interpersonal interaction facilitates learner engagement (specifically behavioral, cognitive and/or emotional engagement), and if so, the means by which this occurs.


A qualitative approach was taken to this exploratory study, a single-case study design was utilized, and data collection methods involved interviews with facilitators and past participants of a blended workplace learning (BWL) program.


Human interaction in the BWL program included learner–facilitator, learner–learner and learner–colleague interaction. Where human interaction was present, it was reported to be linked with more active behavioral engagement, higher cognitive engagement and stronger and more positive emotional engagement than where human interaction was absent.

Research limitations/implications

The single-case study design does not allow for generalizability of findings. Reliance on self-reported data through interviews without cross-validation from other forms of measurement is a further limitation of the study.

Practical implications

Effective blended learning programs for workplaces are those that provide opportunities for learners to engage through human interaction with facilitators, other learners and colleagues. The findings advance current knowledge of BWL, and have implications for human resource development professionals, and designers and facilitators of blended learning programs for workplaces.


The study contributes to existing literature on blended learning in the workplace and emphasizes the importance of ensuring that human interaction is still an element of blended learning to maximize the benefits to learners and organizations.



This study expands upon a paper presented at 30th Annual ANZAM Annual Conference, December 6–9, 2016.


Hewett, S., Becker, K. and Bish, A. (2019), "Blended workplace learning: the value of human interaction", Education + Training, Vol. 61 No. 1, pp. 2-16.



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