Instruments to explore blended learning: Modifying a method to analyse online communication for the analysis of face-to-face communication

Bas A. De Leng*, Diana H. J. M. Dolmans, H. (Jeroen) H. L. M. Donkers, Arno M. M. Muijtjens, Cees P. M. van der Vleuten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Web of Science)


In the complex practice of today's blended learning, educators need to be able to evaluate both online and face-to-face communication in order to get the full picture of what is going on in blended learning scenarios. The aim of this study was to investigate the reliability and feasibility of a practical instrument for analysing face-to-face communication that is in alignment with tools for analysing online communication. We examined whether an existing coding scheme for online communication could be modified to evaluate face-to-face communication. We investigated the reliability, validity and usability of a modified version of the Transcript Analysis Tool (TAT) in analysing communication among students during small-group sessions comprising presentations by students and discussion. The modified TAT proved to be effective in obtaining a detailed description of students' participation in the communication and of the focus of the communication. Evaluation was more efficient when direct video analysis was used than when a transcript of the same video was analysed. Direct analysis took about 2 h for 20 min of video recording and had an inter-rater reliability of kappa = 0.56. The modified TAT appears to be an effective and efficient instrument to analyse face-to-face communication in small group sessions. Its combined use with an evaluation instrument for online learning may create a powerful evaluation instrument for blended learning. Further studies are needed to establish the value of such an instrument.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-651
JournalComputers & Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010


  • Content analysis
  • Interaction analysis
  • Face-to-face communication
  • Blended learning
  • Video observation

Cite this