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Blended learning and Syrian refugees' empowerment through a capability approach lens

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Published
  • Mona Abdelfattah Ahmed Younes
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Publication date17/02/2020
Number of pages222
QualificationPhD
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Publisher
  • Lancaster University
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This study analyses the learning experiences of three Syrian refugee youth who enrolled in and completed blended learning (BL) programmes in Jordan, in order to explicate how BL has/or has not empowered those refugees. To achieve this objective, the following research questions framed this study:
Does blended learning empower Syrian refugee youth living in Jordan?
1. Is blended learning, in the case of Syrian refugee youth, an empowering capability?
2. Does blended learning help Syrian refugee youth to overcome their restrictive ‘rules of the game’?
3. Does blended learning improve Syrian refugee youth’s resource portfolio?

This study followed a case study approach. Three Syrian youth, each of whom attended a different BL programme, were interviewed between December 2018 and March 2019. While all three cases expressed aspirations that are education-bound, this study shows some difference in the aspirations of males and females and of urban refugees versus those residing in the camps. BL has been for all three cases a feasible learning opportunity. Programme providers designed the courses in a manner that accommodated to refugees’ locations, time, and economic status. Social media disseminated information about educational opportunities and possessing smartphones made following up with lectures and assignments possible and easy. The investigated BL programmes proved also to be enjoyable due to their constructive, learner-centred and collaborative approach, and competent facilitators. However, this finding does not indicate that those programmes were “empowering”. Restrictive legislations that constrain refugees’ work, movement, and lives, as well as patriarchal traditions that hampered females’ choices of education, were “rules of the game” that hindered students’ ability to fully benefit from the provided programmes. Despite the development of oral and public speaking, employability, and English language skills and despite the enhancement of self-esteem, confidence, and respect towards others, those programmes did not lead to refugees’ full empowerment.