Using blended learning in South African social work education to facilitate student engagement

Z. F. Zimba, P. Khosa, R. Pillay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The use of blended learning has increased in higher education internationally, and in South Africa specifically. However, the digital divide has widened as a result of various factors, such as urban versus rural geographical locations, and historically advantaged versus historically disadvantaged universities. This study explores the use of blended learning by social work educators to enhance students’ engagement in a classroom setting in nine contact universities. A qualitative study employing an exploratory research design was used. In-depth interviews were conducted with 14 purposively sampled social work educators across various universities in South Africa, and thematic content analysis was conducted to analyze the data. The findings reveal that learning in and outside of the classroom can be fostered by adopting principles for enhancing students’ engagement. Discussion forums, YouTube, Facebook, Podcasts, WhatsApp and blogs were used to engage with, support and empower students meaningfully. In addition, the study reveals the inequalities amongst students that emerged when teaching using blended learning within the South African context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-278
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Work Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Blended learning
  • social constructivism
  • social inequalities
  • social work education
  • student engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Using blended learning in South African social work education to facilitate student engagement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this