HyFlex Challenges and Strategies for Matured Learners: Construction Engineering Higher Education in New Zealand During the Pandemic

Kam Yuen Cheng, Agriculture, Business, and Commerce, Lincoln University


The idea of remote learning has allowed many learners to overcome the barriers of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic in fulfilling learners’ expectations. This study aims to investigate the challenges and strategies mature students, especially those career changers, were facing in con-struction engineering programmes during the pandemic by establishing an inclusive HyFlex collab-oration model between two different organisations, namely one Polytechnics (the higher education institute) and an online learning platform institute (the online institute). A questionnaire survey was developed and distributed to all the 16 mature learners joining this Hyflex pathway in New Zealand. Both quantitative and qualitative methodologies were used, and all students were asked to respond to a questionnaire on the HyFlex route using a Likert scale. To ensure the accuracy of the findings, the reliability of the data collected by a questionnaire survey was assessed using Cronbach's alpha.

It was found that students were satisfied with their academic performances and knowledge building for career changes with learning through this model; interaction, empathy and connection between learners and facilitators play a key role in the success of the inclusive HyFlex model. The current study adds to the body of knowledge by highlighting challenges and strategies for reducing COVID-19's impact on mature learners studying construction engineering programmes. The findings are critical for industry practitioners and teachers responsible for establishing and upgrading pre- and post-pandemic construction engineering learning programmes to upskill and solve the skill shortage problem in the shortest period possible.

Keywords: Remote learning, collaboration, engineering, student engagement, higher education, pathway

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