Blake Alspach

Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Todd Lilly


This action research study evolved from the sudden shift in schools and districts in response to the COVID 19 pandemic. Shifting from a traditional face-to-face AP Environmental Science classroom to a hybrid classroom required evaluating and revising the pedagogical choices made to create a positive learning experience. A hybrid classroom consists of face-to-face students in the classroom and online students attending the class simultaneously through video conferencing software. Teachers and students had little to no experience engaging in a hybrid learning model, thus creating a need to develop and implement effective instructional practices to support student learning. This qualitative action research case study analyzed the student learning experience through the lenses of Bakhtin’s dialogism, Vygotsky’s social constructivism, and Deci and Ryan’s self-determination theory. Student interviews, student surveys, and teacher- researcher observations were the three data sources collected and analyzed as part of the study. The resulting research of this study suggests that implementing a dialogic pedagogy positively impacts the student learning experience by increasing content understanding and student motivation compared to a monologic approach. The teacher facilitated effective dialogue by using purposeful questioning techniques, scaffolding within the lesson, cultivating small group collaboration, and an overall restructuring of the power dynamics within the classroom. These findings can support effective dialogic instruction as schools continue to progress in the digital age in either face-to-face or hybrid classrooms.