Mothers’ experiences of engaging in blended online learning in higher education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In order to realise career and personal goals, as well as financial autonomy and security, many women are pursuing higher education alongside the role of motherhood. Student-mothers face many challenges when engaging in higher education, and many fail to complete their studies. This phenomenological study applies a feminist lens to the choices, motivations and barriers experienced by student-mothers. Data from two focus groups were analysed inductively through a feminist lens to identify emerging themes.The three main themes emerging from the data were: (1) student-mothers’ considerations for engaging in blended online learning; (2) the challenges for student-mothers studying through blended online learning; and (3) self-actualisation through blended online higher education. This research makes an important contribution to the literature by illuminating the study-work-life conflict experienced by student-mothers engaging in blended online learning. The findings of this research have implications for both higher education providers and policy makers. The findings highlight the barriers and facilitators facing mothers’ return to study via blended online learning and provide key insights for addressing these. Future research would benefit from exploring these issues with a larger and more diverse sample considering the perspectives of mothers from different language, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-194
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Lifelong Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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