Synchronous, asynchronous, or blended learning? If you’re confused by the terms, today's post will explain how these different instructional approaches are being used to create more student-centered learning experiences in our virtual and blended schools.
Different Instructional Approaches Explained
When technology began transforming how, when, and where students learned, educators began using the terms synchronous learning and asynchronous learning to distinguish between face-to-face classes and self-paced learning. But what do those technology-tinged words really mean today?
Synchronous Instruction (Real-Time Learning)
In synchronous learning, students and teachers work together at the same time in the same place—whether that place is a bricks-and-mortar school environment or a virtual classroom. Typical synchronous instruction involves teacher-led or facilitated in-class lessons or lectures, group projects, and class discussions.
Asynchronous Instruction (Anytime Learning)
In asynchronous learning, students work at their own pace and place, completing coursework within defined time limits. Students and instructors are not necessarily interacting in real time. Schoolwork that students perform on their own time typically includes:
- viewing pre-recorded online classroom sessions at home;
- reviewing course materials online or offline;
- completing assignments; and
- collaborating with other students via secure message boards.
Combined Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning
While full-time online schools such as Connections Academy combine synchronous and asynchronous learning in a virtual learning environment, blended learning environments combine virtual and in-person synchronous instruction on a school campus with asynchronous, self-paced learning at a time and place chosen by students and parents. Our Nexus Academy high schools offer this type of blended learning experience....