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Synchronous Versus Asynchronous Learning

Before you consider teaching or learning in a virtual environment, you should understand and compare the various types of environments available in distance-learning programs. The two main methods of learning and teaching online are synchronous and asynchronous.

Synchronous Classes

Synchronous (sync) classes are somewhat similar to on-campus classes because they require the student or instructors to attend the class at the same time as all of the other students. If a class meets from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. every Wednesday night for the next ten weeks, then you need to make your schedule available to attend, just as you would attend an on-campus class. It is during this time frame that discussions, lectures, presentations, or examinations may occur.

The following are common communication tools used in a synchronous classroom environment:

Asynchronous Classes

Asynchronous classes tend to be a bit more popular with adult learners because these online courses are taught in environments that are tailored toward the convenience of students who may be juggling heavy schedules. All discussions, lectures, presentations, and examinations are available for students to complete within a specific time. For instance, during each quarter, all discussion posts must be made prior to midnight every Wednesday, and assignments must be turned in no later than midnight every Sunday night. Although there are time frames to guide the students, the courses are designed for a much more autonomous lifestyle.

The following are common communication tools used for an asynchronous classroom environment:

When you decide to go back to school online or to teach in a virtual setting, you should understand the distance-learning options available to ensure your teaching or learning experience is tailored to your lifestyle.

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