Options for Delivering Course Content
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers are more aware than ever of the importance of providing students with multiple ways to access course materials. Traditional methods such as in-person lectures, group discussions, and hands-on projects are being expanded and supplemented by digital learning experiences. In addition to face-to-face instruction, delivery modes now include synchronous online, asynchronous online, hybrid, and blended learning. Below we’ll explore the considerations that come with each option for providing course content.
The question for educators is not necessarily whether in-person learning is valuable but rather how best to use their limited time in the classroom. Educators must evaluate whether certain types of learning—such as lectures, discussions, and self-guided assignments—are most effective in-person or whether they could be just as effective (or more effective) online.
Synchronous online learning may be almost identically structured to in-person learning with the notable exception that the classroom is replaced by a digital environment, usually through a video conferencing platform like Zoom, GoToMeeting, or Microsoft Teams. Lectures can be streamed live, and student participation can happen in real-time as it would in a traditional classroom. Group discussions can occur in virtual “breakout rooms.” For educators who want to maintain the simultaneous learning experience, the synchronous online option adds flexibility for students to join from any location or time zone.
This mode removes the element of simultaneous learning and instead allows students to view lectures, engage in discussions, and complete interactive activities at different times. Lectures are delivered through pre-recorded videos. Discussions can be facilitated through forums, chatrooms, or email exchanges. Schools may build entire online courses that take students step-by-step through a topic, combining videos, quiz questions, activities, and more.
This mode combines elements of electronic learning and traditional learning. Face-to-face instruction is the primary delivery method, but this is supplemented by online materials and activities, usually to be completed asynchronously. In blended learning, the online components are typically not intended to replace in-person learning. Some educators who employ blended learning have found that the asynchronous online method is particularly helpful for conveying foundational knowledge or end-of-unit review so that in-person time can be reserved for continued discussion, case studies, and hands-on activities. Instructors who post articles, videos, podcasts, quizzes, and interactive activities online are already engaging in a form of blended learning!
Though the terms “hybrid” and “blended” learning are sometimes used interchangeably, hybrid learning can also refer to a delivery mode where online components are meant to replace a portion of face-to-face instruction. In hybrid learning, students might engage online either synchronously (through a platform like Zoom) or asynchronously (through a discussion thread). While not as flexible as asynchronous learning, hybrid learning provides a balance between in-person and remote learning that can be especially useful for students who live in different locations or are juggling school and work.
Regardless of the method of delivery, educators need the right tools to help them organize their content and keep students engaged and on track. Leo acts as an all-in-one software platform that makes both in-person and remote learning easier for instructors and students alike. To learn more about Leo, contact us today.