Welcome to this presentation on Synchronous Learning. My name is Nathan Sumner, and I will be your facilitator.
Today we’re going to look at advantages and disadvantages of synchronous learning. We will also examine facilitation strategies one can use to enhance the student learning experience. Next, we will look at some enhancement tools you can use to increase learner participation and collaboration. Finally, we will conclude the presentation with some final thoughts and recommendations.
Several advantages exist for synchronous learning. First, whether the class is administer as a chat, live video lecture and discussion, or live audio lecture and discussion, it allows faculty and students to learn and discuss in real time. In fact, audio and video lectures bring some “realness” to the classroom and helps break the monotony of online learning. Second, students can accomplish collaborative discussions in their learning teams in a shorter timeframe. Next, the synchronous classroom allows faculty and students to give immediate feedback on each others’ comments. Finally, online synchronous learning is usually less expensive than the traditional classroom because it eliminates overhead costs such as a brick and mortar classroom. This cost savings is passed onto students in terms of lower tuition costs.
Okay, let’s look at some of the disadvantages of the synchronous learning environment. First, going to school online in a synchronous environment requires faculty and students to have technical knowledge. For example, they must know how to function in a chat room or know how to download and install plug-ins for the video and audio technologies used in the classroom. Second, faculty and students must have their own high-speed internet connection and a computer with a fast enough processor to attend class. Next, various technologies are not always stable. For example, if an instructor is conducing a live online lecture and the video does not buffer correctly, the video feed will not be continuous and will lag too far behind the actual lecture. Finally, and most important, an asynchronous classroom is not time convenient, because it requires faculty and students to attend class at specific time, thus eliminating some of the flexibility of going to school online.
Online faculty should employ several strategies in the synchronous classroom. First, they should provide their class with class meeting times. These times should be posted in the course syllabus as well as weekly reminders via email. Second, faculty should always use friendly and appropriate tone. Next, faculty should stop periodically to ask thought-provoking questions, just as they would in a traditional classroom. Students should be required to participate as part of their overall grade. And finally, faculty should give immediate feedback to students, especially when giving kudos in class or when someone brings up an interesting topic.
So how can a facilitator enhance student learning in the synchronous learning environment? Facilitators should provide something very simple-lecture outlines and chat logs so those whose dominant learning style is not visual or auditory can have the information in front of them. In chat versions of class, the instructor can add video and audio lecture versions to assist the visual and auditory learners in the class. An interesting technology (if offered by the school of course) is Whiteboard technology. This technology gives the instructor and class a virtual “whiteboard” to write on, making the class more interactive. Finally, although it is an asynchronous tool, faculty can create a blog (complete with discussion) for each class.
So what have we learned today? We learned that although the synchronous learning environment allows for “real-time” learning and collaboration, it does not give the flexibility many faculty and students need in terms of attending class. Additionally, the synchronous platform may not reach all learning styles, so it would behoove the school to use synchronous as well as asynchronous technologies. When using video and audio lectures, faculty should still provide lecture outlines and chat logs. When using a live chat classroom, all faculty and students should be provided with a log (in text form) of the entire classroom chat for future reference.
Thank you for attending today’s training! For more information about synchronous learning, please consult these resources.
Synchronous Learning Nathan Sumner
Dr. Gale Cossette<br />University of Phoenix<br />AET/531-Technology for the Adult Learner<br />Synchronous Learning<br />By: Nathan Sumner<br />
Allow lectures in synchronous and asynchronous format
For video or audio lectures, lecture outlines and chat logs</li></li></ul><li>References<br />Bitter, G. G., & Legacy, J. M. (2008). Using technology in the classroom (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.<br />Business-Software.com. (2011). Advantages and disadvantages of online synchronous learning. Retrieved from http://www.business-software.com/virtual-training/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-online-synchronous-learning.php<br />Finkelstein, J. (2006). Learning in real time: Synchronous teaching and learning online. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.<br />