The Different Types of Distance Learning

By Brenda on August 26th, 2011


Distance learning has evolved greatly since its early days when students would receive course materials in the mail. This type of learning is actually called correspondence, and is still used by some educational organizations.

Distance learning was once a fringe practice, and considered by many to be inferior to classroom instruction. Many educators called it a fad, but it has only grown in popularity. Now many prestigious colleges and universities offer online courses and degrees.

Recent studies conducted by legitimate organizations such as the United States Department of Education show that online distance learning is just as, and in some cases more effective than learning in the classroom. Many educators who once opposed this learning pedagogy have been forced to embrace it.

There are actually four different types of distance learning methodologies that we will discuss in this article. Knowing each of the models will help you a more informed student.

Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning

Most people think of distance learning in the asynchronous format that allows the student to study the course materials on their own time. Asynchronous actually means “not at the same time.” It’s this flexible learning model that attracts so many people to distance learning. They can get off work, eat dinner, put the kids to bed, then study their coursework in the evening.

Synchronous means “at the same time.” Synchronous learning involves live communication between students and instructor via chat, online video conference, or telephone conference call. Students may be in the same room or in multiple locations. This is a very popular method of distance learning, but is not flexible.

Open Online Courses

These types of courses allow students a great deal of freedom. Students are given the assignments ahead of time and can work on them when they have the time. Some courses have an end deadline while others do not. This type of course takes a great amount of discipline as the instructor does not intervene or motivate students to complete the work on time.

Hybrid Courses

Hybrid courses combine asynchronous and synchronous learning. Some courses are delivered completely online while others meet in class and online. The work is usually not turned in during class time, but submitted online.

Fixed Time Courses

These courses are conducted over the internet, but require students to log in at a specific time. The format is synchronous even though the delivery is 100% online.




Category: Online Degrees,Other and General