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Guest Learner experiences

​​​​​​​Types of learner experiences (methods of delivery)

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Guest Learner experiences

Types of learner experiences (methods of delivery)
Given the improvements in delivery methods, online learning environments provide a greater degree of flexibility than traditional classroom settings. Online platforms can also offer more diverse representations of student populations as learners prepare for working in the twenty-first century. The diversity comes from interacting with students outside of one's geographical location, possibly offering a variety of perspectives on course content. Courses offered completely online are primarily delivered in an asynchronous learning or synchronous learning format.

Asynchronous learning environments are described as online spaces where work is supported through the use of digital platforms in such a way that participants are not required to be online at the same time. Threaded discussions, e-mail, and telephone calls are options of asynchronous delivery. This gives meaning to the anytime-anywhere appeal of online learning. A benefit of asynchronous learning is the learner having more time to generate content-related responses to the instructor and peer postings; they have time to find facts to back their written statements. The additional time provides an opportunity to increase the learner's ability to process information. The spelling and grammar within postings of an asynchronous environment are like that found in formal academic writing. On the other hand, one of the main limitations of this delivery method is the greater potential for a learner to feel removed from the learning environment. Asynchronous learning is viewed as less social in nature and can cause the learner to feel isolated. Providing the student a feeling of belonging to the university or institution will assist with feelings of isolation; this can be done through ensuring links to university support systems and the library are accessible and operable.

Synchronous learning environments most closely resemble face-to-face learning. Synchronous learning takes place through digital platforms where the learners are utilizing the online media at the same time. When compared to asynchronous learning, synchronous online environments provide a greater sense of feeling supported, as the exchange of text or voice is immediate and feels more like a conversation. If platforms such as web conferencing or video chat are used, learners are able to hear the tone of voice used by others which may allow for greater understanding of content. As in a traditional classroom environment, online learners may feel a need to keep the conversation going, so there is a potential for focusing on the quantity of responses over the quality of content within the response. However the synchronous environment, with real-time responses, can allow for students or instructors to provide clarity to what was said, or alleviate any possible misconceptions.

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