Friday, 30 September 2011

Asynchronous = Time and space learning

A common topic of conversation amongst educators when discussing learning technologies is the time and space they need to find out about the various tools in the VLE and redesign their courses.  It is no secret that in my context of HE time and space is sadly lacking.  What they are saying is that they need time and space to learn.  Online, many of the standard communication/collaboration tools available to educators are best used asynchronously.  Asynchronous learning activities are time and space learning activities.  Well designed courses using such tools to scaffold students' learning through a series of activities which give them time for reflection, time for critical thinking, time for articulation and clarification.  The communication can, therefore, be more meaningful and of a better quality all round.  Within the sessions, within any synchronous learning event, the quality of any dialogue is compromised by the immediacy of the responses.  There can be little time for reflection in such an environment.  Some cope better than others with this but overall it's just not as good.  I should put potentially at the end of this of course as other factor impact on the learning.  But, in essence, the potential for critical thinking and deep learning is better within asynchronous learning activities because...

Asynchronous = time and space learning.

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