Different Types of Teaching for Online Courses

Different Types of Teaching for Online Courses

Online learning has evolved a great deal since the first online course was offered in 1985. In fact, over 180 million people around the world use online courses to learn new skills and even get college degrees.

This way of learning has become an essential element that allows so many the opportunity to learn that otherwise wouldn’t. 

Online education has also evolved in the way it teaches its students. These diverse methods cater to different learning styles and enhance the educational experience by providing flexible and personalized learning opportunities. 

In this article, we will discuss the various methods which include synchronous teaching, asynchronous teaching, blended learning approaches as well as interactive techniques, and adaptive teaching that will help educators connect with their students and help them succeed. 

Synchronous Teaching

The synchronous teaching method mimics a traditional classroom by teaching in real time through streaming. 

This method allows teachers and students to engage regardless of their location. 

It is most effective for courses that benefit from discussion, and immediate feedback such as language courses, complex topics, and seminars that encourage debate. 

Benefits of Synchronous Teaching

There are benefits to courses that are taught in a traditional way through the Internet. These include: 

  • Immediate Feedback & Interaction: Instructors can provide instant clarification and students can ask questions throughout the lecture, which is essential for dynamic understanding. 
  • Enhanced Engagement: Courses taught in real-time maintain interest, and engagement better because they create a sense of community in which students can be involved. 
  • Structured Learning: Synchronous sessions mimic the structure of a traditional classroom, which is beneficial for those who are more successful in routine conditions. 

Tools & Technologies for Synchronous Teaching

Thanks to the growing popularity of online learning, the technology instructors can utilize for their teaching is always evolving. 

These tools include:

  • Video conferencing tools for interactive teaching, 
  • Interactive whiteboards so instructors and students can collaborate on topics, and 
  • Chat options that allow for organized communication.  

Challenges & Solutions 

Synchronous teaching is great, but it does come with challenges that must be addressed to make sure educators facilitate learning for students: 

  • Time Zone Differences: Synchronizing schedules is difficult, especially when educators are teaching students around the globe. If having live classes is important, educators should consider offering multiple time options. 
  • Technical Issues: Technical issues are always at the forefront of online learning. To reduce the likelihood ensure all students have the necessary technology before enrollment and offer information on troubleshooting for common issues. 
  • Student Engagement: Every educator wants to keep their students engaged and doing it online is hard. To do this, employ interactive looks like polls, breakout rolls, and asking for real-time feedback to keep sessions interactive. 

Implementing synchronous online teaching effectively requires a lot of careful planning, and consideration to overcome challenges, but utilizing the right tools will allow educators to provide a productive educational environment for all students. 

Asynchronous Teaching

Asynchronous teaching is on the flip side of synchronous teaching, so instead of real-time access, it allows students to access course materials at their own pace with no live interaction. 

This method is flexible and great for students with other commitments or a diverse student population around the globe. 

Course content typically includes recorded lectures, readings, discussion boards, and digital assignments. 

Benefits of Asynchronous Teaching

Benefits of asynchronous teaching include: 

  • Flexibility & Self-Paced Learning: Students can learn on their schedule and pace spending more time on the topics that require more focus. 
  • Access to a Wide Range of Resources: Courses can include many different learning materials like videos, articles, podcasts, and more to cater to different learning styles. 
  • Time for Reflection: Students have the time to think about course content before participating in discussions, or completing assignments, leading to more thoughtful learning. 

Best Practices for Implementing Asynchronous Teaching

To ensure students have the most success in their courses, educators should seek to implement best practice strategies, which include: 

  • Structured & Organized Content: Organizing content into modules or weeks with segments containing objectives, lectures, and assignments helps students navigate courses and understand expectations. 
  • Consistent Communication: Instructors must maintain regular communication through announcements, feedback, and participation in discussion programs to keep students engaged. 
  • Clear Expectations: Set clear deadlines to keep students on track and give time estimates for how long modules will take. 
  • Create Engaging Material: Keep courses interactive by utilizing a variety of materials and activities to cater to different learning styles. 

Examples of Successful Asynchronous Learning Environments

Platforms like Tevello and Coursera have an incredible range of courses for all levels of education in an asynchronous format where students can watch lectures, read materials, and complete assignments under specified deadlines. 

While companies such as Khan Academy offer learning in subjects suited for K-12 students. 

There are also many corporate training programs that utilize this style of learning for training purposes. 

A well-implemented asynchronous teaching creates an excellent educational environment that accommodates different learning styles and schedules and engages students throughout the learning process. 

Blended Learning Approaches

Blended learning combines online educational materials with online interactions like you would have in a traditional classroom. It is a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning with elements of each. 

Benefits of Blended Learning

Benefits of blended learning include: 

  • Flexibility: Students only have to plan around the live portions, and then do the rest of the course material at their own pace. 
  • Enhanced Engagement: Incorporating in-person, and online interactions increases student engagement by catering to more learning styles. 
  • Improved Accessibility: Blended learning allows students who cannot attend all live courses to participate. 
  • Personalization: With this method, students can spend more time on topics they find challenging and less on those they master quickly.

Combining Synchronous & Asynchronous Elements Effectively

There are best practices to ensure synchronous and asynchronous elements are combined effectively, these include: 

  • Strategic Planning: Determine what parts of the curriculum are best suited for asynchronous i.e. reading, recorded lectures, and what should be synchronous i.e. discussions, and live sessions.
  • Leverage Technology: Use learning management platforms that house the technology you need whether it be live webinars, chats, forums, emails, or content modules.
  • Regular Feedback: Incorporate checkpoints to address questions and acquire feedback for improvement.
  • Balanced Workload: Ensure the workload between the two methods is balanced so students can manage their time effectively.

Case Studies for Effective Blended Learning

Many companies have effectively implemented blended learning. 

Stanford University’s blended learning in mechanical engineering program has led to increased student performance, and engagement. 

While Boeing’s leadership training program utilizes e-learning modules and traditional seminars to begin training around the world before more intensive workshops. 

Blended learning is a great way to improve learning outcomes by combining the strengths of synchronous and asynchronous learning. Careful planning by educators will help them create engaging, effective, and personalized learning for any student. 

Interactive Techniques

Finally, let’s discuss interactive techniques in online learning that are essential to engage students, and help them be successful. 

These techniques involve various activities and technologies that promote active participation and collaboration between students and instructors.

Tools that facilitate interaction & engagement include:

  • Video conference platforms, 
  • Interactive whiteboards,
  • Learning Management Systems (LMS), 
  • Audience response systems, 
  • Collaboration tools (i.e. Google Docs, Microsoft OneDrive, and other cloud-based software), and 
  • Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality.

Tips for Teachers to Keep Students Engaged

Keeping students engaged is difficult in the classroom, and in a virtual setting, it’s even more difficult. Tips to help educators achieve this include:

  • Incorporating variety by mixing different types of activities and multimedia, 
  • Set clear expectations by clearly defining what is expected of students, 
  • Encourage interaction by regularly using breakout rooms and discussion boards, 
  • Provide regular constructive feedback on assignments, quizzes, and discussions to increase student interest and motivation.
  • Utilize gamification by implementing game-like elements such as point scoring, badges and certificates, 
  • Foster a community by encouraging peer-to-peer support and recognition, and 
  • Conduct regular check-ins with students to understand their challenges and experiences with the course.

Interactive techniques are essential because they transform passive learning into an active learning experience for students that keeps them engaged and helps them succeed. 

Adaptive Teaching

Finally, let’s talk about adaptive learning, which is the educational strategy to adjust content, pace, and learning methods to meet the needs of individual students and accommodate learners’ preferences, interests, and past learning experiences.

Technologies that support adaptive learning paths include:

  • Learning Management Systems (LMS) to incorporate adaptive tools and modify content based on a student’s performance, 
  • Adaptive learning software to adapt to the needs of the student and provide personalized pathways,
  • AI and machine learning algorithms to analyze student data and predict which learning approaches are most likely to improve individual performance, and 
  • Educational apps and tools that adjust difficulty and topics based on the learner’s performance. 

Benefits of Adaptive Teaching

Adaptive teaching that caters to a student’s diverse needs includes:

  • Enhanced Engagement: Students are more likely to stay engaged and motivated when the material is at the right level of difficulty and tailored to their areas of interest.
  • Improved Learning Outcomes: Adaptive teaching leads to better learning outcomes by ensuring students work in their optimal zone of development through a targeted approach. 
  • Reduced Learning Gaps: Adaptive learning quickly identifies areas of weakness and provides targeted interventions that help close gaps in knowledge that aren’t addressed as quickly through more traditional learning methods. 
  • Support for Diverse Learning Styles: This method of teaching supports various learning styles and accommodates differences that are often overlooked.
  • Accessibility & Inclusion: Adaptive technologies make learning more accessible for students with disabilities by adjusting content delivery based on the student’s needs. 

Adaptive teaching is a shift away from the one-size-fits-all approach to education. 

This method utilizes advanced technologies to offer a more inclusive, and engaging learning experience tailored to the individual needs of students. 

Adaptive teaching has the potential to transform educational outcomes by making learning more accessible and effective for everyone. 

Looking to Start Online Teaching Today? 

With changes in technology, there are many options for teaching online courses that will help you connect with students and keep them engaged. 

Whether you want to create a traditional synchronous learning course, or hoping to create something a little more modern through asynchronous methods, interactive teaching, or adaptive learning, Tevello has the tools you need to get you started. 

Start your free trial today and let us help you meet your goals!