Sep 25, 2020

Understanding Student Learning in Synchronous and Asynchronous Environments

On Tuesday, Sept. 22, KCRG aired an interview with Corey Rogers, a digital learning consultant at Grant Wood Area Education Agency, to help parents understand more about their new role in helping support students embarking on virtual learning.Synchronous and Asynchronous Environments

In her interview, Corey explained how Grant Wood AEA supports its 32 districts with both online and face-to-face learning formats. Below are some tips from Corey’s interview:

What is synchronous and asynchronous learning?

  • Synchronous learning means ‘same time, same place.’ There will be online engagement with classmates and teachers, and they will typically be working on similar content with similar objectives. Parents might see their student attending a virtual class meeting, sometimes including small group instruction or discussion. This is done usually via a platform like Google Meet or Zoom. ​
  • Asynchronous learning means that the learning is typically ‘on demand,’ but not live and not at the same time as their peers. Parents might see their student working through both offline and online work, and this format might offer more flexibility for families. Students will still engage with the teacher, but not in a live chat format. 

How can open communication between parents and teachers help students learn?
It can be hard to see a student frustrated, and your student’s teacher will value a parent’s input and feedback in order to help the student succeed. 
“Don’t forget,” Corey noted, “your student likely isn’t the only one struggling with a concept or task.” She encouraged parents to ask teachers to suggest what kind of prompts can be used to help keep their student moving. 

If online learning is a struggle for a student, Corey also suggested that a parent ask their student “What makes this hard?” The student could be struggling with the  directions, the content, or even the technology being used.  “Always remember that it is ok to struggle, especially with so many new things to adapt to,” she said.

Teachers are there to identify if there are alternatives to help your student succeed. Ask them about using printed support materials, having questions read to them, and anything else that might help. “This is the same approach that would be used in a traditional classroom,” said Corey. “Parents just need to be comfortable using the same approach to support their student online.”

Tricks to help kids get the most out of online learning.
Normal school days in a brick and mortar building include brain breaks, physical breaks, and time to socialize help keep kids active and engaged. Parents might consider encouraging their students to move up and down the stairs, take a short walk, or move around in the house between sessions to help break up the day.

“It’s important to also create family norms for online learning in addition to the established classroom rules,” added Corey. 

  • Have clear expectations and set boundaries with your student. 
  • Ask what your child needs from you to be successful with online learning, and 
  • Be open with how they can let you know when they need help.

What about parents concerned about too much screen time?
Think about screen time in two categories: Is your child creating or are they consuming information? There are benefits to both, and the content that they’re creating and consuming matters too. The amount of new skills your student learns in a short time will be amazing.

Watch the recording of Corey's interview here:K C R G Interview video