This week structure of collaborative learning in FDOL courses has become a little bit clearer to me. I have read a very interesting article “Asynchronous and synchronous e-learning” by Hrastinski. This blog post is mainly reflecting on that article.
Hrastinski studies are based on three types of communication; content-related, planning tasks and social support. These three types of communication are thought to be acquired to build sustaining e-learning communication (Haythornthwaite, 2002).
|Planning of tasks||
Hrastinski studied two e-learning classes that were given the same tasks. In the first group communication was synchronous (chat during three hours) and in the other group communication was asynchronous (discussion board scheduled over a week). He found that in the class with synchronous communication the exchange in the three groups content-related, planning of tasks and social support were more evenly distributed than in the class with asynchronous communication. In the class with asynchronous communication almost all exchange was content-related.
Hrastinski suggest the concepts personal and cognitive participation. Personal participation is higher in synchronous e-learning and increases arousal, motivation and convergence of meaning. Cognitive participation is higher in asynchronous e-learning and increases reflection and ability to process information.
My own experience of attending an on-line course that had only asynchronous exchange is very positive. It suited me because I was already motivated to do the course (social support not necessary), instructions were clear (planning tasks not necessary), and I could not spend much time on the course. Therefore the time I spent was almost entirely content-related. I was amazed of how much I learnt in a short time. For me it was a revolution and one of the reasons why I want to attend this FDOL course. I want to spread this fantastic way of learning much in short time.
However, I cannot expect everyone do be as unsocial and having such scarce time as me. In the skill of planning an on-line course I must also have some theories and tools for planning both synchronous and asynchronous communication. Also this was given in a nice table in Hrastinskis article:
|Asynchronous e-learning||Synchronous e-learning|
Probably synchronous e-learning is better for some people and asynchronous e-learning is better for others (like me). Does anyone have any reflections or tips on literature on different learning styles and different conditions (time, language) in accordance to synchronous and asynchronous e-learning? I would be thankful for such reflections and tips!
Hrastinski, S. Asynchronous and synchronous e-learning. Educause Quarterly. Nr 4 2008 https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/EQM0848.pdf
Haythornethwaite, C. “Building Social Networks via Computer Networks: Creating and Distributed Learning Communities” in Building virtual Communities: Learning and Change in Cyberspace, Ann Renninger and Wesley Schumar, eds (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp 159-190.