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What are the Types of Distance Learning?

  • by Kelly Harmon
  • July 13, 2020, 9:53 a.m.


Distance learning has become a household word in the year 2020. Whether you are a parent trying to figure out how to "homeschool" or support your child or an educator trying to create meaningful learning experiences, we are all trying to navigate a just-right "distance learning" model. Will we be engaging in distance learning in the 2020-2021 school year? Maybe? In any case, we should begin thinking about ways we can use technology as an integrated part of our instructional model.


Synchronous learning happens in real time, whether online or face-to-face.


Asynchronous learning involves the teacher recording or creating lessons, activities, or assignments that students do at times that are convenient for the family. This also allows students to work at their own pace, including rewatching video lessons. Google Classroom, SeeSaw, Schoology, and NearPod are platforms for managing the learning. Students access the instruction & materials and turn in work through the platform. 


Blended learning is the use of technology applications and in-person instruction in a traditional school setting. About 10 years ago, we started incorporating Flipped Learning into our best practices. Lessons that include direct instruction components (surface-level learning) are recorded and students watch the video lessons before coming together with the teacher and classmate to discuss, process, and/or engage in guided practice.


Hybrid Learning is a combination of in-person and remote learning. Students attend school a few days per week and learn remotely a few days per week. This can be MWF in-person learning and TH learning remotely.


Remote Learning is a fully online model of instruction, also known as E-Learning.





Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson

About The Authors

Kelly Harmon & Associates began in 2001 with a mission of instructional coaching and providing rich literacy resources for educators and parents. Our work incorporates research-based best practices for teaching and learning.

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