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The blended learning environment utilizes best practices from both classroom and online learning. This integrated approach brings to the learning experience a synthesis of the advantages of technology driven learning, online learning and trainer based learning.
Real Time (Synchronous)
Until recent, eLearning initiatives relied generally on asynchronous means for teaching and learning. However, improvements in technology and increasing bandwidth capabilities have led to the growing popularity of synchronous learning. Learners and teachers experience synchronous eLearning as more social and avoid frustration by asking and answering questions in real time. Synchronous sessions help learners to feel more engaged and obviates the development of feelings of learning in isolation.
Examples of synchronous aspects include videoconferencing, instant messaging and chat, and face- to- face meetings.
Different Time (Asynchronous)
Asynchronous eLearning, commonly facilitated by media such as email, online discussion boards, wikis and blogs has the potential to support learners by developing learning communities.
Asynchronous learning’s greatest benefit to students is the freedom it gives them to access the course and its instructional materials at any time they choose. This allows for accessibility for learners from a variety of locations such as workplace, universities or from home. Another advantage of asynchronous learning is that a record is captured of nearly everything that occurs in that environment. All materials, correspondences, and interactions can be electronically archived.