Skip to Main Content
Skip to main content

Online Learning Readiness Tutorial: Glossary of Terms

Terms and Terminology associated with Online Learning

Synchronous - synchronous online learning means that students are required to log in and participate in class at the same time each week, much like you would for a face-2-face class.

Asynchronous - Asynchronous online learning means students can access the instructional materials each week at any time they choose. It is more flexible than synchronous online learning because you are not required to meet at a specified time.

Remote Learning: Remote learning is learning at a distance resulting from an unusual or unanticipated circumstance (like a pandemic). Like online learning, the instructor and students cannot physically be present in the same location but it is more of a temporary measure until regular classes can resume. Remote learning can be synchronous, asynchronous, or both.

Online Learning: Online learning is a method of education that allows students to learn in a completely virtual/online learning environment made possible by the affordances of technology. It is not a temporary measure but is well planned, designed with intent, and uses technology to facilitate learning. It, too, can be synchronous, asynchronous, or both.

Blended/Hybrid – Blended learning blends/merges in-person and online learning together. In-person lectures are supplemented with online materials and activities to enhance the learning experience.

Self-Directed Learning – Being self-directed in your learning means being able to identify the learning resources and strategies required to be successful. Self-directed learners can assess if they have met the learning outcomes of a course and can adjust as necessary to ensure they have met their own learning goals.

Peer Assessment/Review – Peer review is having one or more classmates assess your work. Providing and receiving peer feedback is a good skill to develop. It is an essential component of an online learning environment, where access to instructor feedback might not always be immediately available.

Teacher-Centered Learning: In a teacher-centred learning environment, learning tends to be passive rather than active and centers on what the instructor will do to teach rather than what the students will do to learn. In a traditional classroom setting, the lecturer/instructor does all the talking (lecturing), and there is very little onus on the students to participate actively. This one-way transmission of information is often described as the ‘sage on the stage’ method.

Student-Centered Learning: In a student-centred learning environment, the learning activities that students engage in are the primary method of knowledge acquisition and construction. Learning is considered active rather than passive, and the learning outcomes focus on what the students will do to learn the content rather than what the instructor will do to teach the content. The instructor is still present but more as a ‘guide by the side.’

Learning Management System (LMS) – A Learning Management System, as the name implies, is used to deliver the course content online and track student progress. Canvas, Moodle, and Blackboard are examples of an LMS. Students are required to log on to the LMS to find course updates, the course syllabi, course content, discussion forums, and assignments.