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Synchronous learning refers to a learning environment in which everyone takes part at the same time. Lecture is an example of synchronous learning in a face-to-face environment, where learners and teachers are all in the same place at the same time. Before technology allowed for synchronous learning environments, most online education took place through Asynchronous learning methods. Since synchronous tools that can be used for education have become available, many people are turning to them as a way to help decrease the challenges associated with transactional distance that occurs in online education.
Some examples of synchronous learning environments are having students who are watching a live streaming of a class take part in a chat and having students and instructors participate in a class via a web conference tool such as Blackboard Collaborate, Adobe Connect, WebEx, Skype, etc. These synchronous experiences can be designed to develop and strengthen instructor-student and student-student relationships, which can be a challenge in distance learning programs.
While many online educational programs started out as and with the advent of web conferencing tools, people can learn at the same time in different places as well. For example, use of instant messaging or live chat, webinars and video conferencing allow for students and teachers to collaborate and learn in real time.
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