distance learning A mode of learning designed to be undertaken without frequent or regular direct face‐to‐face contact between student and teacher. It is also sometimes referred to as distributed learning. It usually involves the production and distribution of learning materials by the supporting institution to the student, either in hard copy or, as is more normal today, by electronic means. Students are provided with tutorial support, which takes place by telephone, email, or other electronic means, possibly with occasional face‐to‐face meetings and short periods of attendance, such as a weekend or summer school.
blended learning A combination of modes of learning. It is currently normally used to describe a combination of e‐learning (or some other form of distance learning) and face‐to‐face student–teacher contact. Thus, a student undertaking a programme of study via a blended learning model of delivery will access much of the learning materials and make regular contact with their tutor and other learners online, but will also attend at least one lesson or tutorial—or perhaps a more lengthy weekend or residential course—where tutor and students can all meet in the same place and at the same time. This represents a blend of asynchronous, distributed learning with traditional synchronous, non‐distributed provision. The inclusion of face‐to‐face contact is designed largely to overcome one of the problems associated with distributed (online) learning, which is that students can come to feel isolated and demotivated, and may miss the social contact and stimulation which traditional attendance with a group of peers can provide.
"blended learning" A Dictionary of Education. Ed. Susan Wallace. Oxford University Press, 2009. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Rhode Island College. 30 September 2010 <http://0-www.oxfordreference.com.helin.uri.edu/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t267.e113>
asynchronous learning Usually applied to online or other modes of distance learning, where pupils are undertaking the same course of study but are accessing the learning materials and interacting with their tutors individually and at different times. By contrast, conventional courses of study normally involve synchronous learning, which is to say that all learners are participating or receiving input at the same time.
"asynchronous learning" A Dictionary of Education. Ed. Susan Wallace. Oxford University Press, 2009. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Rhode Island College. 23 September 2010 http://0-www.oxfordreference.com.helin.uri.edu/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t267.e75
hybrid classes These courses use a mixture of distance learning and face-toface techniques. For example, a group of learners in a biology class may meet face-to-face for their laboratory work, but the remainder of the instruction may be offered via television or computer.
From Encyclopedia of Education. Ed.James W. Guthrie. Macmillan Reference USA, c2003. 2nd ed.
Jason Snart, Professor of English at College of DuPage, has written Hybrid Learning: The Perils and Promise of Blending Online and Face-to-Face Instruction in Higher Education. Published in 2010 by Praeger Publishers, the book examines the promise of combining a more flexible learning model with a traditional classroom setting.
Collection Development & Reference Librarian, Interim Head of Curriculum Resources Center