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Asynchronous vs. Synchronous Interaction

Asynchronous vs. Synchronous Interaction
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Author(s): Tiong Kung-Ming (University Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia) and Sim Khoon-Seng (Curtin University of Technology, Malaysia)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 10
Source title: Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Patricia L. Rogers (Bemidji State University, USA), Gary A. Berg (California State University Channel Islands (Retired), USA), Judith V. Boettcher (Designing for Learning, USA), Caroline Howard (HC Consulting, USA), Lorraine Justice (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong) and Karen D. Schenk (K. D. Schenk and Associates Consulting, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch019


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The rapid development of technology greatly influences computer-based learning in distance education. One of the most important aspects is interactivity, and this is threefold: student-student interaction, student-instructor interaction, and student-content interaction (Moore & Kearsley, 1996). As distance-education technology increasingly moves toward multimedia-oriented systems, a more effective synergy of synchronous and asynchronous interaction is required. As discussed by Garrison (1990), the quality and integrity of the educational process in distance learning largely depends upon sustained, two-way communication. In this article, we will look into the characteristics of both types of interaction and discuss their advantages as well as impact on the three forms of interactions. We will also look at some examples for both asynchronous and synchronous interaction technologies in facilitating distance learning. Finally, we look at some possible future trends in distance-learning interactivity.

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