Adapt distance education to the level of study

What are the differences between primary, secondary or post-secondary education when students are not in class? Here is a summary of the elements to adapt, according to Serge Gérin-Lajoie, professor at TÉLUQ.

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Second part (see part 1) of our account of the words of Serge Gérin-Lajoie, professor at TELUQ University, during his appearance on the program “Ça s'explicable” on Radio-Canada radio on September 16, which we have could complete thanks to his notes (thank you!).

Primary, secondary, or post-secondary, what differences?

Essentially, what changes according to the level of education is the nature of the supervision, accompaniment and support, estimates Mr. Gérin-Lajoie. The younger the pupils, the more structured the supervision must be. We must also think about involving the parents and those around the children to keep them on the right track. “Just as lessons and homework in elementary school are usually done under the supervision of an adult or a family member, remotely, it's the same thing,” he adds. It is essential that the teacher has constant and regular contact with the children to show them new things, to provide feedback, but also to check their progress. In this sense, synchronous meetings are practically unavoidable.

As the levels of education progress, young people mature and are able to be more independent. The accompaniment and support of students must be a little more open, while being structured. Even in a distance university course, the pedagogical scenario foresees what will be done by the students to learn, but also all the interventions that will be made by the teacher to ensure that they progress, remain motivated and succeed.

Thus, what changes in distance education according to the level of education is the rigidity of the structure, the accompaniment and the support, summarizes Mr. Gérin-Lajoie.

Define synchronous and asynchronous vocabulary

The notions of synchronous and asynchronous refer to the use of students' time to learn, as well as to the means of communication recommended for exchanges between a teacher and his students. 

Synchronous teaching means that the teacher and the pupils communicate and exchange at the same time, therefore generally face-to-face in a classroom or a physical place. 

In distance learning, we talk synchronous teaching when organizing sessions on platforms like Zoom, Teams, Meet, Skype, etc. We can also suggest activities where the students exchange at a distance using text messages for example.

For the professor of the TELUQ education department, synchronous distance education is interesting in situations where the teacher must maintain an ongoing relationship with the children, especially in preschool and elementary school. However, this type of education offers less flexibility since it implies that all the actors must meet at the same time, which is much more restrictive.  

When we speak asynchronous distance education, the pupils are called upon to walk at their own pace. The teacher ensures to offer support, accompaniment, to answer their questions, to provide the resources and didactic materials necessary to progress. This can be through a website containing all the documents, videos, instructions, audio clips, hyperlinks, among others. Asynchronous communications and exchanges are spread over time by the use of email, a discussion forum, a blog, a collaborative wall of the Padlet type, etc. Asynchronous distance education imposes much less time constraints at this level.

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About the Author

Maryline Barrette Dubé
A graduate of a bachelor's degree in public communication, a “marketer” for more than 15 years, Maryline has been working to promote École branchée's activities and to publicize the organization's mandate since 2018. She is a devoted mother, an assumed epicurean. and IPA lover who, in her spare time, enjoys blog.

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