At HomeSphero Team
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Online and hybrid learning approaches are quickly growing in popularity as schools continue to temporarily close or limit capacity. Not only does this form of education feature schedule-friendly options, but students and teachers also relish being able to incorporate self-directed, autonomous learning, or asynchronous learning activities. So what is the difference between autonomous and asynchronous learning? We’ll explore the similarities, differences, and ways to engage learners in both in this blog.

What is Autonomous Learning?

A boy sits on the floor coding on a tablet in the Sphero Edu app.

This learning approach means that students have the power to regulate their learning activities — they have the autonomy to control their learning processes. Several benefits of autonomous learning include:

  •      Identifying goals: Students succeed by creating a list of goals to know where to begin the learning process.
  •      Identifying learning styles: No two students learn the same way, and, with autonomous learning, students can determine which learning style suits them best.
  •      Placing focus on progress: Instead of focusing on grades, students emphasize learning objectives to create success benchmarks.
  •      Support: Whether in a remote learning classroom or hybrid learning — with a mix of online learning and in-person instruction — students need support to remain attentive and improve their memory skills.

    What is Asynchronous Learning?

    Asynchronous learning means that students access information, demonstrate what they learn, and communicate with classmates and educators on their own time. That means that students don't have to be in an online class all at the same time.  Several benefits of asynchronous learning activities include:

    •      Fewer learning obstacles: Sometimes, when students join a classroom together, socializing takes priority over learning. However, when students participate in asynchronous online learning activities, they face fewer obstacles.
    •      Flexibility: Because students learn by watching videos, reading, taking email courses, or using an eLearning platform, they have the flexibility to learn at their own pace.
    •      No time barriers: No matter the student's location or the time they learn, they can interact using messaging services with their educators or peers.
    •      Scaling: Asynchronous learning activities extend scalability — once educators create a video — they can share it with more than one class. It also doesn't matter if they educate 3 or 300 students because the content remains unchanged.

      STEAM Activities for Asynchronous Learning

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      STEAM activities represent an excellent way for educators to extend the range of topics and concepts they cover during in-person instruction. Due to a significant focus on hybrid learning, online learning, and remote learning — taking an asynchronous approach to these activities allows students to remain engaged and to have fun.  Consider some ways to use STEAM activities for actively engaging students in asynchronous online classes:

      •     Create virtual learning experiences by asking STEAM experts to create hands-on video tutorials. Parents and educators can also take students on virtual field trips using online resources that assist with these activities. Skype a Scientist offers an excellent resource for finding STEAM experts.
      •     Build a learning space that promotes self-discovery by encouraging students to ask questions about events happening around them.
      •     Give students many online learning opportunities to present their research findings. These presentations can be in front of their online classrooms, educators, caregivers, or family members.
      •     Try different computer science programs and STEAM activities in the Sphero Edu app or littleBits Classroom, which encourage asynchronous learning by teaching kids STEM skills including coding, engineering, and circuitry. 

      Successfully Incorporate STEAM Activities Into Autonomous or Asynchronous Learning Routines

      Incorporating STEM activities into autonomous or asynchronous learning routines helps parents prepare their children to become tomorrow's innovators and inventors. Because students learn at their own pace using hands-on approaches and real-world applications, they can develop innovative minds. With the right approach and appropriate curriculum and activities learners will be encouraged to engage in STEAM on their own or autonomously.


      To learn more about using Sphero and littleBits to introduce STEAM to your children or students during virtual or hybrid learning, check out littleBits Classroom and the Sphero Edu app.
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