Overview of Online Instruction and Learning Environments and Communities



Online instruction is used by a variety of organizations, including business and industry, military and government, higher education, and PK-12 schools to provide learners with training and educational opportunities. Types of online learning communities can vary greatly from one end of a continuum being highly independent forms of learning, in which learners complete the instruction individually and self-paced, with little to no interaction with an instructor or other learners and, at the other end, where learners and instructors form highly interactive and participatory learning environments with a strong sense of community.

This chapter begins with definitions of online instruction and distance education, followed with a brief overview of distance education. Next, we identify the advantages and disadvantages of online instruction, describe three types of online instruction, and discuss current, emerging, and merging technologies. Our framework for an online environment and learning community is followed by a discussion of the stakeholders’ roles, responsibilities, and challenges. Finally, this chapter ends with a summary, entitled Wrapping Up and a set of discussion questions in a section called Expanding Your Expertise.


Online learning Distance educations Synchronous Asynchronous Distributed education Delivery system Learning environment Learning community Fully online instruction Blended instruction Web-enhanced instruction Emerging technologies Stakeholders 


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Copyright information

©  Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Counseling and Instructional ScienceUniversity of South AlabamaMobileUSA
  2. 2.Division of Research and Strategic InnovationUniversity of West FloridaPensacolaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Educational TechnologyBoise State UniversityBoiseUSA

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