There are myriad challenges in ensuring non-traditional learners feel supported—here’s how one institution is tackling those challenges

3 ways we’re keeping our asynchronous learners connected


There are myriad challenges in ensuring non-traditional learners feel supported—here’s how one institution is tackling those challenges

For years, asynchronous learning has allowed adult, non-traditional learners the flexibility to balance schoolwork, jobs, families, and other commitments. However, while these students may be searching for a flexible, virtual path to a degree or certification, they still crave the connection and community that synchronous and in-person learning provides.

Providing connection in an asynchronous environment is not a new challenge — though it heightened as more higher education institutions adopted asynchronous learning during the pandemic. At Champlain College Online (CCO), online classes, degrees and certifications have been available since 1993. Here are a few lessons we’ve learned about building a community and lasting connection with asynchronous learners.

Creating Connections Between Online Students and Academic Institutions

As the world continues to digitally advance, colleges and universities can create relationship building and institutional connection opportunities for adult online non-traditional learners.

This starts with the right support. Academic institutions should create a team for each student that includes their professors, mentors, advisor, and additional staff to provide multiple avenues for institutional connection, advice, and support. This support can be simple—emails, calls, video chats, text messages—any form of communication the student finds beneficial.

Many adult non-traditional learners are looking for career and personal development opportunities rather than clubs and intramural sports. Relationships with alumni and professionals in their field of work are often more important for these students. Flexibility is key—developing these relationships should be compatible with their schedules versus groups that meet at a certain time and day regularly.

eSchool Media Contributors