Synchronous Learning

Synchronous learning refers to real-time – live, at a set time – learning where teachers and students are engaged at the same time. The term can be used for both in-person or online video conferencing. It lets the teacher and student directly interact, ask questions, or have a group discussion.

Asynchronous Learning

Asynchronous learning can happen anytime. It is not live and not at a set time. There is no live interaction between the teacher and the student. With asynchronous learning, students may watch a pre-recorded video, work on an online exam, or use an online platform to learn and study at their own pace. It has the benefit of allowing your student to work when it’s convenient for him or her rather than at a set time.

Distance learning / Remote learning /Online learning

Distance learning, remote learning, and online learning refer to learning outside of the traditional classroom. Students are physically separated from their teachers but can continue to learn via online technology or work on educational packets.


Hybrid refers to combining traditional classroom teaching, such as person to person in the classroom, and distance learning.


Blended can be used instead of the term hybrid to refer to combining traditional classroom teaching, such as person-to-person, with distance learning. It can also refer to a group of various aged students learning together. It is important to ask your teacher or school for their interpretation when using this term.


Wireless connectivity, often known as WiFi, is the technology that allows a computer, mobile phone, or tablet to connect to the internet without needing a physical, wired connection.


A URL is simply the address or link for a specific website. It allows you to view the website in a browser (i.e. Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.). When you are sent a URL in a text or email, you can click on the link to go directly to the webpage.


Hotspot refers to a device or a location that allows for various devices to be connected to WiFi. It can be found at physical locations, such as a public place such as a library or coffee shop so you can connect your computer or laptop to WiFi. Many who do not have the internet at home use their phone’s hotspot phone feature to be able to connect to WiFi. Schools are also lending hotspot devices so that students can access WiFi.

Test your Computer Knowledge

Northstar Digital Literacy helps you define the basic skills needed to use a computer and the internet in daily life, employment, and higher education.