Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning Activities for Medical Assisting Classrooms

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With classes changing online for most classrooms, medical assisting courses are no exception. Here are some tips on how to manage your online medical assisting classroom, whether it’s synchronous or asynchronous.

General Classroom Tips

  • Clearly define what your class looks like now. If it’s synchronous, let students know that when there is a presentation, you’ll be checking for understanding during class, and/or if there’s collaborative project work when it should be completed and how it will be assessed.
  • Keep students up to date on what your deadlines are, where they should put all their assignments, and where to find all the important information.
  • Explain how you plan to give feedback on their progress, which can be an additional challenge in online classrooms where you can’t see students face to face.
  • Encourage students to engage in their learning—instructors must plan active learning strategies for the online classroom. Whether it’s synchronous or asynchronous, having students that are engaged with the material will encourage them to go from just remembering an understanding all the way up to application and above.

Testing Their Knowledge

  • Monitor student progress by starting your class with a review of terms, and then require students to place answers as it relates to those terms in your discussion board. This can be used in the asynchronous classroom or synchronous classroom. Assign these by the end of the class period or whenever the due date is for the asynchronous class.
  • List important terms through Elsevier Adaptive Learning (EAL) and have groups of students identify which one does not belong within that group of terms. Require the students to take the extra step and explain the rationale as to why that term doesn’t belong. Use this strategy in the synchronous or asynchronous classroom.
  • Assess students at the end of class. Have your students identify the terms associated with the appropriate textbook chapter or the appropriate information that you’ve covered for that class period and have them answer questions. Questions should be placed in a discussion board or set up a quick quiz in your LMS.

Facilitating Learning Activities

  • Group activities can be utilized in the synchronous or asynchronous classroom and work well in the online environment. Conduct group activities that divide students into small groups or pairs and utilize discussion boards or breakout rooms to stay in touch with students and walk them through a particular task. Sherpath has its own active learning strategies embedded in it. The resources provide educators with specific steps for incorporating group activities into the learning experience.

Practicing Clinical Reasoning

  • Give students an opportunity to apply their medical assisting skills with online simulations that allow them to make decisions to complete a scenario. For asynchronous classrooms, make sure to give enough time to complete the scenario and require the students to record themselves completing the scenario. SimPractice offers case-based simulations that allows educators to track student progress.
  • Address where students might be having difficulty through debriefing—this is where the student is really going to learn. It allows the student to have experiential learning and it allows them to reflect on their experiences. In the synchronous classroom, make sure that you allow time for debriefing students. This can also be done independently in the asynchronous classroom, but guided debriefing questions are highly recommended as an assignment that can be discussed one on one at a later time.