You are here:

Surface and deep learning processes in distance education: Synchronous versus asynchronous systems

, ,

Computers & Education Volume 51, Number 3, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


Distance learning is different from regular learning in the classroom. One of the main factors which influence the effectiveness of the learning process is the interaction that exists between the teacher and the student. Our research indicates that different interactions have different effects.There are two methods used for implementing distance learning systems, i.e. synchronous and asynchronous. Our research is based on the model developed by Oliver and McLaughlin. According to this model, there exist five types of teacher–student interactions: social, procedural, expository, explanatory and cognitive. The present study refers to the cognitive interaction and differentiates between surface processes and deep processes.The study presents different variables and their influences on the students’ achievements and their satisfaction from learning via a synchronous versus an asynchronous distance learning system. The interaction level between the students and the teacher and among the students was found to be a significant factor in determining the effectiveness of the teaching method. The observations and interviews which we held with the students helped clarify the information that was obtained using the quantitative research tools, and showed that the presence of a teacher–student interaction which accompanies the learning process is very important for all learners. However, students with high-level thinking can overcome the low-level of interactions in asynchronous learning.


Offir, B., Lev, Y. & Bezalel, R. (2008). Surface and deep learning processes in distance education: Synchronous versus asynchronous systems. Computers & Education, 51(3), 1172-1183. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved February 23, 2020 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on January 30, 2019. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

Full text is availabe on Science Direct:


Cited By

View References & Citations Map

These links are based on references which have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. If you see a mistake, please contact