The Professional School of Psychology has a tradition of innovation that is reflected in the diverse models used to deliver instruction.
Blended Instruction: Synchronistic and Asynchronistic
Most of the programs at PSP are offered through a distance learning format. While none of the PSP programs involve exclusive text-based instruction, they all involve some use of computer-based instruction. Typically, distance learning involves two different forms of instruction. One form is called asynchronistic instruction—meaning that the instruction is prepared and delivered at a time and place that may not require the immediate involvement of all (or even any) of the learners. While they are usually not mentioned in this context, books exemplify asynchronistic instruction in that a learner will not necessarily be completing the assigned reading at the same time as other learners (or the instructor).
During the era of advanced instructional technology, asynchronistic instruction is usually engaged through the preparation of instructional material that is placed on an Internet website which those participating in the program access at a time and at a location that is convenient for them. The instructor sometimes invites those enrolled in the program to prepare written responses to this material. Many “on-line” educational programs at traditional on-line graduate schools make extensive (sometimes even exclusive) use of asynchronistic instruction.
While PSP encourages instructors in the school’s distance learning programs to make some use of asynchronistic instruction, there is a very strong preference that a substantial portion of each program is delivered through so-called synchronistic instruction. This means that the instructor and program participants are engaged at the same time in the teaching/learning process. While they may be geographically dispersed, the instructor and learners are communicating directly with one another in real time. This communication may be limited to audio or may include video and even the sharing of text material—but it requires immediate interaction. Furthermore, a substantial portion of many distance-learning program at PSP (at least ¼ and often 1/2) will be conducted in person–though this practice is dependent on current global health issues. The instructor and students meet for several days in a workshop format at a location that is convenient for both instructor and student.
This commitment to a hybrid synchronistic distance learning and in-person education is premised not only on the desire expressed by many mature and accomplished learners at PSP for an educational format that includes extensive interaction with the instructor and other learners, but also the desire of most instructors at PSP to ground their teaching not in technology, but rather in direct contact with program participants. While those conducting PSP workshops and certification programs that are based on a distance learning format need to know about and be comfortable in using the new technologies, their real expertise will continue to be founded in their knowledge of the field and their skills in motivating and helping to guide the advanced education of their mature and accomplished learners.
Three Modes of Instruction
Most of the programs (workshops and certification programs) being delivered by The Professional School of Psychology are provided through a blending of three modes of instruction. With these three modes, the school is able to meet the need of learners throughout the world to interact in an intensive manner with not only their instructor, but also the other learners enrolled in the program. In this way, PSP learners can truly participate in a “global classroom.”
A highly interactive synchronistic education provided through Zoom in 1 ½ hour segments involving all students enrolled in a course, facilitated by the course instructor. Each of these sessions is recorded (on the cloud) for later review and further discussion in Mode Two.
A blending of highly interactive synchronistic education and multi-media asynchronistic education through convening of small study groups, facilitated by the principal instructor and/or co-instructor. The study groups would consist of students from specific time zones that can meet at a convenient time for 2-hour sessions.
Typically, Mode Two will consist of the review of and discussions about the Mode One recordings, additional recorded mini-lectures provided by the instructor, video products from both commercial sources (such as the American Psychological Association and Teaching Company) and open access sources.
The video viewing will often involve 2 or more students simultaneously viewing a video and interrupting it periodically for inter-active dialogue. In many cases, a service-learning project will be assigned during Mode Two, involving the student’s application of course concepts and strategies in a local community project.
A fully asynchronistic mode of education, based in assignments associated with reading of books and articles, preparation of program presentations (usually during the Mode One sessions), and preparation of program assignments.