Guided Reading For Asynchronous Learning

Benefits of Guided Reading

Guided reading offers many benefits which can enhance the learning experience for students and help you as an academic stretch and deepen learning opportunities within your curriculum design.


By selecting relevant chapters/articles for each week to supplement learning, you can refocus your students attention towards content which is relevant to your synchronous sessions. This approach of segmenting or chunking information can also support students with finding the correct information easily. It also helps them understand the complete learning journey and how each piece of reading fits into the wider module and relates to the learning outcomes. This also helps you to organise and arrange your list to correspond with learning activities and assessments.

Scaffolded approach

Students will be able to interact with reading to support their understanding, and when mixed with a supplemental activity, i.e. via Talis Elevate or a synchronous session discussion, can help support and enhance students understanding of content and how it links to wider areas. This will also help you to redirect misconceptions and start developing independent learning skills.

Cohort sizes don’t matter

Sharing reading with large cohorts using physical resources causes many issues due to availability and cost, however, due to many of the resources being available electronically and accessible 24/7, this approach will work with any cohort size.


When using an asynchronous approach you will be able to access data about how your class is using the resources you have recommended – how frequently they’ve interacted and how they have interacted with the content. Your ASL will be able to advise you about the analytics available. Some examples of the analytics below will help you measure engagement, review current content and it’s use and develop the course further.

Typical data that you have access to:

Talis Aspire – Analytics available

  • Page views
  • Click
  • Annotations
  • Notes and reading intentions

Talis Elevate – Analytics available

  • Active Engagement
    • How many students have viewed?
    •  How long have student spent on this resource?
    •  How many comments have been made?
    •  Which parts of the resource are being used and when?

Activities for Guided Reading

There are many easy to add activities that can be embedded within your course directly to support students development. Please see some ideas below:

Using reading as a discussion point in a seminar

The easiest way to embed reading into your curriculum is to simple set up a discussion activity within your synchronous session. With this activity students are usually asked to read, make notes and comments based on a certain area, which will then be discussed with their peers and staff. Clear instructive language is important here so that students are aware of what to make notes on and how this information will be used.

Whilst this activity is simple, it is effective at making reading relevant and is a good opportunity for academics to analyse students understanding of the topic area.

Break out group activities

This breakout group activity can be used either synchronously or asynchronously but we recommend using it as an asynchronous task so that students have time to analyse and articulate their thoughts. This works similar to a ‘jigsaw’ or ‘expert groups’ activity. Students will be placed into groups and given a certain article to read. They will then be given time to discuss and analyse the piece with in the synchronous session. This compartmentalisation of information helps students focus on key areas, become experts in the knowledge and gives ownership over their learning by feeding their findings back to the group.

Collaborative Learning Using Talis Elevate

Talis Elevate is a way to bring resources to life, such as articles, images and PDF’s, by making them interactive objects to support active engagement.

It helps bring key resources to life by allowing you and your students to leave comments on texts, images, and media you upload. Students can collaborate directly with their classmates within the resources they are using together for their learning, and enables you as lecturer to identify themes, guide, enhance and stretch their understanding.

 Some of the benefits of using Elevate are:

  • Deepens students’ understanding: leaving a comment helps them think through what they are reading, seeing, or viewing
  • Allows students to build knowledge together: learning alongside their peers and lecturers, inside and outside of class
  • Increases students’ confidence: they can comment anonymously or make personal notes which only they have access to. This enables them to personalize their learning
  • Enables lecturers to identify misconceptions and re-direct learning

Support Resources