22 Feb Synchronous vs Asynchronous Learning: Why you should keep the ‘A’
We’ve gone through how eLearning is an innovative way of learning that eases your learning journey, but now the question that arises is Which type of learning approach to follow?
Learning strategies can be synchronous or asynchronous. Read on to find out what they contain and which one works for you!
First things first: What is synchronous learning?
The first thing to know about synchronous learning is that it takes place in real-time, thus, a group of people engage in learning at the same time. However, even though learning occurs at the same time, it’s not necessary for the learners to be located in one place. Everything is done online!
Through synchronous learning, learners can collaborate freely, ask questions and receive answers straight away by other learners. If you used it for employee training, it enables them to learn about new company policies or new software they need to know.
Examples of synchronous learning
- Live webinars
- Instant messaging
- Video conferencing
- Virtual classrooms
What about asynchronous learning?
In asynchronous learning, the learner is the center, not the lecturer/teacher. The whole learning strategy is based on fulfilling the needs of the learner. This enables asynchronous learners to finish courses without having to be in a certain place at a certain time. Even though the learning happens online, one is never sure they’ll be free at the same the teacher is. Asynchronous learners have more freedom than any other learner to complete course materials whenever and wherever they choose to.
Asynchronous learning still allows users to share thoughts and concerns, just that an immediate response isn’t guaranteed.
Examples of asynchronous learning
- Pre-recorded video lessons or webinars
- Online discussion boards
- An LMS is a software application that delivers educational courses, training programs, and development programs. LMSs provide a platform for both asynchronous based and synchronous based learning.
Tips for a synchronous class to work
1. Create the ideal learning environment
Make sure the participants of the eLearning course are well aware of how long it will last, and kindly ask for their attention. It’s also important to remove all distractions from the room that might be seen through the camera so that the learners only focus on you.
2. Don’t overload learners with text
Do yourself and them a favor and do not prepare long passages of text in every slide of the presentation! Overloading them will only lose their attention will make it harder for them to learn.
3. Communicate with learners to find a flexible schedule
It’s hard for all participants to be free on an exact same time, so try to make the schedule as flexible as possible by conducting a survey to see which days/hours the majority agree on. Also, try and record your webinars so that absent learners can watch later to not fall behind.
Tips for an asynchronous class to work
1. Mix it up
Try to attend to all of your learners; some of them might be fine with text-only courses, but you’ll also have visual or auditory learners who would rather learn via eLearning videos and simulations. So, in order to grab and maintain everyone’s attention, make sure you make teaching fun for your learners by giving extra effort in providing them a mix of learning materials.
2. Always be there for your learners
The eWorld is great and all, but internet glitches do exist. Make sure your learners know what to do and where to reach you when they have difficulties with the eLearning platform you’re using.
3. Create a collaborative online community
Asynchronous eLearning has its benefits, but one of its downsides is that the users risk feeling isolated since on-time engagement is not present. So, it’s necessary to create a warm environment for them to collaborate with peers as much as possible. For this reason, it’s important for the LMS you’re using to have a Discussions board (like Kiwi does).
That would be where learners can share their ideas, comments, and questions. Moreover, you can give your learners group tasks so that work together, even though apart.
4. Make it easily digestible
From the get-go, asynchronous learners are looking for an easy and fast way to learn. This means you need to do everything you can to simplify their learning experience, without jeopardizing the amount of knowledge taught. To do this, you need to make the modules bite-sized so that learn on their own pace and don’t get overloaded with information.
This also allows them to finish a task of a module, knowing they can pick it up where they left off at a later time. A course map allows the learners and you as the teacher to track their progress at every point in time.
Which one is best for your learners?
Why you should and shouldn’t choose synchronous learning
- You’re able to interact with instructors and fellow learners
- You can receive immediate feedback
- You’re able to ask questions on the course instantaneously
- Inflexible learning schedule
- Lack of individual attention
- Quality of understanding course material dependant on the instructor, not students
Why you should and shouldn’t choose asynchronous learning
- Learners learn at their own pace
- Cost-effective and not limited by time zone
- Opportunity to review outside resources to aid instruction
- More time to reflect on and understand course material
- Ability to go back to pieces students need to brush up on
- Answers and feedback not given in real-time
- Contact with instructors and fellow learners limited
- Learners must be self-disciplined and focused to complete course work
- Some learners may struggle without constant guidance and interaction
Both synchronous and asynchronous learning methods of eLearning have their pros and cons. One approach can be more effective for an individual, but not for the other.
However, if you’re looking for a strategy where the availability of your learners has big importance. If they are juggling training, work, and/or other schooling, it might be more efficient for them to complete the training step by step, rather than in one sitting. This is possible by asynchronous training, which gives its learners the freedom to complete courses at their own pace. However, do think about both approaches and choose which one fits the needs of your content and audience. In learning, there is no right or wrong!