While researching the right online program for yourself, you must have come across terms like “asynchronous” and “synchronous.”
About that, you must know: Asynchronous Learning is a type of online training where learners follow their own pace in accessing learning content, taking coursework and projects, and viewing instructional material each week at their chosen time. It is a method of education that allows you to be flexible with your schedule while learning and does not require immediate attendance at a given time.
Synchronous online learning, on the other hand, requires learners to log in and be part of a class at a specific time and schedule. It allows instructors and learners to ask questions and receive answers immediately. They can interact with fellow learners as well during the session.
Looking at various factors like life responsibilities, family commitments, etc., you have to choose from either mode of learning. If you are not able to log in to attend classes at a pre-specified time or if you find completing projects at a set time difficult, then asynchronous online learning can provide everything you are looking for.
In this article, we will learn in-depth about asynchronous online learning, the pros and cons, and everything in between. Let’s begin.
The literal meaning of the term “asynchronous” means not occurring or existing at the same time or having the same period. Assuming we all know the meaning of the term “learning,” asynchronous online learning means learning that can take place without a pre-set time or instruction.
In other words, it is not necessary for the instructor and the learner to be present at the same time and place. Anyone can learn anything from anywhere with just a stable internet connection and, of course, a strong will.
Course material is provided to the learners online so that they can consume information at their own pace and time. It does not require consistent interaction with an instructor.
Some examples of asynchronous learning:
- Watching a pre-recorded lecture
- Project research
- Quizzes, games, etc.
- Online discussions through a course discussion board
Asynchronous learning nowadays occurs mostly in digital formats like:
- Using LMS (Learning Management System)
eLearning is the most advanced form of learning asynchronously. These platforms are designed for course creation, delivery, and course hosting. They provide undeniable advantages to learners by making the entire learning process automated. For example- managing deadlines, sending them reminders, or creating a program that restricts their ability to unlock more units before completing the previous ones.
One such platform is Adobe Learning Manager LMS, where the instructors create an environment that closely resembles that of the physical classroom and thus enables them to maintain a better attention span using integrated features.
- Email Courses
In an email course, the learning material is sent in a sequence of emails where each email is a different lesson. When complied with, they form a course.
- Training Video
There are two ways of training learners through a learning video. One is by uploading the lesson on YouTube and sharing the link with your learners, or by using a learning management system where you can manage all types of content, including training videos.
- Readings like blogs etc.
Many companies nowadays have their own internal sources of information (wikis) that contain a pool of information across various fields. You can read and learn based on your requirements and interests.
Now let’s look at the benefits of Asynchronous Learning
Widespread changes to teaching and learning in recent times have forced learning and development specialists to choose asynchronous learning for the following reasons:
Providing your learners with a flexible learning environment and training materials allows them to study at their own pace. Along with learning, they can also deal with their busy schedules.
Some are early risers; others, being night owls, can only study after putting the whole world to sleep. With the help of Asynchronous Learning, they get to control the speed and pace at which the courses are to be completed.
Also, they get the ability to go back to the course material as and when needed. This helps learners retain information and review it for better clarity and retention.
According to a study, 40% of the employees kept flexibility in the top 3 career considerations list. Today, learners need an environment that not only supports their different learning styles but also provides them with adequate learning flexibility to solve the issue of decreased productivity.
Problems like repetition and additional work can easily be solved once you finish creating asynchronous training content, as you can use it as many times as necessary. For example- if you have recorded a video on how to make learning fun, all you have to do is share the link with the new employees, you do not have to record it time and again.
Also, training can be imparted to any audience, irrespective of size. So, whether there are 2 or 200, the content works the same in both cases.
The instructions can also be provided in any format, be it mobile or desktop, providing the learners with much-needed flexibility to learn however they want.
Classroom training can be really expensive if your learners’ size is large. You need to arrange many resources to make the session a success. Whereas asynchronous learning is quite the opposite. The investment is done once (developing an e-course), and once it’s done, you can reap benefits for many years to come.
It helps to curb other expenses too, like travel costs, instructor salaries, arranging for a classroom, and more.
- Wide range of course materials
With the help of asynchronous learning, consuming information on any topic via tutorials, courses, and videos has become very easy. Anyone can assess information on a vast array of materials or topics. You just need a stable internet connection to expand your zone of knowledge.
Common pitfalls to face while learning Asynchronously-
You cannot possibly learn everything asynchronously. Certain programs/sectors need practical knowledge to sharpen the saw. Hence, like all good things, this is also tied up with its own setbacks and pitfalls. Let’s look at the major two:
Remote learning can make you feel isolated and lonely as there is no in-person interaction or instructions.
To combat this challenge, you have to be creative enough to be able to develop a community of engaged learners. Thinking beforehand about how you are going to provide feedback, give performance reviews, assign a project with a deadline, etc. can really help.
- Requires discipline
In a world of asynchronous learning, no one is sitting over your head to watch you perform and succeed. You have to thrive on your own. It requires discipline, resilience, and motivation to sail through. Well, if you can be your own hero, you can surely succeed. Otherwise, it becomes dull and boring.
To combat this challenge, the incorporation of various features like gamification, interactive sessions, etc., into the program is needed to keep the boat sailing. Lack of motivation is often the biggest drawback asynchronous learning has to face.
Asynchronous learning benefits both the learners and the instructors. It is not just cost-effective but also provides immense benefits, as discussed above.
It helps employees retain information that benefits them and the organization in the long run. It has made learning an inclusive affair. It has also broken through the limits set by human schedules and routines. It helps in reaching wider audiences as well.
So, if you are looking for a flexible mode of learning, asynchronous learning can be your best friend.
The full breadth of skills learners acquire with Asynchronous learning makes it a successful approach; it allows them to easily adapt to an ever-evolving world.