Asynchronous vs Synchronous Learning

Article by Vera Mirzoyan / Updated at .05 Dec 2023
9 min read
Asynchronous vs Synchronous Learning


When online education is growing with high popularity, more and more learners tend to go on this way and take the benefits of the process. This is the future of the teaching experience. To make the educational material available and accessible for the learners, we make use of different schedule-friendly formats, such as asynchronous vs synchronous learning. Have you ever heard about these methods or wonder about what is asynchronous and synchronous learning? If you have, then you are at the right place as we are going to dive deeper into this scope and learn more about the fields and approaches. Let us discuss the points separately in detail.


What is Synchronous Learning?


Synchronous learning happens in real-time. This means that the learners who take part in the lesson as well as the instructor interact in a specific virtual place at a set time. During such courses, education providers usually take attendance, the same way as they would in a lecture hall. Common methods of synchronous online learning include video conferencing, teleconferencing, live chatting, and live-streamed lectures that must be viewed in real-time.


What is Synchronous Learning


These days, it is possible to offer synchronous learning services with the help of a personal professional teaching platform. The teaching format may be through online webinars, engaging live training, video conferencing, virtual classrooms, instant messaging, etc.


Advantages of Synchronous Learning


1. Real-Time Engagement. If it is important for you to conduct active discussions, provide immediate feedback, and personal interactions with learners, you will prefer to have a synchronous learning experience. Especially, if you just transform from traditional teaching into online, this format will be helpful and effective for you. Live videoconferencing, lecture broadcasts, and live chatting services in a messaging client can offer much of the personal engagement available in a classroom, while also allowing you the comforts of home and no commute time. 

2. Dynamic Learning. Many people prefer synchronous learning as it is dynamic. This is a great improvement of classroom learning as the topics and ideas are considered more in detail. Thanks to the video conferencing features, it becomes possible to ask questions and get the answers immediately.


Real-Time Engagement


3. Instructional Depth. If you choose synchronous online learning, you regularly and frequently interact with your students and get an opportunity to get to know them. Accordingly, you organize face-to-face discussions, individual guidance, and mentorship without having to schedule independent appointments.


Disadvantages of Synchronous Learning


1. Scheduling Issues. In the case you have chosen eLearning because of your busy working schedule, you may face some difficulties. Synchronous learning requires real-time interactions with the learners, and it is not a preferable choice for people who choose this approach to make benefit during their free time. In this case, it is required to create a schedule and conduct lessons accordingly. If flexibility is the primary reason that you have chosen the online route, having to adapt to the synchronous learning schedule may defeat the purpose.

2. Technical Challenges. If your work or life requires extensive travel and you often find yourself completing coursework in weird places like coffee shops, airport terminals, and hotel lobbies, synchronous learning might add to your stress. The constant search for a wireless signal becomes even direr when you are on the clock for a videoconference, lecture, or even an exam. For synchronous learners, technical difficulties like spotty internet, crashing hard drive, and dying batteries can become full-fledged, GPA-tanking disasters. Instead of logging in and sitting for your exam, you can end up sputtering profanities at your computer. And who has the time for that? 


What is Asynchronous Learning?


Asynchronous learning is relatively more learner-centered. It allows the students to complete online courses without the constraints of having to be in a specific place at a certain time. In essence, asynchronous learning doesn’t hinder learners by place or time. People who rely on asynchronous learning have the freedom to complete courses always and from anywhere as long as they are connected to the internet.


What is Asynchronous Learning


Although not taking place in real-time, asynchronous learning still provides the opportunity to share feedback. Learners are free to share thoughts and questions with instructors and fellow learners, though they may not receive an immediate response. Usually, asynchronous learning is based on online courses, blog articles, pre-recorded video lessons, or webinars, online forums, and discussion boards, emails, etc.


Advantages of Asynchronous Learning


1. Flexibility. If your students are busy people (this is mainly about adult learning), you should probably prefer asynchronous learning. In this way, the methods and theories of teaching help to offer services that are comfortable for the learners to make use of whenever they have time. Asynchronous learning provides the materials so that the students may complete them at their convenience. Such materials may be related to text-based lecture notes; self-guided, interactive learning modules; and pre-recorded lectures or podcasts. Learners complete a module on their way to work; listen to a lecture on headphones while doing something; etc. 

2. Ability to measure. One of the most empowering features of asynchronous learning is that you prepare the educational content, make it available, and set the pace (usually within set deadlines) using a study time tracker. Besides that, students always track their grades and use a raise GPA calculator to calculate the overall grades that they receive during asynchronous learning classes. Students read and review these materials as much as they need to, completing them based on their understanding rather than on when class time ends. As for the quick learners, they can power through materials and units that come easily. And if it takes relatively longer to absorb new knowledge, the learners may review the material, take notes, and practice retention without even worrying about falling behind their classmates or missing key points in a lecture.


Advantages of Asynchronous Learning


3. Affordability. Probably, the greatest advantage of asynchronous learning is that this approach is cheaper and more learners can afford it. This is a motivational factor for students to choose online learning.  Online learning options often carry a lower price tag because they do not require daily attention from instructors or administrators. Instead, students work through the content themselves, with only occasional interaction with the trainers through email, social media, or any other channel. Self-guided modules, video tutorials, and virtual libraries all provide the chance to pursue education with minimal oversight and expense. While most of these programs do not lead to degrees, there are some that do, and they can also include certification opportunities, that are also very essential in the learning process. There are some platforms that make it possible to attach quizzes to the online courses, and automatically generate certificates for those learners who complete the course and successfully pass the test.


Disadvantages of Asynchronous Learning


1. Isolation. People who prefer learning online without active interaction with other learners and trainers are more likely to become isolated. Social media platforms or email can not provide real-time interaction. Asynchronous learning is also far less collaborative than its counterparts: Opportunities to discuss, debate and network with classmates and professors are scarce. Asynchronous learning is great for learners who want to pick up skills quickly. However, if they are looking for enrichment of discussion, feedback, and social interaction, asynchronous learning is not a good choice for them.


Asynchronous vs Synchronous Learning What to Choose


2. Lack of Interest. Although working in a self-guided environment can be empowering, it is also important for the learners to stay honest with themselves. They should have the drive to not only keep themselves on track and committed to their goals but also to remain enthusiastic about the subject matter without constant support and evaluation. The reality is that some learners do best with clearly stated expectations, immediate feedback, and a watchful eye. The free-form nature of asynchronous learning could be demotivating for the learners in the latter category.


Asynchronous vs Synchronous Learning: What to Choose?


Now when you already know what is the difference between asynchronous and synchronous learning, and identify their pros and cons as well as the preferences of the learners, you should clearly understand your actions to provide required content and meet the students’ needs and requirements.

The method of learning you focus on will depend on a number of factors – learning objectives, the type and format of course content, the way of content delivery, and the availability of your learners. However, if you have the appropriate resources to use both synchronous and asynchronous learning you get the winning formula. As an alternative, blended learning is a good choice that supports both synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities.

No matter which method you choose, variety is the best approach. The most essential point to keep in your mind is always the importance of eLearning and its role in the future of the educational industry. Once you prioritize this point you will imagine the steps to achieve all your career goals.

In this way, the critical point is about choosing the best eLearning platform. Here you should carefully consider all the details to offer competitive teaching services. In this regard, I may offer to check out the features of Uteach. Here you may create a platform within minutes and the greatest thing is that you do not need to have tech knowledge. The 14 days of a free trial will be enough for you to try all the functions and choose the best plan for further teaching experience. Here you also get an opportunity to schedule a free webinar during which our specialist will get in touch with you, present all the features, and answer all your questions.


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