Synchronous and asynchronous e-learning might seem like relatively new concepts to describe modern education, but remove the “e” in front of e-learning, and you’ve been engaged in synchronous and asynchronous learning your whole life.
What is Synchronous e-learning?
Synchronous learning is the type of learning you participate in when sitting in class or a training seminar. Synchronous learning is learning in real-time with a teacher, tutor, or facilitator at the helm of the room, leading the discussion, encouraging active participation in the learning material. When taking this format online, synchronous learning becomes synchronous e-learning. Synchronous e-learning refers to real-time online learning best exemplified by online classes, training sessions, and webinars taught through an online platform.
What is Asynchronous e-learning?
Asynchronous learning is the type of learning you do alone, on your account, and at your own pace. Asynchronous learning most frequently refers to teacher and student interactions that occur at different times and different locations. Great examples of asynchronous e-learning can be found in online courses like the career readiness courses offered through LinkedIn Learning. You can even look at email exchanges, discussion boards, and learning management system or course management system activities as examples of asynchronous e-learning.
Learners and instructors will find many benefits in synchronous and asynchronous e-learning to help them succeed in the classroom and beyond. Let’s dive into nine benefits of synchronous and asynchronous e-learning.
Benefits of Synchronous e-Learning
Synchronous e-learning such as virtual classes or virtual instructor-led training (VILT) takes the traditional teacher or facilitator in-room model online. This helps you teach at scale at less cost without sacrificing the productive student-teacher interaction that most have come to expect from their learning experiences.
1. Reduced Cost, Still Human
People tend to think everything online or through software is robotic and impersonal. Virtual instructor-led training enables your instructors to retain that personal touch that drives learner success without the costs of in-person training: Travel, hotels, meeting spaces, etc.
By adopting a virtual classroom tool for your employee training programs, you can save money without losing the dynamic qualities of synchronous learning. The instructors can present their course content and have a dialogue with their learners in real-time. If someone has a question, then it can be answered in a timely fashion.
You can even offer more real-time training activities without the additional costs of travel. This means you can train more people, more frequently, and still save money!
2. Teach and Train At Scale
Teaching at scale is another great way to save time and money. Webinars are a perfect way to reach a broad audience while still delivering an impactful synchronous e-learning experience.
You can present your course content, such as videos, presentations, and quizzes in real-time. Instead of offering many smaller sessions, you can complete your company-wide compliance requirements, school orientations, and lectures in one real-time session with hundreds or thousands of learners.
During the webinar, learners can engage you and the content by asking questions and getting answers that help them succeed in their learning journey.
3. Collaboration, Engagement, And Interactivity
The best part of learning with a teacher and your peers in real-time is learning and working together. Learning together gives learners the ability to engage with the content, the teacher, and each other in ways that asynchronous e-learning cannot match.
Now I know the learning pyramid is a source of debate these days. However, if we look at the highest retention categories, ie. Discussion, Practice, Teach Others – then, we can piece together the value of collaboration and engagement through group learning and work.
Virtual classrooms not only replicate the real classroom experience, but they can improve upon it by offering a suite of collaborative tools that encourage active learning. Tools like Breakout Rooms encourage practice and discussion, digital whiteboards for interactivity, and screen sharing for teaching others, all work together to bring to life the classroom experience.
4. Improved Learner Outcomes
At the end of the day, we judge a successful class based on our learners’ success. Everything that we do is to improve learner outcomes.
The best way to improve learner outcomes is to have a professional facilitator available to teach and answer questions along the way. The instructor can offer real-time insights to students to help them understand while gaining the ability to receive instant feedback on the quality of their instruction to improve upon themselves. Synchronous e-learning provides a space for instructors to interact with students to improve the class’s success rate.
Instructors can also rely on data from their virtual classroom platform to get real-time and on-demand analytics such as Attendance records, participation in text chat, recordings, browser focus reports, attentiveness metrics, and more. All of this data helps the instructor offer a more improved and personal teaching approach to improve learner outcomes.
Benefits of Asynchronous e-Learning
Asynchronous e-learning has some overlapping benefits with synchronous e-learning like reduced cost and teaching or training at scale. Asynchronous e-learning activities can include emails, discussion boards, and more advanced tools like online courses.
1. Teach or Train At Scale
Creating asynchronous e-learning content like online courses is a perfect way to distribute knowledge to large groups of learners. MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses are precisely that. They are online courses built to serve an unlimited number of learners and accessible to everyone via the internet.
MOOCs have seen incredible numbers of registered users. Schools and companies can build their courses and deliver them on a large scale to a vast audience of learners without the need to schedule one-off sessions or require instructors or facilitators to be present at a particular place or time.
2. Flexibility and Convenience
Self-paced learning, on-demand learning, anytime learning – asynchronous e-learning meets the learner where they are by minimizing the demands on the learner. Learners can complete their asynchronous e-learning activities on their own time, at their place, from any device, from anywhere in the world. That’s convenient.
Online courses enable you to deliver necessary training without the roadblocks that come from disparate learners. This flexibility has been instrumental in the growth of adult education or continued professional education. Learners can watch a video on their phone during their daily commute and start a lively discussion forum around specific learning topics.
3. Reinforce Learning
Asynchronous e-learning courses can also be used to reinforce learning activities that were delivered earlier in the year. Deliver videos via email that reviews course materials covered in previous lessons. Utilize a discussion forum to enable learners to ask questions and get personalized answers. Online courses are great for helping learners explore topics covered in more depth as supplemental to their instructor-led courses.
4. More Learner Control
Asynchronous learning is often referred to as a learner-centered method. Students and employees are given full independence to complete their learning activities – watch videos on demand, read papers, ask questions in discussion forums, complete coursework, and even testing. This additional control means that learners can decide the pace at which they complete their course and when they will. For working adults, this kind of control is the only reason they can continue their education.
Learning asynchronously can help learners retain information more successfully. They can create a personalized approach to their learning that works best for them. Suppose a learner can learn more effectively in the morning. In that case, they can set aside a time to learn where others prefer learning in the evening.
BONUS: Benefits of Both Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning
It’s not an either-or situation. The benefits of synchronous and asynchronous e-learning are plenty. Utilizing both methods to create a complete course gives your learners the highest chance to succeed. Combining both learning methods allows many countries and companies in the world to continue offering education while facing difficult restraints.
The best part of a real-time class experience is the engaging dynamic between teacher and student as well as student to student. Group conversation helps improve our people skills and our ability to communicate effectively. It allows us to ask questions and debate over answers. The benefits of real-time are the ability to collaborate in real-time.
To collaborate in real-time, it helps to enable your learners to come to the session with a little bit of context. Build an online course to empower learners to be prepared for the real-time class. Share a video that will surely prompt a lively discussion. Even send out a quiz for self-paced assessment to gauge learner understanding before the live session. When your learners join the live class, they are prepared to engage in the discussion as you enabled them to prepare ahead of time.
On the flip side, after the live class, you have learning assets that you’d like to share. Add them to the online course to enable learners to reinforce their learning. They can review presentations or videos as well as follow-up quizzes to gauge understanding after the class. You might have recorded the synchronous session so you could add the recording to the online course to enable learners who were absent to catch up as all as those who attended to study.
Now that we have discussed the benefits of Synchronous and Asynchronous eLearning, you may be asking what the right platform to unlock all these amazing tools is? Well, to successfully conduct learning online, you need a balanced, innovative, reliable platform that works at any scale. The Kaltura Video Platform is your solution to incorporating asynchronous/synchronous learning into your corporation or educational institution. Take your enterprise communication to the next level with a single solution to support real-time, live, and VOD experiences. Connect global teams and boost engagement with an advanced platform for any meeting type and size, together with a set of VOD communication tools for a continuous communication experience. Whether for team collaboration and knowledge sharing, online-training and self-paced learning, internal and executive communication, marketing, or sales enablement – Kaltura is the one video cloud to power your every video need.
Kaltura puts the power in your hand to pick and choose the necessary tools that you need to conduct synchronous and asynchronous eLearning online successfully. Whether you need to engage synchronously with peers or students with Kaltura Virtual Classroom, or use Kaltura Social Business Suite to gain access to all of Kaltura’s powerful tools to bring that sense of engagement, immediacy, and personal attention to all of your synchronous communications. Kaltura enhances your asynchronous learning by providing solutions for all of your teaching and learning needs with Kaltura Video Cloud for Education that integrates with virtually any learning management system. This integration allows you to enhance the learning experience with amazing features such as Video Browse and Embed, Video Quizzes and polls, and the ability to create and deliver professional-looking videos all from your device. The tools are available, and now it is your time to shine and create memorable educational moments online. But don’t take my word for it, read this case study about how Houston Community College used Kaltura’s platform to enhance synchronous and asynchronous e-learning. Hopefully, by now, you understand the importance of asynchronous and synchronous e-learning in today’s everchanging world and are ready to take the next step. To help you in your path forward, here is an insightful post about What Makes for a Great Virtual Classroom!