Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Learning: What’s the difference?

08-Apr-2022, 09:04:53 PM
Abin Mathew

Synchronous vs. asynchronous learning comes into the picture when we talk about learning, be it remote learning or traditional school-based learning. Time management is a critical factor, and the typical educational system also works under a tight schedule. Both teachers and learners feel the pressure of time management. They also lose time and money for traveling to the schools. It puts them under stress and affects the quality of their work. 

These are the main reasons why everyone chooses online education. But some businesses or lectures demand a tight schedule. We should select the right type of learning to match our purpose. We can choose from two kinds of learning based on timings. They are mainly synchronous and asynchronous learning. 

Asynchronous Vs. Synchronous Learning

Nowadays, people prefer remote learning over traditional education. These two learning programs come under asynchronous learning and synchronous learning. Let us explain them in detail below. 

What is Asynchronous Learning?

Asynchronous learning is a learning method that ultimately benefits students. This type of learning has no fixed timings. Students have the freedom to access the study materials and learn at any time. They can also study from anywhere as long as they have a smartphone and the internet. Students can also share their feedback or ask questions to the teachers. 

Examples of asynchronous learning include online courses, emails, blogs, pre-recorded classes, online forums, etc. 

What is Synchronous Learning?

Unlike asynchronous learning, synchronous learning takes place in real-time. Students need to attend the classes on fixed schedules. For instance, teachers and students may travel from different places to reach the school and attend the classes. Synchronous learning enables students and teachers to interact with each other using questions and answers. 

Live webinars, video conferences, virtual classrooms, instant messaging, etc., are examples of synchronous learning. 

Differences & Similarities of Asynchronous & Synchronous Learning

Both types of learnings feature digital methods and processes. In other words, during synchronous or asynchronous learning, teachers and students can be at the same location or be at a remote location during the teaching and learning process. As mentioned above, synchronous learning flaunts a fixed schedule, while asynchronous learning has flexible timings. When we compare both learning types, they have pros and cons. 

Pros and cons of Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning

Let us explore the pros and cons of synchronous and asynchronous learning in detail. 

Pros of synchronous learning are:

  • Since all learners are available at a given time, group study and discussions are possible. 
  • This type of learning takes place in real-time, which means that the students can clear their doubts quickly. 
  • Similarly, if teachers find any mistake in the learning process, they can correct the students instantly. 

Cons of synchronous learning are:

  • Learners should be online at a certain time, and they can't use study materials at any time they wish. 
  • Due to high student density, some learners don't get individual attention. 
  • The quality of teaching depends on the knowledge of teachers. This is because students cannot access academic materials and learn by themselves. 

Pros of asynchronous learning include:

  • Unlike the previous type, this type of learning allows students to learn at their own pace and access study materials at any time. 
  • It is highly cost-effective since learners can complete courses from anywhere at any time. 
  • Since there's no deadline, learners can take as much time as they want to understand the topics thoroughly.

Cons of asynchronous learning are:

  • Students may not get answers to their questions instantly. They have to wait until the instructor comes online.
  • This lack of interaction between teachers and students may affect the quality of education. 
  • This type of learning is student-centred which means students have to put major effort into learning. 

What Does Asynchronous Learning Mean in School?

Asynchronous learning in schools allows students to access their studies any time they want. Teachers can track the attendance either by identifying the number of students who viewed the lecture or by conducting quizzes. Polls or actionable buttons also enable teachers to find the student engagement details. 

This type of learning also allows students to digitize materials. Students can spend more time learning tough topics and skim through easy content. Also, online participation is one of the main elements of asynchronous learning. Students should possess self-motivation and eagerness to learn themselves. It is because teachers may not be available all the time. 

If you're planning to implement asynchronous learning in your school, it's a good idea. The following things will help you extract the best out of this type of learning.

  • Make sure that this sudden change from synchronous to asynchronous learning doesn't affect the quality of education. 
  • Some parents will not prefer remote learning. So you need to convince them to make their kids learn from their homes. You can also teach them the benefits of asynchronous learning. 
  • You should plan and align the objectives of students with the classes. Since asynchronous learning helps students to get study materials any time, whatever they learn should meet the academic goals.

Benefits of Asynchronous Learning

We have already mentioned a few advantages of asynchronous learning above. Let's go deeper into the benefits of asynchronous learning. 

  • Flexibility 

Flexibility is the best advantage of this type of learning. Asynchronous learning allows students to access books online and learn from their homes. As a result, students can manage family and education perfectly. They will also feel mentally relaxed and take their time to learn. 

  • Pace

Every student learns at different speeds. Asynchronous learning empowers students to learn topics without deadlines. They can take as much time as they need to complete a lesson. Learners can also pause, rewind and revisit any topics with ease. 

  • More Attention

As you know, some students may require more attention while others need only a little attention. Teachers can monitor weak students easily and guide them better in asynchronous learning. Since the timings are flexible, teachers can reach students at any time. They can also provide personalized learning experiences and make them understand the content better. 

  • Cost Effective

Teachers don't have to manage a huge group of students in this type of learning. Therefore, they can use the time and resources to conduct personalized lessons. As a result, each student will get a better learning experience that increases the productivity of teachers. 

  • Portfolio Learning

Asynchronous learning features a portfolio of material demonstrating mastery. It is because students don't take a single test like traditional education. The online learning portfolio features a rich collection of videos, images, and presentations. It helps students gain more knowledge than conventional exams. This method also helps students relate their academic knowledge to the real world.

Asynchronous Activities & Learning Tools

In addition to the benefits of asynchronous learning, the following activities and tools will make your asynchronous learning more engaging. 

  • Videos

Teachers should try making videos of their lectures. It would be great if they could add documents, photos, and slides to make the presentation more engaging. Tools like Edisapp will help you get started with this method. Also, ask the students to watch the videos in their own time and give feedback. 

  • Demonstrations

Students will learn faster when they see something in action. Teachers can make their videos showing skills and post them on social media like YouTube. It helps students understand topics quickly and efficiently. 

  • Discussion

Group discussion is one of the best ways to improve communication skills. Students should be able to interact with each other even when everyone is not online. A class Twitter hashtag will help you get this done. In addition, group discussions help students know each other better and find new ideas and skills. 

  • Group Projects

Project-based learning is an innovative learning method. Students are made to work on active real-world projects engagingly. Students can participate remotely and share their contributions via Google Docs or Dropbox. Teachers can use apps like Edisapp to track and monitor student progress. 

  • Fun Activities

Fun activities allow students to relax and learn at the same time. Teachers can try organizing quizzes and games to keep students engaged. It helps teachers determine what students know and what needs to be improved. 

  • Assessments

Assessments are another effective way to measure the knowledge and skills of the students. Teachers can add pre-built assessments to the course and analyze the results. It helps teachers know what students have learned and what needs improvement. 

Conclusion: The Best Learning Method.

We have now learned the details of synchronous and asynchronous learning. The type of learning you choose will depend on different factors. These factors include learning objectives, kind of the course, number of learners, etc. But, the winning formula is the blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning. Both types of learning have pros and cons, as discussed in the previous sections. Also, the purpose of both these learning styles is the same. You should make sure that students are following the lecture without hassles. 

If you're still confused about choosing the right learning style, use a tool like Edisapp. It is a modern software developed by Eloit technologies. This app will help you manage your classes easily. It is specially designed for schools to conduct efficient online courses. Also, Edisapp can be accessed from any device with ease. So, this is the best time to update your educational system and help students become better citizens in the future!

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