In the post-pandemic world, educational institutions cannot force students to return to classrooms in person. Many educational institutions will allow students to choose from two options – return to the classroom or learn from home. That is why; it becomes essential for academic institutions to bridge the gap between synchronous learning and asynchronous learning model.
According to Wikipedia,
“Before learning technology allowed for synchronous learning environments, most online education took place through asynchronous learning methods. Since synchronous tools that can be used for education have become available, many people are turning to them as a way to help decrease the challenges associated with the transactional distance that occurs in online education.”
What is Synchronous Learning?
The synchronous learning model emphasizes making multiple students learn the same thing simultaneously in both conventional and virtual classrooms. The students can learn the same thing at the same time by attending classes or lectures in person. Otherwise, the learners can learn the same thing at the same time in a virtual learning environment through video conferencing, teleconferencing, live chats, or live-streamed lectures. A teacher or instructor will help the students to understand concepts, clear doubts, and complete tasks.
What is Asynchronous Learning?
The asynchronous learning models enable students to learn at their own pace and convenience. In addition to attending online classes, a student can acquire knowledge by accessing online learning materials, digital libraries, or video lectures over the internet. A teacher or instructor will help the student to acquire knowledge by setting up a learning path. The student will follow the learning path to acquire and retain knowledge by creating her schedule. But he still needs to meet the deadlines set by the instructor or teacher.
Now that we have got a basic understanding of what is synchronous and asynchronous learning, let’s do the comparison of synchronous vs asynchronous learning.
Synchronous vs Asynchronous Learning: What Makes Synchronous Learning Different from Asynchronous Learning?
The synchronous learning model makes multiple students learn the same thing simultaneously. In addition to learning as part of a group, the students get opportunities to interact with the instructors and other learners regularly. Hence, the synchronous learning model adds a personal touch to digital learning.
The personal touch makes it easier for instructors to boost the learning experience and student engagement. But asynchronous learning model often makes learning a lonely experience. A student has to learn without interacting or collaborating with others. Many students find it challenging to stay on track and meet deadlines while learning at their own pace.
Pace of Learning
The asynchronous learning model emphasizes self-paced learning. It enables students to learn at their own pace and convenience. The students can acquire knowledge by accessing ebooks, text-based lectures, video lectures, and podcasts over the internet.
Also, they can use smartphones or tablets to access the digital library anytime and anywhere. But the asynchronous learning model requires students to attend classes and lectures according to schedules or routines set by instructors. Also, the student needs to acquire knowledge by being part of a group or class.
The synchronous learning model creates opportunities for personal interactions between teachers and learners. The students can interact with teachers and peers while attending classes or lectures in both conventional and online environments.
The personal interactions help many students to clear doubts and get immediate feedback. But the asynchronous learning model does not facilitate real-time interaction between teachers and learners. The learners have to communicate with teachers by sending emails or posting questions on online discussion forums.
The synchronous learning model enables students to acquire knowledge by attending classes or lectures in person. Hence, a student can learn despite no fast internet connection. But he has to spend money on travel and accommodation to attend the classes in person. Also, the student needs to pay instructor fees while learning in a conventional classroom environment.
The asynchronous learning model does not require students to incur expenses related to travel and accommodation. But a student cannot learn at his own pace without high-speed internet. Also, he has to incur data charges to watch video lectures and access study materials over the internet.
As mentioned earlier, synchronous learning facilitates real-time interaction and collaboration. While attending classes, the students can clear their doubts and get questions answered immediately. The teacher can further ask questions to assess the progress of students and share feedback immediately.
But asynchronous learning makes students and teachers interact with each other through emails and discussion forums. Hence, a student has to wait for some time to get questions answered and receive feedback from the instructors. Also, he lacks the option to discuss his ideas with peers and instructors.
Quality of Learning Sessions
When an education institution adopts synchronous learning, the quality of learning sessions will vary according to the skill and expertise of the instructor or teachers. Some instructors explain concepts more clearly and elaborately than others. Likewise, some teachers focus on making students retain knowledge by implementing student engagement strategies.
But the quality and effectiveness of a learning session depend directly on the learner when the educational institution implements asynchronous learning. A student can retain knowledge, meet deadlines, and clear exams only when he is self-disciplined. Also, he must keep himself motivated to stay on track without collaborating with others.
Cost of Education
The new-age learning management systems (LMS) and virtual classroom software help educational institutions to deliver online education without increasing upfront and ongoing costs. While adopting asynchronous learning, educational institutions can make the same digital library and study materials accessible to a large number of students simultaneously.
Also, they can teach a large number of students without deploying extra instructors. That is why; many educational institutions offer online courses at lower prices than regular courses. Unlike synchronous learning, asynchronous learning makes higher education affordable to a larger number of students.
Both synchronous learning and asynchronous learning have their own pros and cons. While choosing from synchronous vs asynchronous learning models, an educational institution must consider a slew of factors – mode of learning delivery, availability of instructors/teachers, nature of course, and preference of learners. Many educational institutions these days leverage the benefits of both learning models by integrating synchronous and asynchronous learning seamlessly.
The LMS system developed by Mintbook helps educational institutions to bridge the gap between synchronous and asynchronous learning models. An educational institution can use the same LMS to make multiple students learn the same thing simultaneously by implementing instructor-led learning. Also, Mintbook’s LMS for universities, schools, and colleges enables the educational institutions to enable ILT, self-paced learning, and blended learning methods. At the same time, they can use the same LMS systems to facilitate self-learning by enabling students to access a digital library containing ebooks, journals, PDFs, audio clips, and videos.