Differences Between Synchronous & Asynchronous Learning

Online learning has become pretty common these days. While searching for the various types of online learning methods, the two common ones would be synchronous and asynchronous learning. 

Each of these online learning methods is made suitable for a certain type of people based on their personality and learning style. If you’re new to synchronous and asynchronous learning, this article will help you understand the difference between the two.

What is synchronous learning?

Synchronous learning involves a group of people learning at the same time. It’s similar to an actual classroom where the person learning and the person who’s currently teaching are interacting in ‘real-time’. This could either be in a physical location or virtually. 

learning on laptop

Example of synchronous learning

A great example in a corporate setting would be live webinars or in-person training where everyone can participate simultaneously. Besides that, this also includes one-to-one personal training or conferences. 

Pros of synchronous learning

1. Suitable for any team 

Synchronous learning is versatile as it can be done either in person or online. 

2. Boost social interaction

As everyone gathers at the same time, this promotes social interaction among each other. 

3. Offer motivation to learn

Sometimes certain people get inspired to learn more upon seeing others who are doing the same as well. So when everyone gathers around to achieve a common goal, this motivates them to be more involved and learn together. 

4. Prevent the feeling of isolation

When you’re by yourself, it can make someone feel lonely and isolated - whether it’s in a virtual setting or alone at a desk in a physical location. This offers a chance for the team to interact with one another and prevent work isolation. 

Cons of synchronous learning

1. Not able to scale

For instance, if the training is held in a certain country, it can’t be replicated with another group living in a different country. This can be costly as it’ll require you to hold different trainings. 

2. Lack of flexibility

Not everyone is able to make it to all the training sessions. So, they might have to miss the training. 

3. Doesn’t cater to individual needs

Everyone has different learning styles, so it might be tricky to have synchronous learning as it doesn’t offer only one person’s way of learning. 

girl undergoing asynchronous learning

What is asynchronous learning?

Asynchronous learning offers flexibility as the sessions aren’t held in real time. Instead, it involves self-studying so people can learn at their own pace and time. The resources are made available at any time online. 

Example of asynchronous learning

Some of the popular asynchronous learning methods include video lectures or courses where people are able to get through the course materials without being tied down to any specific time. 

Another great example would be online forums or discussion boards. People are able to interact with one another, except not in real-time as everyone gets to reply based on their own timing. 

Pros of asynchronous learning

1. Offers flexibility

With asynchronous learning, people can learn at their own time and pace without much pressure or stress. 

2. Save costs in the long run

You’ll only need to record one video or course for everyone to access them unlimited times. 

3. Great for global teams

It’s much easier for teams with different time zones to view the learning materials as they don’t have to access them at the same time. 

4. Offers better productivity

Asynchronous learning allows you to focus on more important tasks instead of completing the course when you have other priorities. 

Cons of asynchronous learning

1. Doesn’t offer feedback instantly

You can’t get instant feedback as they are not held in real time. 

2. Lack of discipline

Since you’ll be alone when going through asynchronous learning, it might cause you to get distracted easily. 

3. Might promote loneliness

Since there are no interactions in real life, asynchronous learning doesn’t offer the same connection, causing people to feel alone. 

With Gnowbe, you can create an asynchronous experience that feels synchronous

Even though learners can go through a program, anytime, anywhere, they are still able to interact with other people in their group by sharing their answers to the group wall, commenting and liking other people’s posts, and privately messaging other learners. 

This creates an interactive environment that simulates an in-person discussion, without needing to have everyone in the same room at the same time!

Use Gnowbe to create a blended experience

Gnowbe is also a powerful tool that can be used to create a blended experience, which includes elements of asynchronous and synchronous learning. 

Some ways that people have used Gnowbe to create a blended learning experience are: 

1. Using Gnowbe as a presentation tool in an online webinar or class

2. Using Gnowbe to assign pre-work or follow up work before or after your class or training

3. Using Gnowbe as a digital workbook for your conference or event 

To learn more about how to use Gnowbe for blended learning, download our free e-book here!

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