Online education is booming. Whether you’re taking a college course or training for work, online learning opens up a world of possibilities, both for the learner and business or educational institution. However, not all online training programs work in the same manner. When it comes to online education, there are two methods: synchronous learning or asynchronous learning.
While some people don’t care which method is used, others feel strongly about one approach over the other. However, both options bring several advantages as well as some negatives to consider.
What Is Synchronous Learning?
Synchronous learning involves education that happens in real-time. It consists of a group of learners engaging in course material as a whole, rather than studying and working on their own schedule However, while all learning happens simultaneously, students or trainees don’t have to be in the same classroom — or even in the same location. Members can work from anywhere with an internet connection, but everyone must be logged in at the same time. People who enjoy this learning style like their education to maintain some of the more traditional structure, as well as the opportunity to ask questions and get immediate answers.
With this learning method, having consistent, reliable communication is very important. This is all made possible with dependable video streaming services, such as the solutions offered here at Viostream. We're a video streaming provider that allows our customers to stream media on any device, making it easy for teams to communicate effectively.
What Is Asynchronous Learning?
Asynchronous learning focuses on flexibility and the needs of the learner. This method allows students or trainees to complete coursework independently without being required to stick to a daily routine. Asynchronous learning lets students work on their own time, with the only requirement being an internet connection. As long as they finish their work by the specified deadline, they can work at their own pace and on their own schedule, whether that's early mornings or the middle of the night.
While this style doesn't typically involve real-time support, asynchronous learning still has the potential for feedback. But instead of speaking to your professor instantly on a video or phone call, asynchronous learning incorporates asynchronous communication, where a student would interact with the instructor over instant message or email and receive a delayed response. This type of learning is designed for people who don't need to follow a routine schedule. Most people who enjoy asynchronous learning have busy schedules and can still learn effectively without a traditional structure.
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Pros of Synchronous Learning
Here are some advantages of this learning method:
- Improved Learning. Those who prefer synchronous learning typically learn more effectively when interacting directly with instructors and other students. Not only can this lead to a better experience, but synchronous learning also makes group projects possible.
- Immediate Feedback. Feedback is another strong plus for synchronous learning. As the course happens in real-time, learners receive instant feedback. This can be especially useful if you have pressing questions or need quick clarification on a subject. Synchronous learning can also lead to having group discussions and debates.
Related Reading: The Benefits of Synchronous Learning
Cons of Synchronous Learning
Take a look at some disadvantages below:
- Inflexible Scheduling. Because synchronous learners have to be logged in at a certain time, you can’t learn on your own schedule. While you can still go to class in your pajamas, you'll have to virtually attend at the same time as everyone else. If you have a busy schedule, this learning style may not work for you.
- Limited Attention. Another drawback is that some students feel they don’t receive the attention they deserve. While synchronous learning offers a group dynamic, personal attention might get clouded in busy group discussions. This can be especially frustrating if there’s something you don’t understand.
Pros of Asynchronous Learning
Here are some reasons why asynchronous learning is beneficial:
- Flexibility. Flexibility is the leading benefit of asynchronous learning. While you still have to adhere to specific deadlines, you can usually work on your own time. If you have a demanding job or schedule that constantly fluctuates, asynchronous learning may be right for you. Students work at their own pace and study when it's most convenient for them.
- Cost-effective. Asynchronous learning is also pretty affordable. Since an instructor doesn’t need to be present for daily classes, that means fewer costs for educational institutions. And those savings are usually passed onto the student.
Cons of Asynchronous Learning
Some disadvantages of this learning style include:
- Ineffective Communication. While you can receive quality feedback and support with the asynchronous learning method, asynchronous communication can sometimes be troublesome. Although you can email your professor about an important question, the answer won’t be instant.
- Isolation. Asynchronous learners can also feel a bit isolated. While you may communicate with your teacher and other students, being behind a screen isn’t the same as face-to-face interaction. While this isn’t an issue for some people, it’s a huge problem for others. Some students feel less motivated with asynchronous education, and others feel less engaged with the course material.
Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Learning: Which Should You Choose?
For a business or educational program, several factors help determine which learning style is best. Ultimately, it all depends on your teaching objectives, how the material is presented, the types of content you create, and the availability of your learners.
Where the situation allows, blending the two together is usually the perfect solution. For instance, you can have a live webinar once a week, have no other class meetings, then require your learners to take a quiz at the end of the week. While students can do most of the work on their own time, they’ll still have some interaction during the live weekly meeting.
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How Viostream Can Help
Whether you prefer synchronous or asynchronous learning, both methods depend on video streaming. This is where Viostream can help.
If you’re looking to host virtual webinars or video lectures for your students, we have a video platform you can count on. Want to post training videos for your workplace? We can help with that too! But that’s not all — we also offer video analytics, security features, and much more.
Contact our customer support team to learn more about how Viostream's professional video hosting platform can help improve your business communications today.