Online Education: Synchronous vs. Asynchronous

There are many different types of eLearning such as live webinars, training courses administered via an LMS, instructor-led training (ILT), etc. These various types can be broken down into two overarching categories: synchronous eLearning and asynchronous eLearning. Each has its pros and cons, but in the great debate of synchronous vs. asynchronous eLearning, which is best?

Let’s start off with what each means…

What is Synchronous Learning?

In the most basic of definitions, synchronous learning is when learners and instructors are online at the same time. Synchronous learning occurs in many forms but the most common include video or web conferencing, online chats, teleconferencing, etc. These formats allow for immediate learner-instructor and/or learner-learner interaction, which can be highly beneficial to learners who perform better in this open-forum setting.

On the flip side, synchronous learning means participants will need to make themselves available at a specific date and time to take part in this type of learning environment. This is not always easy for learners who would rather complete training when it’s convenient for them and at their own pace.

What is Asynchronous Learning?

This brings us to our next category which is asynchronous learning.