Distance learning has become the main mode of learning for several students since schools are closed due to the pandemic. These days, most educators implement synchronous learning through online classes, but another popular form of distance learning is asynchronous learning.
Some people claim that this form of learning is ineffective and shouldn’t be prioritized by educators. But asynchronous learning has several advantages, so it may very well become the future of learning.
What Is Asynchronous Learning?
Asynchronous learning is a learning strategy where learning does not happen in the same place and at the same time. Information is provided to students using print or digital sources that they can study on their own and in their own time. This type of learning benefits students and educators, especially now when distance learning as the “new normal.”
How Asynchronous Learning Benefits Students
1. Flexible Schedule
With asynchronous learning, students can study their materials at any time of day. They do not need to adhere to a strict schedule. While educators may enforce deadlines, students still have control over when they study.
Thus, asynchronous learning helps many students. For example, some of them have other responsibilities other than classes, such as jobs and household chores. Participating in a synchronous type of learning such as online classes can be difficult if students are juggling many responsibilities at once. So the flexibility of asynchronous learning makes it an inclusive student-centered learning strategy because it gives students control over their schedule.
2. Personalized Learning Pace
Asynchronous learning also allows students to control their pace of learning. If they find a lesson more difficult than others, they can spend more time on it without feeling pressured about being left behind by their peers. Students can also easily go back to their learning materials if they need to review them.
Or if the students find some parts of a lesson easy, they can read through their lessons and answer their quizzes quickly. This way, they can have free time to do other schoolwork or take a break.
3. Less Social Interaction
While the reduced social interaction in asynchronous learning can be deemed a disadvantage, many students will appreciate it. Participating and having to recite during an online class can be overwhelming for some students. This feeling is eliminated since, in asynchronous learning, students study on their own.
Also, most interactions or conversations are held through asynchronous forums, such as discussion boards, which further eliminates the pressure of real-time social interaction.
How Asynchronous Learning Benefits Educators
One advantage of asynchronous learning that educators will appreciate is its cost-effectiveness. Learning materials are mostly digital and accessible to students through learning platforms. This setup significantly reduces the expenses for printing resources such as paper, printers, and ink, among others.
2. Easy to Personalize
Students have different learning styles. Educators can easily personalize their asynchronous learning materials to accommodate different learning styles. For instance, a lesson about business models can include tutorial videos, with visual animation and sound effects, to appeal to visual and auditory learners. Interactive presentations and simulations can also be included to accommodate kinesthetic learners.
3. Scalable Content
After creating asynchronous learning materials, educators can distribute them to as many students as needed. Educators don’t have to change the content too often. If revisions are needed, they can be easily incorporated into the materials and then redistribute them easily.
Like other forms of learning, asynchronous learning has its issues. For one, this type of learning removes social interactions. This mode of learning doesn’t allow students to practice and polish their communication skills. Also, some things must still be taught in real time for better comprehension and retention.
For instance, in an online EMT training session for beginners, students need to be taught CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. In an asynchronous form of learning, the students might simply be given a slide presentation and a recorded video that shows how CPR is done. But these materials aren’t enough, and the students might find the procedure difficult to execute in real life. Meanwhile, with synchronous learning, an instructor would be able to do a live demonstration online and a question-and-answer portion.
In this case, asynchronous learning is helpful but must be blended with synchronous learning to help students succeed academically.
Although some people do not like it, asynchronous learning has several benefits that make it too good to be dismissed. With the technological advancements that we will have in the years to come, asynchronous learning will only be further improved and will likely become the future of education.