The main difference between synchronous and asynchronous learning is that synchronous learning involves students learning the same thing at the same time in a teacher’s presence, whereas asynchronous learning is students learning at their own pace.
We can categorize learning methods into two main categories as synchronous and asynchronous learning, based on their pace of learning. In synchronous learning, the instructor and the peers are available in real time, and feedback is given immediately. However, in asynchronous learning, students can study at their own pace without stress or rush, but it does not give immediate feedback or responses.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Synchronous Learning
– Definition, Features, Pros and Cons
2. What is Asynchronous Learning
– Definition, Features, Pros and Cons
3. Difference Between Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning
– Comparison of Key Differences
Synchronous Learning, Asynchronous Learning
What is Synchronous Learning
Synchronous learning is a type of learning where students learn the same thing at the same time in a teacher’s presence. It involves learning happening at the same time and is similar to a traditional classroom setting. Here, the knowledge transfer or teaching-learning process happens in real-time. This method has been used in the world of education for a very long time.
However, this traditional classroom setting is not the only synchronous learning method in the education section. Technology has introduced many forms of synchronous learning methods, including virtual conferences, interactive webinars, live-streamed presentations, or lectures using tools like Google Meet, Zoom, and Google Hangouts. In this method, the students can engage in the lessons using webcams, chat, microphones, and message boards. The teachers can conduct videoconferencing discussions and breakout rooms for the students to share ideas. Moreover, participants can also conduct surveys, polls, and share documents. In this method, the instructors get the chance to demonstrate specific problems physically if necessary. At the same time, if synchronous learning is conducted online, the students will not have to worry about the stress of travel.
Pros and Cons of Synchronous Learning
There are several advantages to following this method:
- Live interaction and greater engagement
- Opportunity for feedback sessions
- Dynamic learning opportunities
- Involvement of the instructor
- Direct communication
- Immediate responses
There are also several disadvantages of this learning, such as the inflexibility of the schedule. If it is conducted online, there should be equipment like webcams, microphones, and also a strong internet connection, and technical issues are possible. Synchronous learning is difficult if there are wide gaps between knowledge and understanding of the participants. This method is also difficult if participants are in different time zones. However, due to its many advantages, this method, in general, minimizes the challenges faced in education.
What is Asynchronous Learning
Asynchronous learning is education or instruction that does not happen at the same time or in the same place. Normally, it involves self-studying within a certain time frame, and most students find this comfortable since this method allows learners to study at their own pace. This method is generally applied for teacher-student or peer-to-peer learning situations rather than online learning sessions that do not involve instructors or peers.
In the asynchronous method, learning is not done in person or in real-time, so the learners use resources like pre-recorded lessons, online courses, self-guided materials, Wikipedia, blogs, emails, discussion forums, and discussion boards.
Since learners can get in touch with their peers, lecturers, and study materials based on their own schedules, immediate responses are not required. Moreover, it’s students who get to decide how much time they are going to allocate for their studies; therefore, this method needs a lot of motivation, dedication, and proactiveness.
The advantages of this method are a flexible schedule, an allocation of more time for materials, and an individual pace. There are disadvantages such as challenges with procrastination, distractions, learning difficulties, a disconnected social environment, and limited communication.
Difference Between Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning
Synchronous learning is a learning method where students learn the same thing at the same time in the teacher’s presence, while asynchronous learning is a learning method where education or instruction does not happen at the same time or in the same place.
Type of Learning
Moreover, synchronous learning is similar to a traditional classroom as students learn the same thing at the same time in the teacher’s presence. However, in asynchronous learning, students learn according to their own pace.
Synchronous learning involves video conferencing, live chats, and breakout rooms, while asynchronous learning involves email, Wikipedia, pre-recorded lessons, blogs, etc.
Feedback and Responses
In synchronous learning, feedback and responses are immediately given, but in asynchronous learning, feedback and responses are not given immediately.
Synchronous learning is a learning method where students learn the same thing at the same time in the teacher’s presence, while asynchronous learning is a learning method where education or instruction does not happen at the same time or in the same place. Synchronous learning is similar to a traditional classroom. But in asynchronous learning, students can study according to their own pace by referring to pre-recorded lessons, online courses, self-guided materials, etc. Thus, this is the main difference between synchronous and asynchronous learning.
1. Shank, Patti. “(The Right) Learning Modalities to Deliver Digital Learning: Part 4.” ELearning Industry, 12 May 2021.
2. Heick, Terry. “The Definition of Asynchronous Learning.” TeachThought, 28 Jan. 2022.