In the last few months, synchronous and asynchronous trainings have become increasingly popular because of the need to “move” the standard classroom lessons into virtual environments, as a consequence of the COVID-19.
Recently, Distance Learning (DL) is in everyone’s spotlight and even in Italy people began to talk about the benefits it brings.
However, as it happens with any new digital phenomenon, the majority of potential users feel a considerable level of confusion in terms of understanding the differences between synchronous and asynchronous learning, precisely because they are far from the digital world.
Therefore, the goal of this article will be to clarify any existing doubts about this topic, and to list the main benefits of both forms of learning, as well as the solutions that are currently available in the market.
Asynchronous DL and Synchronous DL: What is it?
Before appreciating the benefits of online training, it is necessary to understand the difference that exists between its two macro areas: asynchronous e-learning and synchronous e-learning.
Asynchronous training refers to the concept of an educational relationship in which individuals communicate from different places and at different times. There is no simultaneous presence of teachers and learners, so that the interaction between them is obviously limited. The tools that are usually applied to such training mode are different and vary between the different e-learning platforms. Generally, online courses in asynchronous mode consist of:
Synchronous training is defined as a real-time training relationship scenario, in which teachers and learners communicate from different places, but at the same time. There is therefore a contemporary interaction between them, which brings considerable advantages in terms of the interactivity that it implies, although this contact is mediated by the IT tool.
Precisely in this historical moment, those e-learning platforms that offer synchronous solutions represent the main focus for educational institutions, companies and schools.
Comparison between the two online training modes
After clarifying what is meant by distance learning in asynchronous rather than synchronous mode, it is possible to focus on the benefits of adopting these solutions.
The benefits of Asynchronous DL
When a company launches an e-learning project, dedicating it to a single topic, and with a deadline for the completion of the course, the management expects to achieve a high degree of participation and a satisfactory learning level, enabling people to carry out the training activities whenever and wherever they prefer.
This is the typical scenario where asynchronous training best delivers its characteristics; indeed, the course can be structured with the right timing, and it gives the students the possibility to access its content at any time and wherever they are located.
One should not think that asynchronously structured courses do not allow the monitoring of individual users. The best DL platforms offer tracking systems that allow the administrators to know, for each user:
The benefits of Synchronous DL
Considering the ongoing situation, the world of schools and training institutions had to stop. Nevertheless, training needs to continue even in such borderline scenarios. Hence, synchronous distance learning comes to the rescue, as it allows creating virtual classrooms where teachers and learners can interact with each other as if they were in the same place.
Like the asynchronous method, synchronous training also makes it possible to keep track of the trainees who attend the live sessions, and to ensure that the lessons run smoothly.
As a matter of fact, also in this case, there are several e-learning platforms that offer solutions to satisfy those schools and training institutions that want to convert the classroom lessons into virtual environments.
The winning strategy
It is time now to understand what may be the best strategy to gain the benefits that have been mentioned so far.
Even though the two forms of learning respond, in principle, to different needs, it has been proven that the best strategy is to combine them together.
More precisely, a school and/or training institution may use synchronous training for purely educational sessions, such as regular lessons at school; alternatively, it may use asynchronous training to assign tests, upload handouts, and useful videos for learning, making students free to view them whenever and wherever they want.
What is really important, however, is to choose the best e-learning platform to use. It is not trivial to state so, considering the recent emergence of several companies, which promise the highest performance levels, even though they had never operated in the industry before.
Rely on companies that have been riding the e-learning wave for years like VITECO and, above all, rely on organizations who are able to provide integrated solutions (asynchronous and synchronous).
If you want to discover all the solutions we offer, do not hesitate to fill out our contact form and, within a few minutes, we will contact you to help you choose your DL platform.