What Type Of Blended Learning Should You Use: Synchronous Or Asynchronous?

men choosing pathsBlended learning is an elearning strategy that you can use to teach learners in a new way. It is when you use both traditional and online learning methods to teach students a new idea or lesson. Also known as hybrid learning, there are two types that you can use: synchronous and asynchronous learning.

Synchronous learning is more similar to the traditional learning in a classroom setting. That means learning happens simultaneously with other students or participants. Asynchronous learning is a type of learning wherein the student has more control over the pace of the course. That makes the learning process more specific and unique based on their needs.

Now these two types of blending learning have their own pros and cons. The dilemma for some instructors is deciding what type they should use. Here are some important facts about both learning strategies that could help you decide what you can use.

Synchronous learning

  • Have meaningful interactions. This type of blended learning allow students to interact with their fellow learners. The type of activities that one can expect from this method is like that of a traditional classroom. The students can enjoy face-to-face interaction at some points in the learning process. This course require students to be online or present all at the same time.
  • Higher student engagement. Since students are required to be present all at the same time, they are more encouraged to engage in the lessons and the activities. Collaboration is more possible because the people involved are there all at the same time. This allows the instructors to facilitate and guide the group more effectively. Not only that, there is a more active contribution to the learning of one another as thoughts are shared in real time.
  • Improved learning experience. It is believed that higher interactions and collaborations result in higher retention among students. That is because shared experience get to be more memorable as opposed to going through something alone.

Asynchronous learning

  • Self-paced learning. Probably the most important benefit of this type of blended learning is the fact that learners can directly decide how they will learn the course. There is no need to be present at the same time as the other learners. This is something that busy people will really appreciate. It allows them to learn without sacrificing much of their time.
  • Promotes independent thinking. The self-paced learning is not only beneficial for busy people. It also promotes independent learning. That means students act on their own initiative to learn. This particular trait can translate to other areas of their life – in their personal and professional lives. They will have the initiative to improve when they feel the need to.
  • Improves teacher-student interaction. Since students are not really learning in real time together with other learners, they have no one to interact with but the instructor. This can strengthen their relationship with each other during the learning process.

Analyze these benefits to see which of the two types of blended learning will allow you to meet the objectives of your course. For instance, you will realize that using synchronous learning is beneficial if the skill and knowledge that the learners will need requires group implementation. Asynchronous learning is great for courses that do not require much interaction and concentrates on interpersonal knowledge and skill development.

While both of them are actually great on their own, you have to know that you can create an elearning course using the both of them. Do not think that it is not an option. If you feel that you need all the benefits mentioned above, feel free to incorporate both asynchronous and and synchronous learning in your course. Both of them have the power to improve the interaction between learners, instructors and fellow students. It can also help in developing the engagement level of students as they try to reach their desired learning outcomes.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles for FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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