When Universities are designing online classes, there are two main methods available. You can use synchronous or asynchronous approaches, giving you a critical decision to make when you design your online classes.
Both synchronous or asynchronous have their own benefits and drawbacks. If you want to know which one you should use, here are some points to consider.
What Is Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning?
Synchronous learning is a real-time approach. Students all go through the coursework together, using tools like webinars, messengers, and virtual classrooms.
Asynchronous learning is more independent. Even when there are multiple people in the class, they don’t have to participate at the exact same time. The learning modules can usually be triggered on-demand, for example. Additionally, they may communicate when it’s convenient, using tools like online message boards.
The Pros and Cons of Synchronous Learning
Synchronous does have benefits. The process is feedback-friendly and highly collaborative, creating more opportunities for participants to learn from one another. Questions can be answered immediately, as well, allowing things to move forward rapidly.
When it comes to drawbacks, the learning schedule can be rigid, and the material isn’t accessible at any time. The quality of the experience depends both on the instructor and the other students, as some groups may be more engaged or knowledgeable than others.
The Pros and Cons of Asynchronous Learning
Asynchronous learning provides a degree of flexibility. Students can handle tasks when it’s convenient. Plus, since the coursework is available on-demand, there’s no need for a live instructor, which may be more affordable and is incredibly scalable.
On the downside, there may be few opportunities for collaboration. Some students might feel a bit isolated or could have trouble getting questions answered in a timely manner. Finally, if a student isn’t highly disciplined, they might lack the motivation to complete the course.
Choosing the Option That’s Right for You
In the end, both approaches have their place and can, in fact, work very well together. For example, you might make the core coursework asynchronous but offer live instruction to facilitate collaboration and Q&As. Essentially, it’s a blended approach, giving you the best of both while reducing the negative impact of any drawbacks.
However, if you can’t shoulder a mixed learning experience, it’s best to examine the nature of the content and the number of students that need to be involved. That may give you the insights you need to select an approach that will yield the best results.
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