Synchronous Vs. Asynchronous Teaching
As a teacher, you may want to hold a variety of classes. It could be a workshop, lecture-based, or online. There are a load of different ways to teach online. Synchronous and asynchronous fit into this. Now, you may have never heard about these before! Don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’re going to go through what each one means, some examples of the teaching style and the pros and cons of using each.
So sit back and relax, while we tell you all about synchronous and asynchronous teaching.
Synchronous virtual classrooms work in the kind of the same way as traditional classrooms do. This is with set study times and schedules, as well as live discussions. This type of teaching allows learners to engage with the materials at the same time as their peers. Providing they have sufficient wifi and can connect to the learning environment. It provides the learners with a structured learning environment without having to travel to achieve it.
This way of teaching uses web and video conferencing technology and software. This could be Google meet, Teams or Zoom, to create the learning space. A common classroom could include a live-streamed lecture, where you as a teacher stream/share your presentation with the learners. In doing so the learners can ask questions and get feedback in the moment. Another form could be a webinar. That is becoming increasingly popular within teaching.
What is the environment like?
With the way this teaching works, with both you and your learners present, teachers can incorporate discussion groups. It’s possible to divide students up into smaller groups and use break-out rooms so they can directly discuss what has just happened, without everyone butting in and getting talked over. Some software like teams has a little hand-up icon that they can click when learners have questions.
The classrooms can involve interactive elements to them. This could be chat features, polls, surveys and the ability to share documents. However, sometimes the problem with synchronous can be more teacher centred rather than student centred.
As with all things, there are advantages and disadvantages. So here are a few pros of synchronous teaching:
- You can interact with your students
- Your students can interact with each other
- You can give your students feedback in a timely manner
- Can sometimes see the facial expressions and body language of your students.
- Will get a feel for their tone and how they speak
- Have the ability to respond right away
- Dynamic learning opportunities
- More structure in the class
Some disadvantages are:
- Your students have to go on or arrive at a certain time
- Would only be for certain dates
- It can sometimes be hard to communicate in large groups of learners
- Being online, you can’t always see their body language if they don’t have their web cameras on
- There can be a lack of attention.
- This requires a quiet space to log on
- It also requires a good internet connection
- It could also be hard for your learners to speak up in the setting
So what about asynchronous learning? What’s that all about?
Asynchronous classes offer you and your students more flexibility. Your learners can study in a self-paced manner. Some of these classes may have submission deadlines. The students can connect to the materials needed and interact with instructors on their own schedules. Sometimes over an extended time period.
The classrooms use forums and message boards to keep communication running between them and their instructor. Shared files and workshops can also be included in this way of teaching. In addition, it can have self-guided learning hours and lessons.
They often feature prerecorded lectures or videos that students can watch independently. As a teacher, you can post audio or video files and lecture notes online for the learners to interact with. You can then include quizzes on the material to make sure students follow up. You can also post links to required or further reading.
What is the environment like?
As we mentioned previously, within an asynchronous class, students can access the material and study in their own time. They’re not limited to time constraints that a synchronous learning environment does. With this type of teaching, a student can log onto a virtual learning environment (VLE) and digest the material in different ways. They can dedicate more time to harder tasks or breeze through the easier ones. The content could be a range of different things, such as video content, work books or quizzes. As long as they have a good connection to wifi they can access the content from anywhere. They can also go back to the content and look at it again.
Here are some advantages of asynchronous teaching/learning.
- You have flexibility
- It’s available any time, anywhere
- You can spend more time with the material
- It starts to become more accessible
- Learners are allowed to reflect, review and digest what they’ve just learnt.
- Students can complete it at their own pace.
These are just a few of the advantages this type of learning can provide you with, but like most things they do have disadvantages.
- It can sometimes be less immersive,
- The feedback could be slow, it could take up to a few days or a few weeks
- Learners have to be extremely disciplined and self-motivated
- Sometimes it could be a disconnected social environment
- Learners could have more distractions
Depending on the way some businesses like to run, it could also have little outside support when it comes to modules. However, if you learn with us, we give you continuous support along the way from our assessors and team! You’re not left in the dark with us here at Brooks and Kirk.
Maybe you want to have a blended mix of both synchronous and asynchronous. This could be having a VLE that has tasks on, with further content like videos, workbooks or required reading. As well as having a few online sessions that the learners can join. It really does depend on you and how you want to run your lessons. Sometimes with a blended mix, you tend to get the best of both worlds. So if you’re looking to teach or start teaching, you can give our friendly team a call on 01205 805 155 and we would be happy to help. Or you can leave us a comment!