Asynchronous Learning Explained

Posted by Sophia Duplin

In this post we will answer:

 

What is Asynchronous Learning?

Asynchronous learning is allowing learners to gain knowledge of the educational material at their own pace and at their own time. It provides the learner with the ability to take more control over their learning experience. The learner is bound to only their personal timeline and schedule and can access educational content whenever they want. They do not need to attend live presentations or adhere to deadlines set by their educators. 

 

There was a large transition to asynchronous learning in terms of virtual events and OnDemand content due to Covid-19. As Harvard Business Review put it, “virtual meetings facilitate asynchronous learning… all sessions at this year’s meetings were recorded, allowing participants to view them at their convenience. Content is cataloged so it can be accessed easily, allowing physicians to tailor their education to precisely the topics that interest them or to fill specific knowledge gaps as their schedules permit. While limited asynchronous engagement with medical conference content has been available for years, the pandemic has forced meetings to vastly increase the content they make available online — an innovation that we believe will continue after the pandemic subsides.”



What is Virtual Asynchronous Learning?

Virtual Asynchronous Learning is enabling learners to access educational content OnDemand in an online Knowledge Base, Media Library or Content Catalog. Learners can access OnDemand webinars, videos, images, PDFs, podcasts and slidedecks to review at their own pace. 

 

Virtual asynchronous learning can also be seen in the form of Breakout Sessions during any virtual event. Virtual events that are delivered for educational and professional development purposes will often have several tracks for the user to choose between. 

 

For example, if an organization is delivering a virtual event for professional development, there might be different tracks for HR, Marketing and Engineering. Each department will have different interests and objectives for attending the event, and will want to spend their time engaged with different learning materials. 

 

Case Study: MediaEdge, an association built around providing B2B communications solutions for its clients, organized a Virtual Event around online learning & training for thousands of attendees. Their attendees have an array of interests and reasons for attending this event. They organize several different learning tracks, including: 

  • 4 Keynote Speakers

  • 30 Educational Sessions

  • 6 Special Industry Technology Sessions

 

The event was scheduled and configured properly to host many of these sessions simultaneously, while giving the attendees the ability to hop in and out of different sessions and choose which tracks they would like to participate in.

 

eLearning example



Another example would be an organization that is looking to monetize their content in the form of a Certification program or by delivering Continuing Education credits. They will create content and host it in an OnDemand Knowledge Base or Content Catalog. Users can register for courses or certification programs, watch recorded videos and complete assessments at their own pace. Certifications and accreditations will be automatically administered once users complete all learning modules. 

 

Case Study: Bloomberg Law created a “Bloomberg Law Certification 2020.” The user registers and completes five courses, and receives a master certification when they are all completed. Learners are able to register and complete courses at their own pace & time and will be properly accredited when they do so. 

 

Bloomberg Law certification screenshot



Why Should I Implement Asynchronous Learning? 

In a highly virtual world, a world where “work from home” is the norm and remote workers are more accustomed to having the freedom and flexibility over their time and schedule, implementing asynchronous learning is beneficial for increasing attendance and improving the user experience when engaging with your content. 

 

Learners have more control over their own learning experience and can engage with your content whenever, wherever they want. Especially because virtual attendees have the ability to log off and disengage as soon as they become uninterested, you want to give them the option to take control over their learning experience to keep them involved and excited about your content. 

 

With asynchronous learning, you also have the ability to reach an audience far beyond your geographic region. Learners in different time zones all over the world can interact with your content. Because you are not bound to live presentations, participants can engage with your content when the time is right for them. 

 

Even if you do deliver a live event, incorporating technology to enable a hybrid event where content is easily recorded and stored for later use, is extremely beneficial for reaching a wider audience. As HBR said, “routine live-streaming and recording of these in-person conferences, which was done inconsistently before, should become standard to allow learners who cannot physically attend to join virtually to the extent possible and engage asynchronously.”

 

Asynchronous learning is much conducive to delivering Continuing Education and online Professional Development. Industry professionals will be able to participate in courses that work with their busy schedules. 

 

As the article It’s Time to Embrace the Asynchronous Mindset puts it, “these mediums work precisely because of their convenience. They are examples of any time, anywhere, any way learning. Like Netflix, Spotify, and much of our entertainment world, they are consumed on demand and based on interest. They are examples of inquiry learning.”

 

The article also points out that “asynchronous media platforms like blogs, podcasts, and videos also provide another tremendous service: they share professional wealth by amplifying thought leaders on a global scale. Today, we’re no longer limited to the educators in our building, district, or state.”

 

Other benefits of asynchronous learning include:

  • Lowered cost

  • Equal quality

  • Work-life balance

  • Flexible collaboration



How Do I Implement Asynchronous Learning? 

Asynchronous learning can be enabled with the help of a technology platform that can deliver a complete, end-to-end solution. You will want to partner with a tech provider that can enable virtual & hybrid events for content production and seamlessly transfer that content into an OnDemand Knowledge Base, or Content Catalog with user tracking and automated accreditations / certification delivery. 

 

This Knowledge Base / Content Catalog can be an extension to your website or its own stand-alone site. You should be able to host and monetize all of your content as well as track and certify users and automate certifications. 

 

There are three categories of asynchronous learning content: self-directed, expert and peer. 

 

Case Study: The American Psychological Association created this Content Catalog to deliver all of their Continuing Education courses. Professional Development Knowledge Bases will look very similar. Each course will have a description and information on the time, date, length and credit amount. Both live and OnDemand courses can be listed in a catalog for users to register for and complete at times that work for them. 

 

Continuing Education in Psychology course catalog



Tips for improving your eLearning content delivery:


 

Topics: Continuing Education, Training & Professional Development

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FAQs

What does asynchronous teaching mean?

Asynchronous learning allows you to learn at your own pace, within the confines of a certain timeframe. You can access and complete lectures, readings, or other material on-demand during one week - or two weeks if it's going slower than expected!

What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous learning?

Synchronous classes are run in real-time, with students and instructors attending together from different locations. Asynchronous courses offer a more relaxed schedule that allows the learner to go at their own pace during any hour of day or night without worrying about missing anything important because they can access class materials on-demand no matter where you're located.

What are asynchronous learning activities?

Asynchronous learning activities are an excellent opportunity to get information on your employees' schedules. This can be used for training purposes especially in comparison with traditional methods of instruction such as face-to-face time or virtual classes that require more resources from managers who may have only limited amounts of free days per week at their disposal.

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