Synchronous Versus Asynchronous Learning

Synchronous learning is an online learning environment in which students and teachers meet virtually for a live lesson. It is just like a regular classroom in a virtual setting with digital platforms and performance tools. Learning still occurs simultaneously with a set schedule for engagement. Synchronous learning can help students and teachers feel involved in real time, provide unique educational opportunities and thriving relationships, and promote direct instruction with immediate feedback. It involves teacher leadership in content organization and digital citizenship expectations. Norms are established for online interaction along with academic requirements presented in a syllabus. Modules of learning have expected sequence and meeting times, and these are posted with the understanding that “class is in session” and “attendance is required.”

Asynchronous learning provides students independent opportunities for participation in online instruction. Advantages are time for thought, individual empowerment of learning styles, and self-paced lessons. Students are given specific time frames with readings and activities to be completed individually to meet performance standards for content modules.  In addition, students are also expected to further participate in verbal and written responses in virtual group spaces that build an online peer community of learners. Typically, an online learning module has a weekly time frame with connection to the community expected once or twice independently during that week. With asynchronous courses, student time management is paramount, and students have the advantage of balancing their personal lifestyle demands.

Graphic Available for Download: Do This Not That in Online Teaching

For additional resources, check out the Instructional Technology web page.

Contact your local school TTIS for additional support.


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