During the COVID-19 pandemic, students whose prior educational experience consisted of in-classroom lectures and at-home practice, in some cases, experienced a flipped model. They were asked to study independently or with their parents and come to virtual classroom sessions prepared to ask questions and discuss what they learned during self-study. And many students still flourished.
As we recover from the pandemic and reflect on what we’ve learned, we have to ask ourselves if we should draw on the unexpected but beneficial lessons of the COVID-19 classroom model or carry on as we have for generations—or perhaps a combination of both. The answer may be illuminated by assessing the pros and cons of the synchronous versus asynchronous learning models so that you are well-equipped to leverage either one to best suit your students’ needs.
Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Learning Defined
Synchronous learning is akin to the traditional classroom model in which students learn together, in a group, benefitting from one other’s shared learning experiences. However, educators can create synchronous learning environments in-person or virtually, thanks to online video streaming tools and digital engagement platforms.
Asynchronous learning leverages a learner-centric approach in which students complete self-based coursework online or independently using other self-study and practice modalities.
The Pros and Cons of Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning
Which Model is Right for Your Students?
When considering which model—synchronous or asynchronous—could be the most effective for your students, consider the following factors:
- What portion of your students may not have consistent access to high-speed Wi-Fi and a dedicated digital device in their homes?
- What are the ages of your students?
- How much are parents proactively involved in their children’s learning in your district?
- What support do you have from your administration for an asynchronous model?
- What preferences do students and their parents have for their learning model?
Regardless of which model you will need to leverage with your students, what matters most is that you have mechanisms to maintain visibility into each student’s unique learning needs. By further tailoring your teaching methods, you can ensure every student feels supported and capable of being an engaged and active learner.
Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages