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Balancing The Synchronous And Asynchronous Content In eLearning

Balancing The Synchronous And Asynchronous Content In eLearning

With the widespread adoption of remote training programs across corporations, the effectiveness of synchronous as well as asynchronous learning is becoming a topic of interest. It renders many advantages to both instructors and learners alike.

Online training can either be synchronous or asynchronous, or hybrid. While some organizations may choose to go with completely synchronous or completely asynchronous programs, hybrid learning requires a balanced blend of the two. Once you learn about what is synchronous learning and what is asynchronous learning, you can decide which one you want to follow for your organizational training. 

The right mix of synchronous and asynchronous content will depend on and be unique to the content of the online course, which the instructor can change throughout the course. 

Synchronous learning provides immediate interactions and responses, along with a structure for students and instructors. On the other hand, asynchronous learning intelligently creates and offers the opportunity to freely process the content given, thoroughly reflect on it, and still manage the course when unexpected challenges, like sickness, arise.

When trying to balance the two components of your eLearning course, you will try to answer two questions concerning your course:

  1. Which content to use through synchronous techniques and which ones to use through asynchronous learning?
  2. Are your synchronous and asynchronous components working in sync?

Which Content Goes Where?

You will divide the total content of your course into these two components, but this will vary depending on your training objectives, the material you use, and the resources available to you.

Asynchronous content is best used when:

  • You want the learners to practice or complete a part of the course independently. It could be an assignment or a piece for reading. This happens with clear deadlines but within the learner’s pace.
  • You want the group to interact and review each other’s work through collaborative participation. 
  • You have introduced a new concept and want the corporate learners to spend time with it before diving into activities around it.
  • Your learners need to have prior knowledge about a topic before a live class, and that knowledge could generally vary if they are not prepared for it. 

Consider questions like what visual and audio aids your students would require, including animations, images, podcasts, etc. Can you use already available content, or do you need to create new content based on the learning objectives?

Synchronous content is best used when:

  • You need your learners to engage in real-time discussions and exchange their perspectives about a topic.
  • Your students will best learn from listening to each other’s experiences.
  • You must be available to be a facilitator or mediator in real-time debates. 
  • Immediate feedback and doubt clarification can benefit the learning process.
  • You need to work on community/team building. 

These generally involve live video conferencing sessions. You need to ask yourself what the session will be like, how the learners will interact, what technologies can be used, etc. 

Are Your Synchronous And Asynchronous Components In Sync?

How will you evaluate if your course’s synchronous and asynchronous content is working well together and not killing the purpose of the course? Check out the following points to know how. 

Evaluate How The Two Sessions Relate To Each Other

A good eLearning course is cohesive and supports every individual’s learning. It is made possible by ensuring that the synchronous sessions and the asynchronous material are related to, built upon, and supported by one another. They should not necessarily have different topics but can be utilized to learn the theory and application part of the same topic. 

For example, suppose you want the corporate learners to understand a new marketing technique. In that case, you can send across an asynchronous piece of content for them to read the theory of the idea and what it involves but hold a synchronous session to speak about how they can apply it in their job’s context. 

Identify Online Simulations

Online simulations are an excellent supplement for synchronous learning. They allow learning by exposing the learned technical concepts and allowing them to conduct virtual experiments or situational simulations. Simulations lower the stakes for the learners and provide them with a low-risk opportunity for formative feedback. No one has to ‘fail’ in synchronous learning, so no negative impact hampers their understanding. Plenty of online simulations available on the internet are free to use. 

Create Challenges For Students

Challenges can be an excellent method of explorative learning. Give your learners a chance to apply and exhibit their knowledge in ways that are important to them. You can ask them to explore a topic and explain it in their own terms or how they have understood it. Examples and applications can also provide insight into their comprehension of a lesson. They will share what they have prepared asynchronously in a live class, helping other learners. 

You can also challenge learners to use their imaginations and illustrate concepts using household materials or available objects. Creating their own ideas will encourage their critical thinking, enhance memory, and enable them to apply in practice what they have mastered in theory.

Prepare For Synchronous Sessions With Asynchronous Content

Use a backward course design model. With your lesson preparation, point out what you expect the learners to gain after each session and then list the information, skills, or resources they will need to perform the tasks at hand. 

Use this list to plan your synchronous sessions and give the group of learners access to all the material they need to have before entering the live session. This way, they will know what to expect and ensure they meet each lesson’s goal. 

Avoid Monotony

You have a large experimental area with the use of both synchronous as well as asynchronous content. Use that potential and make learning exciting. Leverage a variety of activities for synchronous sessions and try new methods of asynchronous learning so that your learners are able to enjoy the process of gaining new knowledge. 

Say you introduced a new idea in a training session, and the next session involves a discussion of the reflections everyone had. You can assign them a task to create a project on their own later for the same, or send them a quiz on the discussed topic. The goal is not to use just one method but to be as creative and balanced as you can in using the two components. 


eLearning courses provide a lot of space for learning in a creative setting such that the learning process becomes fun and enjoyable while the training goals are also effectively met. But the challenge is maintaining a balance between the synchronous and asynchronous parts of the content. With the points mentioned above in mind, one can reduce the inefficiencies and create a course that handles the content in the two divisions practically and efficiently. 

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