Self Improvement Planet

Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning: A Detailed Breakdown

You’ve likely heard people use the terms synchronous and asynchronous learning recently. These terms have come to prominence with the rise of online learning. Although online learning has been around for ages, it has become more popular than ever since the pandemic began. COVID-19 forced many educational institutions and workplaces to shut down for safety purposes to curb the virus’s spread. As a result, most educational institutions and workplaces went remote. Educational institutions switched to online learning to continue administering material to students. Likewise, corporations adopted a similar model to continue training new employees and upskilling existing employees.

Statistics show the E-learning market was worth approximately $250 billion in 2020. The market has continued growing exponentially since then. Research shows the global E-learning market has a compound annual growth rate of over 21 percent.

Whether you’re using online learning for schools or your workplace, you’ll find that online classes typically fall into two categories. These are synchronous and asynchronous. While only a single letter may separate these two, they significantly differ. Let’s discuss and differentiate between synchronous and asynchronous learning in detail.

What is Synchronous Learning?

Synchronous learning occurs in real-time, meaning participants are taking live classes. They absorb information as the instructor conveys it. Participants and tutors will attend the synchronous events from different locations in online classes. Participants often refer to synchronous learning as more interactive than asynchronous learning because of the social learning nature of this approach.

Social Learning

Social learning is the primary way for humans to learn. According to the 70:20:10 model, 20 percent of knowledge transfer occurs through social learning. Humans require social interaction to have knowledge exchange and information transfer. If humans don’t have social interactions, they suffer from a significant gap in acquiring knowledge and retaining information.

Social learning isn’t a concept exclusive to synchronous learning because it also extends to asynchronous learning. However, research shows that synchronous tools are better at cultivating engagement. In addition, they also facilitate interactions between participants.

Synchronous learning

Synchronous Learning Tools

Numerous synchronous learning tools exist. They include:

Online Classrooms and Webinars

Online classrooms and webinars are excellent examples of synchronous E-learning tools. These experiences occur with a group of participants interacting with one another. You can incorporate learning management systems to administer these events.

Live Chats

Many learning management systems will also include a live chat to enable quick communication between participants. Live chats function similarly to instant messaging services. They promote collaboration and discussion as online users can exchange messages, ideas, etc.

Interacting with Subject Matter Experts

Interacting with subject matter experts is another excellent example of synchronous learning. Many businesses often have subject matter experts who serve as authorities in their respective domains. You can create an experts area on your LMS platform, enabling employees to contact them for expert advice.

Interacting with a subject matter expert


Benefits of Synchronous Learning

Synchronous learning has numerous benefits. These include:

Improved Productivity

Communicating with other users and receiving responses facilitates discussions. It results in idea sharing and knowledge exchange, increasing productivity and confidence. Research shows teams who communicate effectively during synchronous learning models increase their productivity by 25 percent.

Facilitating Team-Based Learning

Synchronous tools also facilitate team-based learning. According to research, 75 percent of organizations consider collaboration and teamwork essential.

Higher Retention, Engagement, and Employee Satisfaction

Synchronous learning tools are also excellent at improving retention rates. In addition, they also increase engagement rates because learners are likelier to pay attention to learning in real-time. As a result, improved engagement results in better performance. According to a Gallup poll, engaged employees are 27 percent more likely to report better performance.

What is Asynchronous Learning?

Asynchronous learning lies on the opposite end of the spectrum from synchronous learning. Asynchronous learning enables participants to access learning material outside the classroom at their convenience. They don’t have to rely on an instructor to progress through the learning material. Many online learning modules often utilize asynchronous learning to make learning convenient for participants.

Course creators will typically devise a learning path on an LMS platform and equip it with clear instructions to help learners. Users can then go through the learning material at their preferred pace. Hence, asynchronous learning doesn’t occur in real-time.

Asynchronous Learning Tools

Asynchronous learning tools offer learners a more flexible approach. These tools include:

Online Courses

Online courses are an excellent example of asynchronous learning. You’ll find numerous online courses on Udemy, Coursera, etc. These courses adopt an asynchronous learning model because participants can access them when convenient. Learning doesn’t occur in real-time.

Pre-Recorded Lectures and Webinars

Pre-recorded lectures and webinars are other examples of asynchronous learning and are an excellent addition to your learning management system. Studies show their increased flexibility results in cost-effectiveness and greater job satisfaction. Pre-recorded lectures and webinars benefit both instructors and participants because instructors have the freedom to record learning content whenever they want. Likewise, participants don’t have to adhere to a class schedule.


Pre-recorded lecture

Uploaded Materials

Organizations will often upload learning materials for participants on their LMS platform. Employees can access these materials at their convenience. You could, for instance, upload PDF files, slide decks, infographics, videos, etc. Video and audio content has become particularly popular recently because 91 percent of educational institutions agree that it increases student satisfaction.

However, reading material is also common because studies show reading improves brain connectivity and comprehension.

Benefits of Asynchronous Learning

Asynchronous learning has numerous benefits. These include:

Increased Autonomy

Learners engage with asynchronous learning tools when they desire. As a result, they have increased autonomy. The Self-Determination Theory dictates that autonomy is one of three core psychological needs for intrinsic motivation. Participants are likelier to report increased retention and engagement when intrinsically motivated.


According to studies, employees can dedicate 24 minutes per week to training. As a result, asynchronous learning is beneficial for them because it enables them to devise learning around their other responsibilities. Employees can allocate learning periods during natural lulls during the workday, or they can learn on the go during commutes.

Employees Can Structure Their Individual Learning Journey

Asynchronous learning also allows learners to structure their individual learning journeys. It gives them the freedom to learn when they want.

Create Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning Modules with Axis LMS

Atrixware has designed Axis LMS to suit the needs of all L&D professionals. Their learning management system for E-learning is widely regarded by many as the best learning management system on the market. Atrixware’s E-learning management system works well for compliance training, employee training, customer training, etc.

Visit their website today to learn more about Axis LMS. Alternatively, consider contacting them today to get started.


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