Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning [Online Learning in 2023]

As you research online learning, programs, and universities you may have run into a few uncommon terms — ‘synchronous’ and ‘asynchronous’ in reference to learning. To clarify any confusion, you may have about the two types of online learning we’ll explain the differences between the two terms and the advantages and disadvantages of both to help you discover which style may work best for you.

What is Online Learning [And What Does It Look Like]

Online learning gives students the ability to learn from anywhere where they have access to Wi-Fi. Remote learning also offers students greater control over their own learning by enabling them to work at their own pace.

It’s also important for students take note that online courses require just as much work as an on-ground format, and the amount of time you dedicate is also about the same as an in-person program.

With online learning, instructors typically expect students to do the following themselves:

  • Review learning objectives
  • Complete assigned readings
  • Submit assignments
  • Go through lecture materials
  • Participate in discussion boards

What’s the Difference Between Asynchronous and Synchronous Learning?

Now that you understand what an online program is and isn’t, we’ll explain the differences between asynchronous learning and synchronous learning, give you more information about each and explain the benefits of both.

Asynchronous vs Asynchronous Online Learning

What is Synchronous Learning?

Synchronous online learning runs in real time – students and instructors attend live, remote lectures at specific times during the week.  Students are usually able to interact with each other and their professor, responding to questions and getting help in real time.

Benefits of Synchronous Learning
  • Students get instant feedback and clarification from instructors.
  • There is real-time discussions with classmates.
  • Synchronous learning can provide more of a sense of classroom culture.
  • This type of learning is a good fit for students who need structure and accountability.

What is Asynchronous Learning?

Asynchronous online learning allows students to be more flexible in their schedule. Students may view instructional materials during the week when they choose. There is no live video lecture component for this type of learning. There are still due dates, but students can finish coursework when it fits best for them.

Benefits of Asynchronous Learning
  • Students may complete work on their schedule, as long deadlines are met.
  • Students can go back and listen to lectures to review information or clarify concepts.
  • Students have more time to think about a concept before they respond.
  • Asynchronous learning appeals to different learning styles.

How to be Successful in Online Classes

It may take time for students to adjust to online courses – whether the student is taking synchronous or asynchronous classes. For students to be successful in online classes students must understand the expectations of the course, utilize the resources given to them and manage their time wisely. For more tips on how to be a successful student read our blog post, 6 Tips to Being a Successful Online College Student.

Are you Ready to Start Your Online Education?

Are you ready to take the first step in beginning your online learning journey? Visit our list of online programs offered at the University of Cincinnati Online to discover the program that fits your needs. If you’re ready to go, we encourage you to start your application today.

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Already an online student? UC Online has additional tips and tricks to ensure you are on the path to success. Check out our Student Resources section for what you need to maximize your learning.
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