Asynchronous Learning

Asynchronous learning, or asyncronous distance learning, is one of two basic types of distance learning offered by online colleges and universities. The other basic type is synchronous learning, and there is a fundamental difference between these two types of courses.

Knowing the difference between asynchronous learning and synchronous learning is important, as the classes are taught in two different manners. For most attending distance learning colleges, asynchronous distance learning is the choice for them.

The basic difference between these two types of courses or learning styles is when you need to attend class. For most, the draw of attending college online is the fact that you can take your classes any time you choose. This is true for asynchronous learning, but not for synchronous classes.

Synchronous classes require you to attend class at regular times. You must log into your class at the same time as your instructor and the other students. It is more structured, and you have to be able to work with the schedule of your classes. You do not have the option to take your classes at various times throughout the quarter or semester. This may be a disadvantage for students choosing a distance learning program.

Asynchronous learning, however, does not require you to log in at specified times and take classes at the same time as your fellow students. Most communication during classes with universities offering asychronous distance learning occurs via email, discussion boards and forums. This is in contrast to “real time” communciation available with synchronous learning.

Synchronous learning may have some beneifits, as dealing with your instructor and other students in “real time” can be beneficial, but for most students enrolling in a distance learning course, asynchronous learning fits much better with their overall goals.

When choosing your distance learning university, be sure to know whether you are taking an asynchronous distance learning, or a synchronous course!

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