What is Asynchronous Teaching/Learning?
Asynchronous learning happens on your schedule. While your course of study, instructor, or program will provide materials for reading, lectures for viewing, assignments for completing, and exams for evaluation, you can access and satisfy these requirements on your own schedule, so long as you meet the expected deadlines. Common methods of asynchronous online learning include self-guided lesson modules, pre-recorded video content, virtual libraries, lecture notes, and online discussion boards or social media platforms.
What are the characteristics of Asynchronous Teaching/Learning?
Individual Pacing: By definition, Asynchronous Learning allows students to design their own learning schedules. This allows learners to spend more time on challenging areas and work toward mastery instead of deadlines imposed from above. Individual pacing helps address different learning styles as well as learning disabilities.
Asynchronous Collaboration: Using discussion boards and interactive document editing can help students engage more deeply with the material as they communicate with each other. Asynchronous collaboration allows students to reach out for help when they need it and to work with the material as long as needed before sharing their thoughts with others, leading to a richer, more personalized experience overall.
Portfolio Learning: Because students don't necessarily sit for a single exam, assessment of Asynchronous Learning is often comprised of a portfolio of material demonstrating mastery. At its best, an online learning portfolio can contain a rich collection of video, presentations, and other multimedia projects that show what has been learned in a much deeper way than a standardized test, and these projects can follow students through their academic careers and into the real world.
How can it be infused into Asynchronous Teaching/Learning?
Asynchronous Activities and Learning Tools
Videos: Turn in-class lectures into videos by recording your teaching. For best results, you can combine video with documents, text, photos, and slides for a full presentation.
Demonstrations: Sometimes students need to see something in action. Post an existing video that shows a skill, or make your own and publish it on YouTube.
Class Discussion: Discussion boards are a great way to get students to interact while not requiring them to be online at the same time.
Group Projects: Your students don't have to be in the same room to work together. Group presentations and reports can be edited using Google Docs or Dropbox for real-time collaboration and commenting.
Learning Activities: Your students need to apply what they've picked up in your online materials, so try creating quizzes and games that let them practice their skills and get feedback on what they know--and what needs work.
Benefits of Asynchronous Teaching/Learning:
Flexibility - If you have a demanding schedule or keep weird hours, you’re probably an asynchronous learner. In these programs, materials are freely available - usually within a set period, like a week or two — so you can access them when it best suits your schedule.
Pacing - One of the most empowering features of asynchronous learning is that you set the pace (usually within set deadlines). You can read and review materials as much as you need to, completing them based on your understanding rather than on when class time ends.
Affordable - If a major motivating factor for you in choosing online education is affordability, fully asynchronous programs are among your best options. Self-guided modules, video tutorials, and virtual libraries all offer you the chance to pursue your education with minimal oversight and expense. While most of these programs don't lead to degrees, there are some that do, and they can also include certification opportunities.