As educators struggle to make online learning more effective, some evidence suggests that new, asynchronous teaching techniques may present more effective teaching opportunities in virtual settings than trying to replicate the classroom in an online environment.
WHY EDUCATORS ARE MOVING TOWARD ASYNCHRONOUS LEARNING
Synchronous learning most closely resembles the interactions you see in a physical classroom. The synchronicity of the system relies on live or real-time interactions between teachers and students.
In the classroom, synchronous learning is easier. Teachers can, at a glance, see if students are on the right page in their textbooks or following along in their work. They can walk around the classroom, making eye contact with students and checking their work. But online, this kind of connection and interaction is challenging.
Asynchronous teaching is often significantly more student-directed. Videos, lessons, and assignments are all available at once (or in batches) and students can work through them at their own pace. Conversation is less lecture and more clarification and putting knowledge into practice. The teacher is there to provide structure, feedback, and assistance.
More educators have begun favoring asynchronous teaching for online learning because this system saves time and administrative work while making it easier to individually tailor lessons.
WHY ASYNCHRONOUS TEACHING IS A GOOD FIT FOR E-LEARNING
In an environment that is predominantly virtual or centered around e-learning, asynchronous teaching presents several important benefits, especially when paired with an adaptive technology platform. Those benefits include:
Let’s face it: it’s hard enough to keep students interested in learning. No student wants to sit through a review of material they’ve already mastered. Asynchronous learning allows them to replay lessons they didn’t quite get but skip over material they know. Students can more easily be provided with adequately challenging material, avoiding the possibility that learners might grow bored with lessons that are too easy. This happens automatically with adaptive software, so teachers can spend more of their time focused on helping students.
Remediation is also less obvious, so students can ask for and get extra help without worrying about social stigmas.
MORE FLEXIBLE LEARNING
Additionally, students can adapt the learning to their home schedules within reason, allowing them to watch lectures when it’s quiet, when an adult is available to help, or to even share devices among siblings if necessary.
It’s hard to conduct a lively class discussion in a synchronous setting with a class composed only of one or two students. Likewise, it might be hard to manage a discussion with forty or sixty students in the room. But asynchronous classes are easy to scale up or down.
This means that educators do not have to drastically change lesson plans when student populations fluctuate. This can save teachers a monumental amount of time that can then be devoted back towards student development.
FLIPPED CLASSROOMS BECOME EASIER TO MANAGE
Adaptive learning technology helps keep the flipped classroom at just the right skill level to keep it challenging, but not overwhelming. For educators trying to implement this model, adaptive tech takes the guesswork and administrative work out of creating assignments.
Asynchronous learning also allows teachers to form smaller online groups. The larger group can work through videos and assignments while a subset of the class meets for one-on-one or small group instruction. This also makes it easier for educators to assess and keep track of students who are struggling, providing extra help where necessary. Learn more about A-List’s adaptive, asynchronous learning tools: contact us.