Asynchronous

Some people in charge of training are afraid of the idea of asynchronous online training. Asynchronous means that every one in the class is participating as their schedule permits. Each person can sign on, read, think, comment – in a carefully considered way – when they have the time. Asynchronous classes have deadlines, of course, but participants can work within that time frame according to their own schedules.

There are several reasons trainers fear asynchronous learning, the biggest of which is loss of control by the trainers over the learning process. Somehow if learners are responsible to come online to do their work on their schedules, trainers are worried that quality will be lost, or that the learners will cheat and someone else will do their work, or that the learners will not be putting in their best efforts on the work.

I wonder if these trainers ever sat in a traditional classroom. Simply because a warm body is in a chair does not mean that the mind is engaged; when students leave someone else indeed could do the work, and students may not do their best.

When people sign up for asynchronous learning, they have the benefit of being able to advance themselves through training that might not be available to them due to the pressures of family life, or due to heath or economic issues that otherwise constrain them. Asynchronous learning is the most democratic option out there.

Those who fear asynchronous learning are at risk of becoming training dinosaurs. Today, all traditional college students are using asynchronous learning management systems as supplements to their onground, traditional classes. It is a small step for them to use LMS tools for continuing education. Likewise, some of the largest online universities use an ansychronous model for all of their classes.

The result of asynchronous learning is that students have time to think as they participate. Class participation results in a dynamic mix of discussion with diverse perspectives that participants are willing to commit to writing!

In a traditional classroom setting, ask learners to commit their comments to writing and see what they say.

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