Learning & Development

What Is Asynchronous Training?

One of the biggest mistakes companies make when it comes to their training programs is taking a one-size-fits-all approach. All new hires are required to attend the same training, often in the same sessions, on the same schedule, and using the same materials, etc. The problem with this approach is that not all people learn the same way or at the same speed. To be fair, corporate trainers don’t deserve all the blame here. The public education system has traditionally taken a very similar approach throughout much of its history.

What Is Asynchronous Learning?

With an appreciation not just for different learning styles but also for students’ busy schedules, many training professionals are increasingly turning to asynchronous learning to help personalize instruction and accommodate students.

So, what exactly is asynchronous learning? The answer lies in the word “asynchronous.” The word “synchronous” means “happening, existing, or arising at precisely the same time.” But when we put the prefix “a” in front, we then get the opposite of synchronous. Asynchronous training does not happen, exist, or arise at the same time. More precisely, asynchronous training means not all students are required to absorb material at precisely the same time.

What Does Asynchronous Learning Look Like?

Asynchronous learning might involve having all training lectures or assignments online for students to complete on their own schedule by a certain deadline. If some students focus better at night, they have the flexibility to schedule their learning based on that internal clock.

Trainers who fear that everyone learning on his or her own eliminates the ability for group discussion and learning needn’t worry. As the Corporate Learning Network notes, “Asynchronous online training is the perfect solution when trainers and learners cannot physically be in the same place or find a convenient schedule. However, the biggest misconception is that online training exists in a binary setting: either asynchronous or synchronous.” That’s not the case!

Finding the Right Balance

In reality, training can take a variety of forms. In fact, that variety and the flexibility to choose what works best can boost the odds that employees will not only complete but also better understand their assigned training tasks.

Training has historically been fairly rigid and has customarily taken a one-size-fits-all approach, including timing and scheduling, but an appreciation for the maturity and responsibility of students and the realities of remote work and training have increased interest in asynchronous training as a way for trainees to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule.

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