There is no doubt in the fact that online training cannot replicate traditional face-to-face training. But there is also no denying that online training has brought along some new advantages and prospects that we would not have otherwise explored.
Today, most organizations have shifted online to train their employees and even started delivering online courses on various subjects. Online training is not by any means less effective than traditional training. In fact, you can incorporate some elements of synchronous learning in your online courses, adjust them to fit the needs of your learners, and bring the best outcome out of your asynchronous online learning without compromising the learning experience.
This article discusses some tried and tested asynchronous learning tips and practices that eLearning course curators and mentors can adopt to ensure training efficiency. But first, let us understand the concept of asynchronous learning.
What Is Asynchronous Learning?
Asynchronous learning describes a setting where instruction and learning do not occur in the same location, i.e., the employees and the instructors sit in different places and interact online. Learning materials are usually uploaded in an online space before a lesson. Learners use independent or self-paced learning techniques by logging in and finishing assignments when they have time. The learner can select when to log in and do their work within the allocated time frame, but it does not mean that asynchronous learning lacks a pace or timetable. It has specific deadlines and start-end dates.
Since there is learning flexibility and 24×7 access to course material, it can occasionally take time to foster a sense of community and collaboration in asynchronous learning settings, especially online.
This article lists some practices to help you overcome this challenge and ensure a memorable asynchronous learning experience for all your learners.
Practices To Make The Best Of Asynchronous Learning
Supporting each other can reap fruitful outcomes. It will only take a little effort from both ends- the learners and the instructors, to use online learning in their favor. Here are six practices to keep in mind when providing training in an asynchronous environment.
It’s critical to establish concrete and specific expectations and learning goals in an asynchronous learning environment where motivation quickly tends to drop. The course material should spell out what is expected of learners, the skill sets they will acquire throughout the online training course, and the due dates they must meet so they don’t lose touch with the training while managing it with other things.
The following are some of the additional considerations:
- How much time should online learners allot to training each week?
- What are the tasks like, and when are the deadlines for these assignments?
- Where can learners find the course announcements, Q&As, and other updates?
- When can employees expect feedback on the tasks they’ve turned in?
- What tasks must be completed, and which ones are optional?
- How long does it take for queries and emails to be answered?
Make Small Lecture Segments
Long lectures are boring and make it difficult for learners to concentrate. They can become distracted and lose focus within minutes of a boring course.
Consider recording multiple brief micro-lectures of 2 to 6 minutes each as an alternative to long training sessions or videos of lectures. This practice is named microlearning. It works on the idea that one lengthy film is less likely to be viewed by learners than multiple short ones.
Delivered in smaller “chunks,” knowledge becomes simpler to organize and retain. Employees also find it simpler to look up and review a particular topic with which they struggle.
Set A Course Pace
With fewer or no established class schedules, time management might be complex for most individuals. Spreading out modest tasks or deadlines over weeks or modules, even for a single course project, helps balance the burden and enables corporate learners to pace themselves and plan for each week or module in advance. Asynchronous learning is more effective when there is a mutually suggested speed for employees to follow as they progress through the course.
Instructors must complete their online courses from beginning to end to gauge how long each activity might take and how to distribute it effectively. Your learning management system (LMS) may have settings or criteria that you can use to ensure that content is released gradually rather than all at once. This promotes attention and pace control.
Make Active Learning A Learning Culture
Retention of course material depends heavily on active learning. Assign grades for finishing the task. Create activities that demand employee engagement to promote active learning.
- Assignments: A learner will submit content based on what they have learned.
- Feedback: A series of survey-style questions developed by the mentor are asked.
- Quizzes: A set of close-ended questions are asked with or without a time frame.
- URLs: Learners can add to their knowledge using links to websites, YouTube videos, and other content created by various individuals.
- VoiceThread: Learners show their understanding of a concept by producing and posting an audio/visual presentation.
Make The Presence Of The Instructor Visible
Establishing instructor presence and active engagement with learners is crucial to asynchronous learning courses. Online interactions are less impromptu than those in person. Online learners who do not engage with their online instructors or colleagues daily may feel distant. This can be in the form of weekly introductions to new modules, weekly announcements, or time-to-time setups.
Give Meaningful Feedback
Learning and performance improvement depends on feedback, so ensure your employees receive feedback before the next task is due. This allows them time to take in the feedback and convert it into actions or lessons that may be used in future assignments.
Moreover, meaningful feedback fosters a strong rapport between the mentors and learners, which helps the learner feel validated, self-sufficient, and confident. The learner is reassured that someone on the other end of the computer is interested in their development and progress in the online training course when an instructor delivers timely and valuable feedback.
Given the physical distance that separates learners and instructors in asynchronous learning, creating a feeling of a community might seem overwhelming. However, the reality remains that asynchronous environments present unique opportunities for fostering community among employees. Online discussions are a fantastic tool to promote positive criticism and dialogue.
Using some of the practices discussed above, we can use what we have at hand in our favor and make sure every learner in the asynchronous setting drives some benefits from it.