What does synchronous mean? The rapid development of informational technology forces people to adapt to the change. Online learning, often known as e-learning, profoundly alters how individuals acquire knowledge. The traditional classroom lessons are taking a back seat, while virtual classrooms dominate the center space.

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There are many ways in which one can use online learning every day. Whether trying to learn new recipes online or providing training to the employees of a large organization, online learning can allow learners to apply the knowledge they are learning to real-world experiences immediately. It helps them retain the information better. Various categories of e-learning provide learners an opportunity to upgrade their skills. The two basic types are:

  1. Synchronous learning
  2. Asynchronous learning

Synchronous learning is a model of e-learning that provides learners with an interactive learning platform where they can interact with skilled and well-trained instructors online in real-time. But how can one use synchronous learning?  In this blog, we will speak a little about what the term means and explain why we think it is essential to know about this new-age learning method and its implications.

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What does synchronous mean?

The word “synchronous” literally suggests at the same time. Synchronous learning is an e-learning method that allows learners to connect and learn the same thing at the same time. In synchronous learning, learners and instructors are engaged in course content at the same time using online platforms. Hence, it needs both of them to present at the same time. This engagement allows for easy give-and-take discussion and a learning environment that can be highly social and interactive. Synchronous learning provides learners instant feedback that helps them evaluate their growth. The feedbacks offered by their fellow online learners and the instructors bring greater quality to the overall learning experience.

Examples of synchronous learning

Synchronous learning provides learners an environment like a traditional classroom, but over the net. Learners can attend synchronous classes from anywhere. A few examples of online synchronous learning are as follows:

  1. Virtual Classroom (Google Classroom)
  2. Online Degree programs
  3. Audio and Video Conferencing (Zoom, Google meet, Microsoft team, Skype)
  4. Instant Chat (WhatsApp, Telegram)
  5. Virtual instructor-led training (VILT), e.g., WebEx or webinars

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The implication of synchronous learning

Using the tools mentioned above, instructors can use synchronous learning:

  1. While instructing a large number of distant learners.
  2. To transform workforce training, allowing the employees to upskill on their job.
  3. To provide training to employees from foreign countries.
  4. In projects that require group work or collaboration.
  5. To encourage community building and class interaction.
  6. To provide guided practice and application.
  7. To have learners complete hands-on activities.
  8. When teaching material necessitates instant feedback or clarification to keep learners on track.

Advantages of synchronous learning

Synchronous learning has the following advantages:

  1. Efficiency: Online synchronous learning enables instructors to use different tools such as online videos, PDFs, and podcasts. Instructors can use these tools as part of their lessons. It makes the learning process more productive.
  2. Consistency: Lessons are taught consistently by skilled instructors using formal training. It makes sure that every learner receives the same quantity of knowledge.
  3. Cost-effective: With no transportation costs, the synchronous learning mode is more cost-effective than traditional teachings. The ability to train a big group of people at a lower price with a faster possible speed of delivery is one of the most beneficial aspects of synchronous learning.
  4. Instant feedback: Synchronous learning provides learners with instant feedback that helps them evaluate their growth and motivates them. The feedbacks offered by their fellow online learners and the instructors bring greater quality to the overall learning experience.
  5. Avoids Commuting: The classes are available from any place, so the learners don’t have to travel between locations to learn.
  6. Eco-friendly: Due to less printing and travel by learners, synchronous learning has a minor environmental impact. In synchronous learning, everything is digital. Pen and paper are not necessary. Electronic devices note everything for the learners. The learner does not have to go to the institution, so transportation is also unnecessary. It shows that synchronous learning follows a greener approach.
  7. Connects distant learners: The use of online learning techniques makes it feasible to communicate with learners who are located all over the world. Any learner around the globe can participate in the same learning environment.
  8. Highly motivating: Synchronous learning environments improve learning by raising the motivation levels of the learners, as real-time interactions are much more engaging to hold the learners’ attention than the isolated environment of asynchronous learning.
  9. Alternative workforce training: Synchronous learning transforms workforce training. It lets the employees upskill in their jobs at a faster rate and creates significant opportunities for economic mobility. As a result, there is a shift in the organization’s total productivity rate.
  10. Builds collaboration: Synchronous learning is highly collaborative in nature. It creates an opportunity of engaging learners with their fellow learners and enhances the quality of the entire process.

Disadvantages of synchronous learning

Nevertheless, synchronous delivery can have some downsides as well.

  1. Synchronous learning does not consider that not all learners can commit to a set learning plan. Here comes the need for a different type of learner-friendly learning environment where learners can flourish their learning.
  2. The nature of synchronous learning is inflexible. It requires both the instructors and the learners to adhere to a set schedule, which occasionally proves to be impossible. As a result, the learners felt demotivated since they lacked the stamina to keep up with the course’s pace.
  3. It is strictly technology-based. Online learners may become very frustrated and discouraged due to a lack of technical knowledge, poor computer skills, and an inability to manage the many technologies used in synchronous learning; hence organizations may anticipate significant dropout rates.
  4. It demands a high-speed internet connection for all learners at the same time. Online training for a remote workforce may have problems since synchronous learning consumes a lot of bandwidth. Using collaborative learning technology to synchronize various parts of the world can be difficult and lead to major issues.
  5. It could be more challenging to comply with AODA (accessibility) regulations, such as providing captioning for a live presentation.
  6. Synchronous learning eliminates barriers of distance, but not the barriers to time. Due to the requirement that both participants and instructors be online at the same time during a synchronous learning course, different time zones might make communication difficult.
  7. Due to the abovementioned issues, synchronous learning necessitates a difficult preparation process. Schedule coordination is vital but occasionally impossible. One must carefully organize the online sessions to ensure complete participation in a synchronous learning course.
  8. Employees with inadequate social skills find it difficult. Some employees may not be as social, open, or communicative as others, yet synchronous learning experiences require active engagement and collaboration. But learners who find it uncomfortable to participate in online interactions or debates, and don’t like to socialize, can be uncomfortable with synchronous learning.
  9. Synchronous learning is instructor-led online learning. Its focus remains on what and how the instructor delivers the lessons. Therefore, it shifts the focus from the learners’ objectives. Also, the entire learning process relies upon the instructors’ ability and skill.

Tips to keep learners involved in a synchronous learning environment

  1. Allow learners time to acquire new tools in low-stakes activities. Giving them time to explore will build their confidence with the device and help them in future projects.
  2. Let learners choose from various mediums when presenting their understanding. To keep the learners interested, use movement exercises.
  3. To get learners to participate in live classes, begin with a warm-up activity. Assign group tasks that require them to collaborate. Use online breakout rooms, collaborative whiteboards, and embedding games to allow learners to connect.
  4. Break things up with creative exercises and activities. More than 45 minutes of screen time in one sitting can be hard on the eyes and mind. Let the learners take screen-free breaks to reset the mind and the body.


What does synchronous mean

What does synchronous mean


After the discussions above, it is impossible to completely disregard the significance of synchronous learning in the modern world. Employers and learners from all around the globe are already benefiting from synchronous learning in their day-to-day activities. From learning new abilities to relearning old skills using new training methods, synchronous learning can be very beneficial.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does synchronous mean?

Synchronous learning is a model of e-learning that provides learners with an interactive learning platform where they can interact with skilled and well-trained instructors online in real-time.

What is the difference between online synchronous and asynchronous?

Online synchronous learning allows learners to have a live interactive session with their facilitator while there are no instructors in the asynchronous learning methods. Therefore, asynchronous learning allows for schedule flexibility, which synchronous online education does not provide.

Is a zoom meeting synchronous or asynchronous?

Zoom meeting is a form of synchronous learning method as it happens in real-time. It brings the instructors and the learners together on an online platform.

Is live chat synchronous?

Any form of live chatting is synchronous as there is a form of interaction between people in real-time.

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