The world of education is like any other specialized field. It has its own jargon and vernacular, shaped through decades of cross-referencing research by diverse thinkers.
The problem occurs when that jargon gets funnelled down to the average people who actually partake in the educational system (students and parents, in this case). How can you expect a student or guardian to make sense of the plethora of pedagogical terms floating around education?
Well, this article is here to help – at least with one term. Below, let’s explore a buzzy topic in modern education: asynchronous learning. What is it? How can it benefit students? And how can you tell if it’s right for you?
What Is Asynchronous Learning?
To understand asynchronous learning, perhaps it’s best to start by defining its opposite. Synchronous learning is the model most readers remember from growing up. A classroom full of students all learn at the same pace, in the same room, with their attention directed at shared source material. They “sync” their learning.
By contrast, asynchronous learning involves each student learning at an individual pace (“self-paced,” in other words). They have access to the same materials and instruction as their peers, but they aren’t necessarily confined to a single space. Students can learn on their laptops at home, at the library, on the road, etc. The concept is relatively new and most closely associated with online high schools.
The Benefits of Learning Without Conventional Constraints
Why are educational experts singing the praises of asynchronous learning? A few reasons come to mind.
First, asynchronous learning ensures that each student takes the time they need to fully absorb and retain the course material. Rather than competing with a classroom of peers, this individualized approach highlights the diverse spectrum of learners, accommodating various proficiencies and abilities. A student who’s confident in math but struggles with English can go quickly through the former course and more slowly in the latter.
Next, asynchronous learning removes barriers to access in education. Students can learn wherever they are and however they feel most comfortable. Families who routinely relocate for work, students with mobility issues, etc., may find asynchronous learning a stable alternative to in-class education.
Finally, a quality asynchronous online high school in Ontario will offer layers of support. If a student has trouble grasping certain units or concepts, they can reach out to their teacher (yes, there are still teachers in asynchronous learning environments!).
If students have questions during off-hours, a quality online school will offer access to 24/7 tutoring services. The goal of these support systems is to ensure that students have the best chance possible at academic success.
Is It Right for You?
Asynchronous learning isn’t a perfect fit for every student. Some students thrive under supervision, and feel motivated by a single classroom pace. Still, most students can benefit from individualizing the pace of their studies.
Ask yourself whether you’ve ever felt left behind by a classroom pace moving too quickly, or felt bored by a slow classroom pace. In these cases, a synchronous online high school might be right for you (or your young learner).