The learning space has undergone a paradigm shift with the introduction of technology-enabled learning. A friend of mine, a professor at a university was telling me about how much her students appreciated the mobile learning course that was recently rolled out. They loved the short bursts of learning provided through engaging videos. The m-learning course actually helped reinforce the concepts taught in the classroom. The corporate training scenario is quite similar.
Employees in many organizations enjoy the flexibility of learning at their own pace with online training programs. Ideally, training programs are more effective when they are a blend of synchronous (timed, real-time) as well as asynchronous (anytime, anywhere) learning. A few examples of training formats for online synchronous and asynchronous learning are lndering if an asynchronous learning environment can benefit your organization, the answer is YES it can, and here’s how Asynchronous learning:
|Synchronous Learning Formats||
Asynchronous Learning Formats
|Live classroom training, virtual instructor-led training, video-conferencing, webinars||E-learning courses, job-aids, microlearning modules, podcasts, videos, eBooks, blogs|
Enables Learning On-the-Go
The traditional learning model where learners learn at a scheduled time and place is no longer applicable to modern learners. Learners do not want to sit through long sessions of synchronous instructional-led training. Though it’s nice to have a structured learning process, there are times when you wish for some flexibility.
Busy schedules often leave little time for training. Many organizations have found that combining synchronous and asynchronous training in the form of blended learning programs works well as a training methodology. Let’s consider the example of a leadership training program that involves some amount of face-to-face training along with asynchronous learning. Learners can complete the asynchronous training program during their commute or fit it into their work schedule. Asynchronous learning offers learners the option to learn on-the-go.
Ends the Sheep Dip Approach
Many organizations are guilty of following a sheep dip approach to training as it’s easy to create and administer. This is a standardized training method where the training approach is the same all the time, there are no changes to it and some parts of the training may not be relevant to the learners.
Consider a new hire training program for employees in an organization that is into pharmaceutical research. There are new hires in every department such as Finance, IT, Sales, and Drug Research. While an overview on each department is fine, going into the details of the Finance department is not very useful to new hires joining other departments. If your new hire training program is entirely classroom-based, there is very little you can do about this. But with an asynchronous learning program, you can breathe new life into the new hire onboarding program. In-depth information on each department can be rolled out as asynchronous training programs through e-learning courses that can be taken by new hires according to the department that they are hired into. This is a good strategy to offer personalized training programs to learners. The learner can choose his/her learning path, depending on the department they are hired for.
Offers Learning On-Demand
Just like watching movies on-demand or listening to music on-demand, asynchronous training programs support learning on-demand. Training is no longer bound by the geographical barriers of time and place. For example, sales reps who are constantly on the move do not have the time to spend long hours in a classroom training program. But that is not a constraint for delivering asynchronous training. If they need to look up product information before going for a sales pitch, they can access online training programs that cover that information. Asynchronous learning in the form of microlearning modules can help them in their moment-of-need by providing just-in-time training.
Makes Training Programs Learner-Centric
In a learner-centric training program, the learner is free to choose when, where, and how to learn. In asynchronous learning, the learner controls the pace of learning and also has a choice to decide the time and device to access the training. When learners have control over their learning experience, it increases their motivation levels. Not just that, asynchronous training programs can be created to cater to different learning styles. For example, a visual learner might prefer a video, while an auditory learner might like listening to the same information in the form of a podcast or audio clip.
Asynchronous training programs can also address the problems faced in training people with disabilities. For example, hearing-impaired learners might need a training program that is high on visual content and also be provided with onscreen text and audio text that explains the course content.
Asynchronous learning offers clear benefits as it is ideal for large groups and tight training schedules. Most importantly, it makes the learners responsible for their own learning.