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5 Proven Online Tools that Support Asynchronous Learning

Asynchronous learning programs differ from traditional instructor-led training programs and other synchronized learning programs, in the way the learner interacts with the content. In asynchronous learning, the learner leverages technology to interact directly with the content, in the absence of a facilitator. If you have made the smart decision to include asynchronous learning in your online training program, it’s time to get an insight into the tools you can use to support effective asynchronous learning.

5 Proven Online Tools that Support Asynchronous Learning

Asynchronous learning tools are essential for providing flexibility in online training. These tools allow learners to access content, participate in discussions, and complete assignments at their own pace. Here are 5 online tools that support asynchronous learning -

1. Learning Management Systems

A Learning Management System (LMS) is a robust online platform that facilitates the management, delivery, and tracking of educational content and training materials. LMSs are widely used in both academic and corporate settings to support asynchronous learning. Here are some key features and benefits of an LMS:

  • Content Management: LMSs allow instructors and trainers to create, organize, and deliver a variety of learning materials, such as text documents, videos, quizzes, and assessments.
  • User Management: LMSs provide tools for user enrollment, user access control, and user tracking, making it easy to manage a large number of learners.
  • Discussion Forums: Many LMSs include discussion forums or chat features that enable asynchronous communication among learners and instructors.
  • Assessment and Progress Tracking: LMSs often come with built-in assessment tools, including quizzes and assignments, and provide analytics to track learners' progress and performance.
  • Scalability: LMSs can scale to accommodate the needs of small groups or large organizations, making them suitable for various training contexts.

Popular Learning Management Systems

2. Video Hosting and Streaming Platforms

Video hosting and streaming platforms play a crucial role in asynchronous learning by providing a means to deliver video content to learners. These platforms offer a place to upload and store videos securely. Users can organize their video libraries, making it easy to access and share content. Video-based learning content is streamed over the internet, allowing learners to access it without having to download large files. This feature is especially important for users with limited storage space or slower internet connections.

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Many video hosting and streaming platforms support closed captioning and provide options for video quality, making content more accessible to a wider audience. These platforms often offer analytics that allows instructors and content creators to track video engagement, view duration, and other metrics to assess the effectiveness of their content. Some platforms enable interactive features, such as quizzes or annotations within videos, enhancing the learning experience.

3. Discussion and Collaboration Platforms

Discussion and collaboration platforms are essential for facilitating communication and interaction among learners and instructors in asynchronous learning environments. These platforms offer tools for creating discussion threads, forums, and chat rooms where learners can engage in conversations on course topics. Users can upload and share documents, images, and other files, making it easy to collaborate and exchange materials.

Depending on the platform, users can engage in real-time chat or participate in discussions at their own pace, enhancing flexibility. Many of these platforms integrate with other tools like project management software, calendars, and document-sharing services. Popular discussion and collaboration platforms include Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Workspace (formerly G Suite). These platforms foster collaboration and communication, which are critical components of asynchronous learning, allowing learners to connect and exchange ideas on their own schedules.

4. Project Management Tools

Project management tools are primarily designed for managing projects, but they can also be useful for organizing and tracking training initiatives in asynchronous learning environments. These tools allow users to create and manage tasks, assignments, and deadlines, making it easier to organize and track learning activities. Project management tools often provide features for team collaboration, discussion, and document sharing, which are valuable for group projects and asynchronous teamwork.

Some tools include Gantt chart features, enabling users to create visual timelines for projects and learning plans. Popular project management tools include Trello, Asana, and Jira. While they are not training-specific, they can be adapted for training purposes, helping learners and instructors manage assignments, projects, and course schedules effectively in an asynchronous learning setting.

5. eLearning Authoring Tools

eLearning authoring tools are software applications that allow content creators to design and develop interactive eLearning materials. These tools are essential for building engaging and effective asynchronous learning resources. eLearning authoring tools offer a variety of features for creating content, including text, images, videos, quizzes, simulations, and more. These tools enable the incorporation of interactive elements such as quizzes, assessments, and branching scenarios, enhancing learner engagement.

Authoring tools often produce content that can be easily integrated into LMSs and other eLearning platforms, making content distribution seamless. Many authoring tools provide data on learner progress, allowing content creators to assess the effectiveness of their materials. These tools empower trainers and instructional designers to create engaging and interactive content for asynchronous learning.

Popular eLearning Authoring Tools

Parting Thoughts!

These tools offer a wide range of features, from content creation and distribution to collaboration and communication. L&D pros and trainers can choose the ones that best fit their needs and the specific requirements of their asynchronous learning programs. Here’s a checklist to help you design an online training program and support your asynchronous learning narratives.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Online Training — How to Develop Effective Programs [Checklist]