Before discussing this topic, I never divided learning into synchronous and asynchronous. If I have to think about a division, it is the presence and online teaching. Because the online and physical spaces required different skills from me. Thus, during my first thoughts, I was struck by Covid-19, which brought about asynchronous teaching. The group’s discussion confirmed that I would encounter online teaching again. Asynchronous learning has always been with us, or at least since printing. Even though I thought I wasn’t using it, I was wrong when I took a closer look. It is asynchronous learning when I assign students to study from textbooks, read an article or analyse a legal case. Thus, from my point of view, asynchronous learning was used only as a preparation for synchronous learning.
However, Covid partially changed this setting. It was necessary to enable all students to attend classes. Synchronous teaching through online platforms has become the primary way of replacing face-to-face teaching, but not the only one. There was a recording of lectures, independent preparation of exercises or even assessments. During our discussion, we concluded that some universities had up to 70% asynchronous classes. This number decreased significantly after the restrictions were removed but has not returned to the original ratio. Asynchronous teaching methods’ main feature is allowing students to study anywhere, wherever they want and when they can. This makes the studies much more accessible than synchronous ones. However, this kind of learning also introduces other benefits. The teacher introduces the educational content in various forms, such as text, slides, images, and videos. In contrast to the classroom, students receive immediate feedback about their performance in each activity. The teacher can access the student’s answers and monitor their progress more precisely because they can access all exercises later. The teacher has not enough time for this in synchronous teaching.
The longer we discussed this question, the more clearly two primary benefits of both systems stood out to me: socialisation in synchronous learning and consideration of the student’s particular needs in asynchronous learning. Asynchronous learning enables students to adapt to their life situations. If they work, have a family, or have to take care of family members, it allows them to organise their time better. However, it also considers the different ways in which students receive knowledge. The student can listen to the lectures multiple times or stop and look for more information. They can then complete the exercises quickly and at a time that suits them. All this guarantees that more students can succeed in their studies. On the other hand, there is a question of socialisation here. Platon already teaches all students by discussing with them during walks. He didn’t just let them read his texts. And this is mainly due to the development of their oral expression and the ability to respond to others’ arguments. Based on the opportunity to directly interact with the teacher and classmates, the students develop their knowledge, confirm or refute new concepts and learn to present their opinions. These skills are much less developed in asynchronous learning. On the contrary, according to the study, asynchronous learning can even paralyse some students in the field of communication. With a rapid increase in new messages, tasks and presentations, they are quickly overwhelmed. If they are not properly organised, it paralyses them, and they stop completing all assignments. This is precisely why I believe finding a balance is necessary. And progress in AI shows us how much we can combine both methods in this field to benefit the students when using new tools. The most important thing I got from this topic was inspiration. Inspiration on how to stop using asynchronous learning only for studying and analysing hundreds of pages of text. On the contrary, how to upgrade this preparation for students using Kahoot, ChatGPT and other tools. This topic became the most inspiring of the entire course for me. I started thinking about changing the approach and making asynchronous learning more interesting for students. And not only that. Students don’t come into contact with AI devices often, so their ability to use them correctly is limited. My correct use within my course will also show them how to use these tools correctly in their work.
- Mougiakou, S. Papadimitriou and M. Virvou, “Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning Methods under the light of General Data Protection Regulation,” 2020 11th International Conference on Information, Intelligence, Systems and Applications (IISA, Piraeus, Greece, 2020, pp. 1-7, doi: 10.1109/IISA50023.2020.9284341.
- Wegerif, The Social Dimension of Asynchronous Learning Networks, JALN Volume 2 (1), 1998.
- Basri, B. Husain, W. Modayama, University Students’ Perceptions in Implementing Asynchronous Learning During Covid-19 Era, Metathesis, Vol. 4 (3), 2020, pp. 263-276, DOI: 10.31002/metathesis.v4i3.2734.
- Scheiderer, What’s the Difference Between Asynchronous and Synchronous Learning?, The Ohio State University, 2022, https://online.osu.edu/resources/learn/whats-difference-between-asynchronous-and-synchronous-learning.