Strengths of Asynchronous Learning

Asynchronous learning's greatest benefit to students is the freedom it gives them to access the course and its instructional materials at any time they choose and from any location with an Internet connection. This allows for accessibility for diverse student populations, ranging from traditional, on-campus students, to working professionals, to international students in foreign countries.

Asynchronous learning environments provide a “high degree of interactivity” between participants who are separated both geographically and temporally and afford students many of the social benefits of face-to-face interaction. Since students can express their thoughts without interruption, they have more time to reflect on and respond to class materials and their classmates than in a traditional classroom.

Research shows that the time required to initially design an asynchronous course is comparable to that of a traditional synchronous course. However, most asynchronous courses have the potential to reach far more students than a traditional course and course-wide updates or modifications can be disseminated far more quickly and efficiently than traditional lecture models.

Schifter notes that a perceived additional workload is a significant barrier to faculty participation in distance education and asynchronous learning, but that perception can be mitigated through training and experience with teaching in these environments.

Another advantage of asynchronous learning (and, as technology develops, many synchronous learning environments) is that there is a record of nearly everything that occurs in that environment. All materials, correspondence, and interactions can be electronically archived. Participants can go back and review course materials, lectures, and presentations, as well as correspondence between participants. This information is generally available at any time to course participants.