Synchronous vs. Asynchronous eLearning for Business Training Programs

If your company is redesigning a training program or building one from the ground up, you may not be sure what your next move should be. You have to decide what strategies you want to use and the tools you should implement to accomplish your goals. Fortunately, training an employee isn't much different from educating someone. For this reason, you can turn to various learning strategies that have been part of the education industry for years. Today we'll analyze synchronous and asynchronous eLearning approaches and which will work best for your company.


A synchronous teaching (or in your case, training) structure has both the educator and the student working together at the same time. For a business, this would mean that the trainer (often times an HR representative or a seasoned employee) would present the materials directly to their peers. You might share eLearning courseware videos then discuss the content. Employees can pose questions directly to the presenter and even complete additional activities. According to a study published in EDUCAUSE, synchronous learning models can be more psychologically engaging because students get immediate gratification. If they have a question, it can be answered right away.

Asynchronous learning allows employees to train at their desks.

This model of educating has the teacher and student work separately. Instead of a presenter showing training videos and answering questions, the videos themselves become the instructor. Employees can watch eLearning courseware content from their desks and work at their own pace. This model also frees up your employees to do other things. The study indicated that while the asynchronous model may cause learners to feel isolated, it helps them focus more on the course content and improves their ability to process information. If you place these outcomes on the top of your priority list, building your training program with the asynchronous structure could fit your company goals best.

Assessing the options

Both models of eLearning are conducive to the use of video training tools. The synchronous model allows you to train several employees at once and answer questions during the session. The asynchronous system supports content focus but lacks a one-on-one connection. Some companies opt to mix the two. Perhaps employees watch training videos on their own, but meet up during the week to talk to other new employees and a trainer to work through questions. When done with care, blending the two models can give employees the best of both learning options.

Videos used for eLearning are an important element for both teaching styles.

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