Synchronous vs. asynchronous learning: what's the difference

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by new learning technologies in our digital era. But they all have one thing in common; they support asynchronous learning. Wait, what is asynchronous learning? And how does it compare to synchronous learning? Discover how your clients can combine in-person training with online learning by understanding these concepts.

Synchronous vs. asynchronous learning
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Table of contents

  1. What is synchronous learning? 
  2. What is asynchronous learning? 
  3. What are the differences between synchronous and asynchronous learning?
  4. How does Easy LMS support both ways of learning?

What is synchronous learning? Definition explained

Synchronous learning refers to a learning event in which a group of participants is engaged in learning at the same time [1].

There is real interaction with other people.

To learn synchronously, your clients' participants should be in the same physical location, such as a classroom or online environment. This way, they can interact with the instructor and other participants.

For example, in a corporate training scenario, this type of learning occurs when there is in-person training or live webinars where the employees or customers can participate at the same time.

The benefits of synchronous learning

  • Interaction between participants.
  • Exchange of knowledge and experience between participants.
  • Real-time feedback for the instructor.
  • Training happens on a fixed schedule.

What is asynchronous learning? Definition explained

If synchronous learning occurs simultaneously, asynchronous learning refers to the opposite mode of learning. The instructor, the learner, and the other participants engage in the learning process independently from each other. There is no real-time interaction with other people.

An example of this method in corporate training is creating online content with pre-recorded videos or publishing an on-demand online exam.

The benefits of asynchronous learning

  • Participants can learn on their own time and schedule.
  • Less work for trainers and HR managers.
  • Automated tasks reduce repetitive work, such as giving online classes and grading exams. 
  • Employees and customers spend less time in a classroom or amphitheater during work hours [2]. 

What are the differences between synchronous and asynchronous learning?

Synchronous learning

Asynchronous learning

Traditional classroom

Recorded class

Instant messaging


Immediate feedback from instructor and peers

Sending a question and waiting for an answer

Phone call

Recorded voice message

In-person training

Online training courses (without live video)

Live webinar

Recorded webinar



Same time

Different times

How does Easy LMS support both ways of learning?

Create content in Easy LMS for synchronous and asynchronous learning scenarios. Our tool can also be used with in-person training for maximum impact.

Easy LMS and synchronous learning

It's possible to combine online courses with a web conferencing tool.

Combining online Courses with a web conferencing tool is possible if you want to conduct online live classes. Another option is to set up a discussion forum where your clients' participants can interact with each other while they take the same Course. If you are going for a blended approach, share a survey or a quiz with participants while giving a talk or in-person training. This method allows you to collect real-time feedback from your audience. The survey can be shared via email, link, or even a QR code that can be easily captured with a smartphone camera.

Easy LMS and asynchronous learning

You can create beautiful courses and tests with pre-recorded videos, webinar recordings, and audio files for your clients. They can share the material with their participants so that they can learn in their own time. Your clients don’t have to be online when their learners are, freeing up their time to focus on other tasks! Easy LMS lets them create content one time and make it available for a lifetime!

Combine in-person and online training

Both synchronous and asynchronous online training can be combined with in-person learning. There are many modes of doing this; for example [3]:

Online pre-training: Your clients can easily bring their learners up to speed with pre-training. Use Easy LMS to create online Courses that can be accessed anywhere, anytime. This allows participants to learn on demand. The flexibility will likely lead to higher completion and even more satisfied clients! Ready to take your training to the next level? Keep all your client material under one roof and organize participants into groups with our Academy feature. Juggling lots of customers at once? Create multiple academies, one for each customer. Each online portal can be customized to match your customer’s branding and you can even set different languages, login, and course invitation methods per academy! 

Reinforcement and practice: Once in-person training has been completed, it’s time to reinforce! Easy LMS lets you create Courses and Exams for your clients and then distribute the material among different groups. Help your clients' learners feel extra proud with the option to generate a certificate in just a few clicks.

Useful resources

  1. eLearners
  2. Educause
  3. eLearning Industry

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is synchronous learning?
    Synchronous learning is learning that happens at the same time for the instructor and the learners, meaning that there’s real-time interaction between them. It can happen on- or offline. 
  • What is asynchronous learning?
    Asynchronous learning is learning that doesn’t necessarily happen at the same time for the instructor and the learners. There’s no real-time interaction; the content is created and made available for consumption later on.
  • What are the main differences?
    Synchronous = happens at the same time. Asynchronous = doesn’t happen at the same time. With synchronous learning, participants can receive immediate feedback. With asynchronous learning, the participants can learn at their own pace.

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