Synchronous Learning Advantages And Disadvantages In Corporate Training
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Advantages And Disadvantages Of Synchronous Learning In Corporate Training

Synchronous Learning has changed everything in the corporate online training environment. Synchronous interaction eliminates the isolation that asynchronous online training involves, as it promotes collaboration and fosters a sense of community. Especially in the corporate world, where effective team work among distributed workforce is considered of especially high value, synchronous learning can help eLearning professionals develop significantly engaging online training courses. But are there any hidden drawbacks to this practice? In this article, I'll share 10 advantages and disadvantages of synchronous learning in order to help you decide whether you should implement it and integrate it into your corporate online training strategy.

5 Synchronous Learning Advantages

  1. It is cost effective.
    You do want the best for your employees, don’t you? Imagine having the chance to provide them with knowledge from the best experts from around the world for their training, without paying the accommodation and travel expenses that traditional corporate training involves. Your employees can take their online training courses at home or at their offices while connecting not only with the most reputable trainers, but also with their colleagues who live in different cities or even different countries without having to move. The only costs you need to have in mind are those related to the development of the eLearning course, as well as the trainer fees.
  2. It is convenient.
    Taking an online training course without having to be in the same location with the rest of your peers, regardless of their position on the world map, provides a great level of flexibility, especially for large organizations that have a globally distributed workforce. Apart from videoconferencing, your employees are given the opportunity to participate in online discussions from any location, as long as they have an internet connection. As physical barriers of distance are eliminated, your staff may use any device for their online training, from desktop computers to mobile phones and tablets.
  3. Provides immediate feedback.
    Real-time interaction means instant feedback, and instant feedback allows not only your employees to immediately get their questions answered, but also trainers and instructors to immediately recognize difficulties in understanding of the online course material. Rapid feedback has an incredibly important role in eLearning; it enhances knowledge retention by keeping your audience active in the learning process, as a quick response allows your audience to learn from their mistakes and to eliminate the chances of repeating them in the future.
  4. It is highly motivating.
    A synchronous learning environment enhances learning by increasing your corporate audience's motivation levels, as real-time interactions are much more engaging than the isolated environment of asynchronous learning. Using performance goals in real-time activities is a great way to inspire your employees to demonstrate and develop their skills and abilities while competing with each other in engaging team player eLearning games. Real-time activities provide ongoing motivation, as they encourage participation from all employees, even the most reticent ones.
  5. Fosters a sense of community.
    Social interaction and collaboration are the essence of synchronous learning, as your employees have the ability to communicate not only with their trainers and instructors, but also with each other, no matter where they are located. Organizing a series of online group activities encourages team work and cooperation, as online discussions allow your audience to develop their learning community in online forums or in social networks and exchange ideas, questions, and concerns about the eLearning course material.

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5 Synchronous Learning Disadvantages

  1. It is strictly technology-based.
    This goes, of course, for online learning in general; however, the truth is there are several large organizations, the employees of which may still lack sufficient computer skills in order to get their training online. This means that these people might struggle to engage in a synchronous online training program. Lack of technical knowledge, poor computer skills, and inability to handle the various technologies involved in synchronous learning may tremendously frustrate and discourage online learners, so high dropout rates might be expected.
  2. Demands a high speed internet connection.
    It is true that synchronous learning requires a good bandwidth, and this could be an issue when online training for distributed workforce is involved. Trying to synchronize several different areas in the world via collaborative learning technologies can be challenging, but different bandwidth capabilities may create serious problems.
  3. Local time barriers.
    Synchronous learning eliminates barriers of distance, but what about barriers of time? Different time zones can create communication challenges, as a synchronous learning course requires from both employees and trainers to be online at the same time. Distributed workforce has conflicting work schedules, and sometimes not even technology is able to facilitate real-time interactions.
  4. Requires careful planning.
    Speaking of conflicting schedules, as a consequence of the above disadvantage comes the challenging planning process that synchronous learning requires. Coordination of schedules is absolutely necessary, but sometimes not possible. To ensure full participation to an asynchronous learning course you need to carefully plan your online meetings; however, different time zones can lead to very limited time frames, which naturally weaken both the training group’s identity and the virtual community’s interpersonal bonds.
  5. It is challenging for employees with poor social skills.
    Studying at one’s own pace creates a sense of isolation, but some of your employees might crave this exact sense. A synchronous learning experience demands active participation and collaboration, and some members of your workforce might not be as social, as open, or as communicative. This is not a wrong thing by default; after all, you don’t need all of your employees to have strong communication skills, only the ones that are expected to work closely with others or to connect with customers. However, in a synchronous learning environment the “quieter” employees may find it challenging to participate in online discussions or online group activities, and learner frustration is never welcome in a successful online training program.

Now that you know all the advantages and disadvantages of synchronous learning, you may be interested in knowing more about how you can implement it in combination with asynchronous learning techniques and instructor-led classes. Read the article Tips To Use Blended Learning In Corporate Training and learn about the various blended learning models and how to utilize them in your next blended learning course.

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