Over the last couple of years, all of us have had to make a shift online. The pandemic and technology have taken over all of us, be it a transition in business transactions or moving meetings online. But the brighter side of this event was that we could identify how to use technology in beneficial ways.
Another significant aspect of the digital shift was the introduction of online synchronous learning. While it comes with its own challenges, eLearning has become a preferred method of learning and instruction in many settings. Corporations have also found online platforms to be a better way of training and onboarding employees. It adds to their convenience and even aids learning methods to make them more effective.
However, often the challenges of using online synchronous learning hinder the efficiency of training. But some ways can help us ensure that our eLearning or hybrid course fulfills the goals it seeks to achieve, be it an improvement in employee performance or the addition of a skillset.
In this article, we will learn some tips you can apply to your online synchronous sessions and list a few benefits.
What is Synchronous Learning?
Synchronous learning is a type of learning system that takes place simultaneously. It means that the instructing and learning are happening together, though they might be in different locations, as in the case of online training sessions. It uses digital tools like video conferencing, online discussions, presentations, etc.
The core of synchronous learning is that the learning happens in real-time with online instructors and learners present together. Therefore, it is a virtual translation of a traditional classroom with technological aids.
Benefits Of Synchronous Learning
Because synchronous learning lets you get the best of both worlds– traditional lessons and the convenience of technology, it brings many benefits to both learners and instructors.
These benefits of synchronous learning should become the reason for further adopting this type of learning. But it should only be done with effective techniques and optimized usage to utilize its maximum potential.
One might be deceived into believing that everything online or through software is impersonal and robotic. But that is not true. Your instructors can still provide the personalized attention that promotes learner success through synchronous methods without incurring the costs of in-person training like travel, lodging, conference rooms, etc.
All you need is a virtual classroom tool, and the instructors can present the course material as they interact with learners in real time. You can even conduct activities you usually do in person—for example, group discussions or group presentations.
Collaborative And Interactive
Working together while learning is the best aspect of in-person instruction, and synchronous learning retains that essence.
We must emphasize cooperation and involvement through group learning and work because these invaluable elements impact learning.
Synchronous learning uses collaborative technologies like breakout rooms, whiteboards, screen sharing, etc., that promote practice and conversation and make the online learning experience more engaging.
With synchronous learning, it is easier for learners to ask questions and get immediate responses.
If they need help understanding something during a session, they get it resolved immediately instead of noting it down for later. Thus, the learning process moves more quickly.
Additionally, instructors can give feedback to every individual, who can use it to improve performance.
Better Learning Outcomes
The space provided by synchronous eLearning for instructors to connect with learners improves the overall success rate of the session. The ultimate goals are met.
Instructors also receive instant information about attendance, performance, and assessment. This information enables them to give a more effective and individualized instructional strategy to enhance learner outcomes.
Tips For Offering Synchronous Learning
Here are some general tips you can keep in mind to make your synchronous sessions more interactive and effective:
Start With A Check-In Before Every Session
Check-ins are a great way to begin the session with a friendly and interactive tone. It helps the instructor get an idea of the group’s mood and how it can be directed to improve learning.
It also tells the learners that they are heard and cared about, which draws them to learn. You can find creative or humorous check-ins to throw a sprinkle of energy before the learning begins.
Keep The Learners Prepared Beforehand
Everyone should know what to expect before coming to the training.
Ensure your online learners know what they must prepare for beforehand. For example, they should check they have a stable internet connection that allows them to take the session smoothly and that their account in the video conferencing platform is working without any problems. If you need them to read something before coming, let them know.
It allows them to take ownership of everything they are learning and be more active in the learning process.
Give Time For Individual Reflection
If you give a new piece of information or introduce a new concept, give your learners time to register the information, process it, and ask questions after reflection.
There are a lot of distractions when one is not around people learning the same thing. Therefore, you need to be patient.
Give them time to work on a task, but let them respond after adequately understanding what they are meant to learn.
Use Your Synchronous Toolbox
Your synchronous toolbox contains all the necessary equipment to make your sessions interactive. It includes whiteboards, chats, breakout rooms, polls, etc.
Such tools ensure group engagement and keep the learners excited and motivated. But it would help if you did not overuse them either.
Know which one to use in what situation and in what ways. For example, you can choose what topics you want to cover through presentations and what topics you want to explain using a whiteboard or even through activities.
Use Documents For Collaborative Work
Use tools like Google Docs and Sheets where multiple people can add content simultaneously to promote collaboration. You can assign group projects and assignments to reduce the load on one person, encourage teamwork and provide access to tools they can utilize.
Synchronous learning provides terrific opportunities for learning if explored correctly. Instructors and learners can both benefit from such a setup. Use these tips in your sessions and watch how learning happens effortlessly to show visible outcomes in learners’ performance.