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What is Synchronous Learning? How Important Is It?

The age of eLearning has created these new channels or forms of learning commonly known as synchronous and asynchronous learning. And given that most schools are having to go online in 2020, understanding their definition, importance and benefits are necessary. Synchronous and asynchronous learning are two sides of the same coin. Discussing the nuances of one will give you a fair idea of the other. So, in this post, we tackle synchronous learning and elaborate on its importance. For in the top schools in Sonepat, synchronous receives a higher priority than asynchronous unless the need for a switch arises under special conditions.

What is synchronous learning?

The term synchronous is synonymous with “together”. When a group of students join a class together and learn together, the process is called synchronous learning. As obvious, it can take various shapes in modern schools.

  • Attending classes together every day to learn from a single teacher.
  • Joining a live session conducted over some video platform.
  • Attending a workshop on some out-of-the-syllabus topic.
  • Experimenting in the laboratory in groups to learn the working of a particular model.

The basic idea is to learn through interaction, collaboration, discussion and association. Unlike asynchronous learning where the students are mostly on their own, synchronous learning creates a social external drive to attend a class and learn from the teacher present.

Is it the same as the direct school lectures then?

Synchronous learning in the best school in Sonepat is very different than the direct lecture method of learning, although the concepts are similar. In both, students join a class together and the teacher is expected to deliver a lecture but in synchronous learning, the flow of education is not one-way traffic. It is more interactive. Students learn from each other and the teacher. Continuous questions, feedback, discussions and activities form the chain of learning where the idea of “together” gets its proper respect. In the direct lecture method, the students accept the teacher’s words at face value. Rarely are there animated discussions or idea exchanges.

How important is synchronous learning?

The social aspect of synchronous learning is the first outright benefit. Asynchronous learning can get lonely, at times, leading up to disengagement and demotivation. In synchronous, however, the community feeling sparks an external motivation to attend or join every day and interact to learn. Hence, even during online sessions, good schools are stressing on continuing with synchronous learning. Video lectures are not being recorded and uploaded simply for later access.

Second, synchronous learning provides immediate feedback. It also progresses education in real-time that helps the students to address and clear their doubts immediately. If not the teacher, someone in the group will answer as sharing of answers and ideas are allowed and the student will not have to wait until the school reopens again. The teachers can also adapt their lectures by reading the group’s response and need in real-time. No such feature is possible in asynchronous, especially if the session is online and pre-recorded.

Lastly, synchronous learning is fast-paced. Driven by the group and the sense of togetherness, the participating students try to keep the pace, learning from each other and extending help. The convenience of teaching a group also places learning on a fast-track mode where more topics can be covered at the same time as compared to asynchronous learning. Be it a physical classroom or on an online session, the top 5 schools in Sonepat will use synchronous learning first to teach and extend asynchronous when requested.

So, synchronous learning is the way to go?

Not always! Not every student does well in a group. Not every student is comfortable with live discussions and impromptu collaborations. Some prefer learning at their own pace. Their high self-motivation is enough to keep them on track. These students can fair similarly well with asynchronous learning as the group engaging with the synchronous method. Also, remedial classes or special tuition has to be asynchronous. When the need is more personalised, synchronous rarely help.

The best school will know when to launch what. Even when synchronous learning is the preferred method, the teachers should identify students who are lagging behind and place them under an asynchronous schedule. This is precisely the strategy of the Swarnprastha Public School where group discussions exist side by side with personalised learning even when classes have moved online due to the COVID-19 situation. Synchronous learning forms the base of SPS’s pedagogy. Experimental, activity-based, personalisation and other types of learning build upon it. Students are taught in a group, often small to provide value, and asynchronous co-exists on the side. The benefit of learning together is irrefutable. We are, after all, designed to learn from each other by sharing and exchanging.

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