What would happen if your employees could learn in their own time and at their own pace? Asynchronous learning can transform how training is delivered and unlock hours of wasted time.
As more organisations embrace remote working, the days of booking a meeting room and ordering catering for an all-day professional development session are being relegated to the history books. That doesn’t mean that learning and development opportunities aren’t available. Instead, training that is delivered remotely is becoming the norm.
This is now leading companies to consider how much time employees are spending on video calls for meetings, training and team building. According to a report from Otter.ai, the weekly meeting time for remote employees has increased by 10% since the start of the pandemic—with most of those meetings taking place using video calls. That equates to almost three additional meetings per week.
Delivering professional development training remotely can contribute to burnout, but there is a way to avoid these problems. Asynchronous online learning can help us get the best of both worlds—by giving employees the ability to train from anywhere, at their own pace and when it works for them.
Synchronous versus asynchronous
Synchronous learning is the online equivalent of traditional in-person delivery. It’s a one-to-many approach, where a trainer presents to learners. Employees can be in a company meeting room, a home office or their favourite local coffee shop. Training is in real-time, with employees participating in workshops, presenter-led sessions and breakouts.
Asynchronous learning replaces real-time delivery and participation with on-demand training. Your employees can access presentations and other content at their convenience. This enables them to find time in their work schedules that works best for them.
Both models of learning have their pros and cons. Synchronous learning that uses video conferencing can contribute to feelings of tiredness in the same way that online meetings do. With asynchronous learning, remote learners participating in the training aren’t able to ask live questions—tools like discussion boards may still give them opportunities to check in with and ask questions of their peers and facilitators.
Still, asynchronous learning offers numerous benefits for companies and employees participating in online learning.
6 Benefits of Asynchronous Online Learning
Asynchronous online learning is learner-focused. Employees choose when to learn, and they control the pace. These advantages give your employees the space they need to understand what they’re learning and bring those insights back into their work. While feedback isn’t in real time, people are still able to ask questions using instant messaging and chatbots.
One of the most significant benefits of remote work is the flexibility it provides employees. It’s not simply a case of cutting commuting time—remote work also allows employees to work when it’s convenient for them. This flexibility extends to professional development through asynchronous online learning. Your employees can learn when they have time to focus.
3. Less Fatigue
Spending hours on video meetings can be draining. In a study by Virtira Consulting, 58% of self-identified introverts and 40% of extroverts reported on-camera exhaustion. The same feeling of fatigue can also occur with synchronous online training. Any distraction can cause people to miss important information or conversations, which reduces the value of the experience. Asynchronous delivery means they can go back to each session to gain additional insight or watch a section again to understand it better.
Asynchronous learning can also offer accessibility advantages. With on-demand content, presentation materials can be closed-captioned for employees with hearing impairments, for example. Images in on-demand content can also include text descriptions for employees with visual impairments.
Businesses can scale professional development to more employees across their organisation—regardless of location or time zone. Rather than learning in the middle of the workday, employees are also able to find time during their quieter periods, so it won’t impact their productivity.
6. Reduced costs
There are few to no travel costs with asynchronous learning since the training is presented remotely. And there is a cost reduction when you have large numbers of employees participating in professional development. Trainers can present to more employees and training materials can be reused.
Supporting a hybrid workforce
The proportion of people working in a hybrid form is continuing to rise. Organisations looking to adopt this model will be required to transform how they provide professional development opportunities to meet evolving employee, business and industry needs.
To get the best results, asynchronous training should be one of the tools in your toolkit. Want to learn more about creating employee training that will strengthen your organisation’s resilience and performance?