Asynchronous learning refers to forms of education or learning using resources that facilitate information sharing among a network of people not bound by constraints of time and space. Asynchronous learning enables users to access content online anytime and does not require an active facilitator or instructor. The learning tools used in asynchronous learning are videos, online discussion forums, and social learning tools.
Asynchronous learning gives employees the flexibility to schedule their learning and skill developments as per their schedule without any affecting their work. It also offers them opportunities to learn new skills and keep themselves updated without the need for an organization to guide them. Self-paced learning helps employees adjust the learning pace based on their own learning speed and capabilities.
Asynchronous learning gives the employee autonomy or independence to pursue their learning according to their convenience. Autonomy is one of the core psychological needs that set in motion the intrinsic motivation leading to higher engagement and greater job satisfaction. According to research, autonomy at the workplace positively affects employees’ well-being and job satisfaction. The movie streaming platform Netflix allows their employees greater autonomy with how to do their job and to learn without a manager tracking their every move.
The findings of research published in the Journal of Vocational Behaviour validate the autonomous philosophy in practice at Netflix. The study indicates that autonomy serves as a powerful motivational force and provides employees with the psychological boost that they require to thrive. “Thrive” is a term used to describe employees who feel they are learning and growing. The autonomy that comes with asynchronous learning is itself a great morale booster that makes them more engaged at work.
Another advantage of asynchronous learning is that it gives them the flexibility to learn from anywhere, which is highly relevant, especially when work from home (WFH) and hybrid work environments have become the norm.
Benefits of Asynchronous Learning:
- Autonomy in learning
Asynchronous learning gives the employee autonomy to plan and schedule their learning. Employees are free to decide what, when, and how to learn. Autonomy instills a sense of responsibility towards their learning, leading to higher engagement. Autonomy acts as a great motivator, leading to higher completion rates as compared to supervised learning.
- Flexibility leads to more productivity
Asynchronous learning offers flexibility, enabling employees to balance their work commitments and learning goals with greater ease. Employees can schedule learning sessions that do not conflict with their work, preventing productive work hours from being lost because of training.
Asynchronous learning enables employees to manage, learn, and work effectively, leading to higher productivity. This benefits both employees and the organisation. The former develops new skills and knowledge, while the latter does not lose revenue with employees away on training.
Asynchronous learning offers scalability to organisation learning initiatives since learning content in the video and audio format can be distributed to a vast section of employees effortlessly. The asynchronous learning mode does not require a live video session, so an instructor can record lessons from anywhere and upload the content.
Even learning and development have the flexibility to operate from anywhere, dispensing the need for a physical location that leads to cost savings.
- Knowledge update and higher retention
Asynchronous learning also helps employees refresh their knowledge and complement previously learned content. As the industry continuously evolves, employees have to keep themselves updated with the latest knowledge and developments in their industry. Asynchronous learning enables employees to keep pace with the latest skills requirements for their job and be relevant in their organisation’s scheme of things.
Asynchronous learning also leads to employees successfully retaining more knowledge because they are in charge of their own learning. This helps them set the pace of learning according to their capacity, unlike in synchronous learning, where they have to keep pace with the team.
Asynchronous learning best practices:
- Build on existing knowledge base with training need analysis
You should complement the employee learning efforts with a training need analysis to help them identify areas of improvement that are in sync with their area of expertise. This will provide intrinsic motivation to build on their existing knowledge base and move up the value chain.
A training needs analysis assesses employees’ skills and knowledge to identify what type of training they need that is congruent with the organisation’s business goals and objectives. Even as asynchronous learning motivates employees for self-learning, it is important to learn skills that are relevant to the organisation. A training need analysis can guide employees in creating their own learning path.
- Real-world examples or case studies
Asynchronous learning provides the autonomy and flexibility to employees to build their knowledge and skills; however, it is the responsibility of the L&D team to provide them with relevant learning content. The learning model should not mistake employee self-directed learning for an academic pursuit exercise.
The training content should leverage real-world case studies and examples to enable employees to understand the practical application of knowledge and skills. The course content should include client challenges in the form of cases that employees have to solve by applying their knowledge and skills. Such challenges make learning exciting and also contribute to better knowledge retention.
- Microlearning for higher completion rate and knowledge retention
Microlearning, also known as bite-sized learning, breaks down the knowledge or information into small manageable chunks instead of long lessons. Microlearning’s objective is to prevent employees from getting overwhelmed with information overload from long learning modules. The short content format can take many forms, such as text, videos, or interactive multimedia. The concept driving microlearning is that human memory can only hold up to five new pieces of information before it gets lost or overwritten.
The average microlearning lesson takes less than 10 minutes to complete, and the average completion rate of a microlearning course is 82 per cent. Microlearning has been found to be 17% more effective than traditional long-duration courses.
- User-friendly design and Navigation
Asynchronous learning is self-directed and self-paced learning, so user-friendly design and ease of navigation are important to enable employee learning with ease. You need to adopt modern User Experience (UX)/User Interface (UI) design practices such as data visualisation dark modes. Trends such as 3D models and more make the course user-friendly and easy to navigate.
Additionally, you need to complete the user-friendly design and ease of navigation with a dedicated technical support team to answer employee queries and resolve technical complaints.
- Employee – Facilitator interaction
Asynchronous learning is not meant to be in isolation but to be conducted with minimum intervention. The learning model encourages peer-based learning, which requires managing discussion forums and message boards. Even as community guidelines cover the forum, it still requires moderation by facilitators from L&D teams. The community-based learning also needs to be supplemented with live Question and Answer (Q&A) sessions organised by facilitators.
- Assess and improvise
The evaluation of employee performance and the learning model is essential to determine the effectiveness of your training. The individual employee learning performance can be assessed using periodic quizzes and test scores. The learning platform will also provide you with data to evaluate their engagement in the form of minutes spent watching videos, participation in discussion forums, and other relevant metrics. Their on-job performance after training will also be an important indicator of their overall asynchronous learning performance.
Performance metrics are important to fine-tune and evolve your program to drive learning effectiveness and, ultimately, lead to happy employees.
Asynchronous learning gives employees control of their learning and development. Autonomy increases the employee’s motivation and engagement at work. So if you would like to learn how to make asynchronous learning part of your corporate learning, contact us right away.