Tips to Develop an Effective Asynchronous Learning

June 29, 2022


Dynamic learning platforms have allowed learners from around the globe to access courses conveniently throughout the pandemic. With the shift to remote opportunities, more learners are capitalizing on learning at their own pace, customizing their schedules to meet life’s busy demands with the practicality of completing courses from anywhere. Companies are able to provide a rich mix of fully asynchronous, blended, and in-person trainings to be able to meet their teams ‘where they live’ in the natural arc of their workday while providing a more consistent approach for learning that sticks. Top training providers are starting to learn how to provide a range of these workshop types to their corporate clients as well, thereby creating a turnkey solution for high-quality leadership training, coaching and whole person development.

For course creators, developing asynchronous learning opportunities requires thoughtful preparation. On-demand and self-paced learning exercises benefit the learner with the flexibility to learn and complete coursework when it is convenient, but the challenge comes when trying to engage the learner without the benefits of being in an in-person learning environment. Keeping the participants engaged and motivated during asynchronous work is the only way to ensure effective learning outcomes. Let’s look at ways to develop a course that fills the need for both flexibility and engagement.

1. Organize coursework into manageable sections

When developing a course, thoughtful preparation can provide a road map for learners as they access material throughout their experience. The instructor clearly defines the objectives and expectations, similarly to the syllabus rundown learner’s likely have experienced in prior learning experiences in face-to-face classes.

Facilitators can chunk content into manageable sections or modules, make pacing recommendations to keep learners from falling behind. These sections should build upon one another in a way that is learner-friendly and allows for continued growth on important topics. Also called, ‘Micro-learning’, tight and punchy exercises grab people’s attention in this frenetic world in which we all live and work, thereby keeping them engaged throughout the learning journey.

Along with organizing the workload, course facilitators should plan time in their own schedule to evaluate, provide feedback, and respond to questions and messages from participants. This ensures learners are provided with the support they need to move through the modules toward course completion.

In a single dashboard on Dream See Do for example, you can immediately track high-level progress, dive deep into individual responses, message groups or individuals directly (including teams, cohorts, and a targeted course), and generate tracking data to report these metrics. Instead of having to do each task individually and deal with clusters of clunky isolated systems, you can automate these tasks significantly, thereby cutting down on time and increasing learner engagement. 

2. Offer a variety of learning experiences to boost engagement

To keep the modules engaging, courses should include a variety of content types and ways to interact with that content. Pre-recorded lessons, video clips, team messaging, and reflections can be motivating as learners practice and collaborate with the content in new ways. 

While asynchronous learning means learners can be logging in at different times, courses can still take advantage of group and partner activities through assignments that encourage people to communicate and share ideas with one another. In this way, learners engage with one another to further explore topics and are held accountable for understanding the material as they interact with others.

Offering additional resources such as websites, book recommendations, articles, images, and videos are also recommended to engage students further in the content. Just as a face-to-face workshop would promote further exploration of a topic, these resources can foster a deeper dive into material and increased understanding. 

On Dream See Do you can develop a collection of resources including videos, online articles, assessments, PDFs, and audio files that enrich the overall learning experience. By setting goals for your learners and using these tools from the beginning, you can develop asynchronous learning opportunities that mirror the effectiveness of a traditional in-person learning experience.

3. Opportunities for communication and interaction 

The convenience and flexibility of asynchronous learning makes it appealing, but it lacks the community of meeting together at the same time. Facilitators can leverage the built in messaging systems and forums through the learning platforms to give learners opportunities to share their thoughts, while also commenting on the ideas of others. 

Collaborative tools such as integrated live video, group chat & messaging, discussion boards, and forums can be a meaningful way to access content, which is more effective than digesting information alone. Not only should learners have the ability to communicate with their instructor, but also to work alongside and support their peers who are working toward a common goal.

On Dream See Do for example, you can cultivate community by creating buddies or teams for assignments. Group learners together for collaboration and support during the course. Group and private messaging are available to boost engagement.

4. Provide entertainment balanced with content rich education

To keep asynchronous learning effective, compelling learning experiences also require a balance of entertainment and content. Information overload can set in when courses don’t also provide an entertainment factor. A rich multimedia approach is the answer to a well-rounded course. Whether it’s a real-world video clip, an image, or collaboration opportunity, learners need to feel engaged with the subject matter.

Keeping graphics and slides concise, using relevant examples, charts and images, along with audio and visual effects can provide motivation as learners access new information on their own time. Even in a blended course with mostly asynchronous content, keeping learners’ interests piqued in between face-to-face instruction is critical.

On Dream See Do you can Create learning experiences that are interactive, and customized to the needs of your coursework. This includes expressive response types to asynchronous learning prompts, that can bring your content to life for your target audience.

5. Provide adequate support throughout modules

As with any effective learning environment, learners should feel supported every step of the way. Whether it’s questions about the material, clarification about assignment guidelines, or troubleshooting the platform itself, there should be consistent communication between the facilitator and learner. 

Offering FAQ pages, including helpful tips and reminders, as well as setting aside specific times to respond to questions can help learners feel supported throughout their learning journey. When developing the coursework, anticipate areas of confusion and create clear instructions for students who will have to interpret assignments without the benefit of face-to-face guidance. 

Frequent, meaningful feedback opportunities should also be incorporated into coursework so students can be reflective on their work. Without the in-person aspect, it can be difficult for students to gauge whether they are on the right track and meeting the expectations of the teacher.

Social accountability and supportive ‘nudging’ are key elements to course completion and achieving desired learning outcomes. DSD’s automated step (exercise/assignment) reminders with built in email and notification messages are powerful tools to encourage motivation and accountability. New course content can be dripped automatically to provide emergent learning opportunities and continued motivation throughout any asynchronous coursework.

Effective asynchronous learning depends on a robust platform that provides learners with content that is engaging and easy to access. By organizing courses into modules, learners can work through the course at their own pace, while getting guidance and support along the way. Take advantage of the multimedia available to keep content relevant and meaningful to the learner. By setting goals for your learners from the beginning, you can develop asynchronous learning opportunities that mirror the effectiveness of a traditional in-person learning experience.


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