Synchronous Learning: A Detailed Guide

Are you wondering what synchronous learning is? Look no further. This article explains what synchronous learning is in detail.

While researching for the right online program, you might come across concepts like synchronous learning but not really know what this means. Synchronous learning means learning simultaneously with other colleagues online.

If you are someone who lacks self-drive, it might just be your best bet because it compels you to make the sacrifice of meeting up with the scheduled time meant for class, so as not to miss out on lessons.

This article aims to discuss all there is to know about synchronous learning, its advantages and disadvantages, and tips on how you can manage synchronous learning.

What is Synchronous learning?

Synchronous learning is a form of the online learning process in which a group of students engages in learning at the same time via a particular technological tool or device.

It involves a group of students learning from different locations at the same time. This enables students to develop a sense of community as opposed to asynchronous learning.

How synchronous learning works

Synchronous learning is a concept that got its roots in the use of broadcast radio and television for dispensing information. Also, it is not so much different from traditional, face-to-face learning except that students do not need to converge physically in a class.

Majorly, synchronous learning involves the use of live videos. The instructor may present using slideshows, which the students watch while connecting to a conference website. Also, students can ask questions and make comments in meetings.

With the aid of different communication tools, real-time interaction and collaboration between the instructor and students have been enabled.

Here are some of the communication tools used for synchronous learning;

  • Video/Web conferencing
  • Audio conferencing
  • Zoom
  • Skype
  • Chat/Instant messaging
  • Application sharing
  • Whiteboarding

Basically, these tools allow every individual to connect at a single point in time and it is able to engage students instantly and at the same point in time.

Advantages of Synchronous Learning

Synchronous learning has changed a lot of things about online learning and has added more value to it. Here are the advantages of synchronous learning;

1. Gives opportunity for immediate feedback

Synchronous learning allows for real-time interaction. Teachers can give direct instruction and instant feedback to the learners.

The real-time interaction accommodated in synchronous learning enhances the knowledge retention of the learners as they are able to actively participate in the process of learning.

Furthermore, students get to understand better since they can get immediate responses from instructors when they ask questions.

2. It makes learning motivating

One thing about isolated learning is that it dulls the morale of the students. But with synchronous learning, students learn together with their colleagues. In that sense, isolation is not a problem.

Synchronous learning is a more engaging form of learning and this enables the instructors to determine the performance of each student.

Also, instructors can follow up on students with low performance to understand why they are not meeting up to standard and encourage them.

Furthermore, engaging the students and making them participate in the learning process motivate and encourage them. Even the most reticent ones may become interested in learning through constant engagement.

3. Creates a sense of community

The main essence of synchronous learning is social networking and collaboration. The instructor and the learners meet as a group and this gives a sense of community.

Online group activities are organized in synchronous learning and this encourages teacher work and cooperation. Through group activities, ideas are exchanged and networking is boosted.

Moreso, students build social values and communication skills as they relate with the instructors and other students.

4. Discipline

Since students all learn simultaneously at a time set, they inculcate the habit of being time-consciousness over time. Also, both students and instructors develop a sense of discipline because they need to keep to the scheduled time.

Instructors may also note the class attendance and monitor students’ participation to ensure discipline from the students. Additionally, the fact that students can no longer access lessons when they miss classes compels them to be available in class.

5. Reduced cost

As much as synchronous learning gives the face-to-face classroom experience, you don’t have to spend as much as you will spend in traditional classroom learning. You may learn from the comfort of your home so you don’t have to transport yourself to class.

Moreso, you don’t have to spend on accommodation within the campus since you are learning from your home.

Lastly, students may get instructional materials online to enhance their studies.

Disadvantages of Synchronous learning

As much as synchronous learning comes with a lot of benefits, it also has its shortcomings.

Here are some of its disadvantages:

1. Over-reliance on technology

While studying online, you make use of technological tools to acquire education. What this implies is that you need to have technical knowledge, good computer skills, and the ability to operate various technologies.

What this means is that those who lack computer skills cannot engage in synchronous learning.

Moreso, synchronous sessions rely on video or web conferencing which heavily relies on strong internet bandwidth.

Therefore, for those who live in areas with poor internet connections or do not have access to a high-speed internet connection, it may not work for them.

2. Lack of flexibility

One major shortcoming of synchronous learning is its rigidity. The students all have to be present at the same time regardless of how busy they might be. This discourages workers with tight schedules or those with time-consuming responsibilities from learning.

Also, it is not ideal for those who love to learn at their own pace since the instructor determines the pace of learning. It also presents a challenge of differences in time-zone. As such, students from countries with extremely different time zones may find it difficult to participate.

Moreso, synchronous learning makes it difficult for students to take lessons at their own convenience.

Finally, in cases where students experience technical issues, they cannot re-access the class. As a result, they miss out on class lessons which affect their morale.

3. Lack of individual attention

Another challenge of synchronous learning is that individual need is not catered to. Because students learn at the same time, the instructor might not notice students that are lagging behind or those with special academic needs.

Also, the students are taught using the same approach and this is a major drawback because they do not assimilate and learn the same way.

Tips on how to make synchronous learning effective

1. Create a space for learning

To make your online learning journey more effective, you should have a definite place to study as this will give you a sense of commitment and readiness. It also helps to keep your learning materials intact as you don’t have to move them from one place to another.

Take time to study the kind of environment you learn best and invest in setting up such an environment for yourself.

In setting up a study place, try to make sure it’s a place with a secure and stable internet connection, a place with no distractions where you can have easy access.

Although, as much as it encourages you to create a study place, do not restrict yourself to a particular location. Try different options available to you, you wouldn’t know where best you can learn if you don’t try them out.

2. Be accountable

Work with people that will encourage you and keep you on track when you slack on the commitment to your studies.

Get people who will follow you up and see to it that you stay committed to your learning. Work with this kind of person as it will help you create expectations and set boundaries so you can stay focused on the task at hand.

This set of people might be your family, colleagues at the workplace, roommates, friends, or even your fellow classmates.

3. Have a plan for technical disappointment

Whenever you are relying on any form of technology, always have a way out. Plan ahead of your class and gets spare tools if possible and if it isn’t possible, try to be in a place where you have access to more than one computer.

4. Manage your time effectively

Spend time trying to get familiar with your courses. Know what is expected from you as a student for each course you offer.

Build a routine with which you’ll stay committed. Also, create a schedule you’ll be able to effectively manage.

Asides from your learning periods, draw out plans for every other activity so they won’t clash with the time you’re meant to be in class


Is synchronous learning effective?

Yes, synchronous learning is as effective as any form of learning. What you need are commitment and focus.

Is synchronous learning more expensive than asynchronous learning?

In the case of internet connection expenses such as data and WiFi, yes synchronous learning might be more expensive than asynchronous learning.

Is synchronous learning the best form of online learning?

No. The best mode through which one can acquire online education is relative depending on individual personality and how well one can manage your schedule.

To some asynchronous learning is the best and to others, synchronous learning is the best. What matters is which mode of learning best suits you as a person.


Synchronous learning has given an opportunity for individual who needs the face-to-face classroom feeling but still wants to learn online an opportunity to be educated.

This doesn’t give room for ineffectiveness as effort has been put to make sure that education doesn’t lose its significance while learning synchronously in the online space.

Moreso, efforts have been made and are still being made to see to it that online learning gains credence in the modern world.

Hence, you can see the article on distance learning to know the benefits it offers compared to traditional classroom learning, now you are certain.

I hope this article helped. Thanks for reading.