Asynchronous Learning

What is Asynchronous Learning?

Asynchronous Learning offers a self-paced and flexible delivery method which suits many students who otherwise may have trouble fitting studies into their lives. In the Faculty of Arts, asynchronous delivery is a standard delivery mode, with much (if not all) interaction with students taking place online via the LMS with no timetabled sessions. This flexibility is also its greatest challenge, with students and educators alike commonly struggling with engagement and ensuring parity between delivery modes.

When it comes to designing for asynchronous delivery, it is crucial to recognise that it is not the practice of posting in-person materials online or conducting tutorial activities in discussion forums – it is its own delivery method requiring dedicated time, curated content, and careful forethought. The goal of asynchronous learning is simple, but challenging: How can I offer a learning experience to my online students which is comparable to that of a face-to-face experience?

Answering this question requires addressing three key themes: Engagement; Belonging; Presence.

How can I encourage my asynchronous students to engage beyond the assessments?

As mentioned above, many asynchronous students choose this delivery method because it is what works best around their other commitments. As a Convenor or Tutor to such students, it is important to remember that sometimes the opportunity to learn and receive a qualification with minimum time spent in activities and classrooms is the strength of asynchronous delivery.

Other asynchronous students may benefit from progressive assessments, as it gives a stronger sense of purpose to the activities they engage with. Progressive assessments – which are delivered throughout the session, build upon themselves, and have low weighting – can be a very powerful way of increasing engagement in these cohorts. A few large assessments or portfolio pieces can be a good approach if they are structured clearly, but risk failing to engage asynchronous students, as they can go weeks without thinking about the unit.

Contact the Faculty of Arts LD&P team  to learn more, ask how you can start delivering engaging Asynchronous Learning, and help your students learn to the best of their ability - at their own pace.