Asynchronous education describes education that can be conducted without the students and the teacher being present at the same time. Asynchronous education (also called asynchronous learning) requires students to be self-motivated to do assignments at the time that best suits them—provided that they meet a certain deadline for submittal. Asynchronous education is the most common kind of learning system used in online classrooms and nearly all major online universities—from The University of Phoenix to Marist College online—operate using asynchronous methods.
Asynchronous education will not work for everyone. Because it requires students to be very self-motivated only those who are serious about and dedicated to their work will excel in this model. Students who are easily distracted or need a more disciplined environment (like one where a teacher or a professor is constantly monitoring the classroom) will be better off learning in a traditional system. However, as more and more schools (from grades K-Ph.D.) start going online asynchronous education is starting to take a leading role in the way that masses of people are educated.
Asynchronous systems work better for many people than the traditional “synchronous” models that demanded that all students and teachers be present at a certain location at a certain time. Asynchronous education enables students and even professors to write papers, grade papers, and “talk” via discussion posts at times that best suits them. For people who have full-time jobs or are parents to young children, the flexibility of online education might be the only way that they have the means to attend class. Furthermore, for people who live in different time zones from the school that they attend or for those who travel a lot, asynchronous learning is the best way that they can keep up with their studies without affecting their jobs, regular hours, or vacation plans.
Additionally, because people who are enrolled in asynchronous systems can pace themselves to learn at a time that is best for them, there is a greater chance that—when they do sit down to complete the assigned task—they will be in the right frame of mind to concentrate on the work and therefore produce an assignment of better quality than they would if they were being rushed due to inconvenient time schedules. Hence, asynchronous systems often result in students creating better papers and earning higher grades.
Individuals who are asynchronous learners also display a lot of self-will and determination; traits that are highly valued by most employers. As telecommuting becomes more popular (especially since it is cheaper for businesses to hire virtual staff) it is logical to assume that online learners will soon become the most sought after employees and therefore more desirable staff than traditionally schooled people. Granted, some programs need hands-on and synchronous classes—like medical studies—but, for the most part, asynchronous education systems are more convenient and produce very dedicated and self-motivated graduates. Hence, it is a model of education that works and will only grow more popular in the coming years.