You are never too old to learn

learning and training styles

So just when you think you know it all, something comes along to remind you that learning is a life-long pursuit. For Pertrain Pen it was the word Asynchronous.

Pertrain has been writing training materials for well over 30 years. We have been developing eLearning packages for nearly a decade. But in all this time it never occurred to us to define what we do in terms of synchronous or asynchronous learning.

So what is synchronous learning?

A learning tool that allows students and trainers to ask and answer questions immediately, is synchronous. Students undertake training at the same time. Examples include face to face training, live chats and videoconferencing.

What is asynchronous learning?

Asynchronous learning, on the other hand takes place in the students own time, with students completing the training on their own. Information is shared via the web, emails or messages posted on community forums.

Both types of learning have advantages and disadvantages.

Synchronous Learning


  • Interaction, sharing ideas and working out problems together
  • Instant feedback
  • All participants receive the same information at the same time
  • Competition can be a great motivator.


  • Presented at preset times that may not suit each learner due to international time differences, work schedules, responsibilities at home, etc
  • Information is presented to suit the majority of students and may not suit all learning types
  • Cost, e.g. classroom hire, travel and accommodation expenses, etc.

Asynchronous Learning


  • Flexible – students can undertake learning at a time and place to suit them
  • Can be undertaken at students own pace
  • Is tailored to the individual’s learning needs
  • People tend to reveal more and form better ideas when they can prepare before responding and when the format has a measure of anonymity.


  • Isolation
  • Delayed feedback means that errors can be compounded
  • Limited encouragement for learners who are not motivated to learn
  • Learners must have access to their own resources, e.g. computer, internet, etc.

Obviously, the most effective training would include a combination of both asynchronous and synchronous learning, in other words blended learning – but that is a whole other blog.



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CommLab India, eLearning Learning, 2016,–benefits-and-limitations&

Origin Learning, eLearning Learning, 2015,

Talent LMS,