Some of the elearning in recent years has steered towards asynchronous communication for many reasons. The main ones are usually the lack of reliable technology as well as the cost of webcams, mobiles and other technology that allows for synchronous communications.
Some examples of asynchronous elearning resources include:
Saying that, in the past couple of years, the technology seems to have improved and/or reduced in price that we now have more synchronous communication opportunities. With that said, some students may still have bandwidth and/or latency issues that could dramatically affect their learning/understanding.
Some examples of synchronous elearning resources include:
- Voice chat
- Webcam video conferencing
- Text chat
An important point on synchronous communication is its often limited use due to time zones and the availability of technology at particular times eg. Many students may share a computer at home with siblings or partners.
A major consideration for a teacher/trainer is the planning involved with running a synchronous session. Students will lose concentration and/or interest if the session does not flow and/or activities are difficult to follow or understand.
For more information on synchronous learning, check out this interesting slideshare presentation.