The working environment has seen considerable movement in recent times, and training the workforce is no longer a unidirectional, top-down driven approach.
Technology has provided multiple options to both the trainer and the trainee to pass on and acquire knowledge. Anytime, anywhere, anyplace, self-paced learning is fast becoming the norm. This has given rise to asynchronous training with the focus now on employee centricity and convenience.
Companies are pivoting their training modes towards asynchronous learning not only because it is practical, if not more, than the traditional online synchronous methods, but because it finds better resonance with employees.
With remote working and the workforce often spread across different geographies, asynchronous training would appear to be the better available option in current times.
However, we must add that this is a situational response that seeks to address the concerns of the current work environment. Both synchronous and asynchronous methods have their pros and cons, and the two are not mutually exclusive. If the circumstances permit and the back-to-office move is gaining momentum as things improve, a blend of both may be best suited to meet learners' training needs.
The benefits of asynchronous training are essentially two-fold-- one is on the cost side, and the other is in scalability. A good example is Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), where ready-made training inputs are prepared and served on a large scale. Any interested party can participate with no limit to the number of learners. There are no restrictions on the time and place. Enterprises utilize this to train their workers on preset modules on identified learning paths linked to the employee's position and type of work. Employees only need to log into the course of choice or as per employer expectation of skill level for a particular job and acquire the proper learning at their pace and time. This is very handy in imparting need-based education, which is generic and a common denominator for specific employees. For instance, new employees can be on-boarded and educated quickly through asynchronous training through foundational and introductory courses.
Specialized training inputs can also be delivered similarly. Employees that need to upgrade their skills, target a specific job they aspire to get, or for promotion and placement of choice, or just as a means of self-development, can access such courses and learn with complete flexibility and at their own convenient time.
While asynchronous training shifts control and onus onto the learner, in the corporate context, asynchronous training does not imply everything is random, and the employer has little or no control over employee training. Even with a decentralized approach, effective controls can be incorporated into the company's LMS via training schedules and content management. Outer time limits and type and number of learning modules can be prescribed within which the employee may complete the learning at his own pace and time. Testing and certification can be stipulated to ensure that the training is done and that users are applying the training to their jobs. Dashboards and feedback loops can be used to keep the employees engaged. Tracking mechanisms can help in follow-up and support improvement.
Asynchronous learning has brought about considerable changes in the way training is delivered and consumed at the workplace. The following changes are quite discernible:
Focus on employees : There is a distinct shift from institution-controlled training to learner-controlled training. The traditional classroom, instructor-led training model, has given way to online training. Structured training has been replaced with unstructured learning. Instead of management identifying training gaps and devising programs around this, employees determine training needs for themselves. Utilizing the corporate training resources is in the hands of the employee. Individuals learn in their own space, at their own pace and time. Asynchronous learning has brought in learner convenience.
Creation of social linkages : Asynchronous learning has helped create social networks. Since the learners are essentially solo, to get the best out of the inputs, they have developed their personal and informal communication and sharing channels. Moreover, discussions and interactions with colleagues, peers, seniors, friends, mentors, etc., over such group networks help in mutual learning.
Multiple learning options : Learners are spoilt for choice in asynchronous learning. Cross-referencing, repeat visits, reviews and reinforcements, learning through any mode and device, videos, audios, chats, discussion groups, informal groups, forums, access to experts, social media, etc. are all available to the dedicated learner. Although in synchronous learning, this is restricted and bound by the course content, there is total flexibility for the learner in asynchronous learning.
Developing Course/Content Libraries : In asynchronous learning, though user control is paramount, corporate can create libraries of content and courses aligned to the job streams of their enterprise. The repository can be positioned to drive demand for workplace skills. Interested users can draw on this readily available and accessible resource at their convenience or when confronted with a job-related doubt. This becomes a cost-effective way of training and upgrading relevant work skills without the learner feeling that he has been pushed. Providing such on-tap learning assets not only hooks the learner but also helps the corporate in creating a better-skilled workforce.
The above changes reveal how employers and employees have adapted to new circumstances and applied asynchronous learning to use precious resources optimally.
Asynchronous learning is here to stay, and the faster institutions accept this fact, the quicker they will reap the benefits. Needless to add, the first step is selecting the right platform for delivery. A review of the existing training arrangements will show where the enterprise is positioned. Whether the features are adequate, whether the LMS needs up-gradation, is the technology is up to mark, are the employees and administrators are comfortable, is the application user friendly, is it scalable, etc. At Gyrus, we have experts who have considerable experience in providing answers to these and other such questions. Our state-of-the-art LMS can roll out your synchronous and asynchronous training requirements with ease and without delay. Organize cost-effective customer training, employee training, and channel training with our feature-loaded learning platform that offers the best value for money. Do reach out to us. We will gladly partner with you in helping you to fulfill your training objectives.