What Types Of E-learning Are There?


March 1st, 2021   |   Updated on June 28th, 2022

Today, electronic learning is an essential part of our lives. In fact, the information we consume online every day is in itself a form of e-learning — the Internet provides us with a fast and effective method for gathering and working with information.

Presently, especially in the times of COVID-19, e-learning is something that cannot be replaced. Since its inception, just about everyone who has used e-learning in one form or another, can’t get enough of this new, versatile form of learning.

Electronic learning is a universal system that has changed the lives of many children, students, and teachers around the world. It has also changed our perception of information in general, including the way we consume and work with it.

E-learning can optimize multiple processes at once, making the studying process flexible and refreshing. Today, students can get things done quicker and more effectively than ever before.

For example, if students need to work together on a project, they can simply create, share, and collaborate on documents with peers and teachers from literally anywhere in the world, in real-time. That’s something our parent’s generation never could have dreamed of. 

Presently, there are a variety of different types of e-learning solutions and software that are widely used in the classroom — and the list keeps growing.

The e-learning software development of today differs considerably from the solutions that appeared several years ago; or even from solutions from just a few months back. It seems like every few weeks, a new solution pops up that students can’t wait to get their hands on.

Companies and organizations are constantly battling with one another to be the first to develop anything that leads to the automatization or electronic substitution of existing methods.

As e-learning is in constant development, it’s hard to keep up with all of the unique updates and new features that are hitting the market.

As of now, there are mainly two types of e-learning genres: synchronous and asynchronous e-learning. In order to understand the differences between them, we need to take a closer look at the features they provide and how students and teachers interact with them.

Throughout the e-learning process, the best tools are the ones that provide users with the opportunity to access course materials and functions from anywhere in the world, at any time.

Say you’re having doubts relating to the instructions of a given assignment; with e-earning software, you can simply make a note and share your questions with students and teachers — you can even choose to do so anonymously.

E-learning provides us with plenty of opportunities that make the overall studying process both effective and less complicated for everyone involved.

As was mentioned above, there are two categories of the e-learning process:

  • Synchronous

  • Asynchronous 

Synchronous e-learning is a type of learning that allows students and teachers to cooperate with one another in real-time, no matter their location. 

Asynchronous e-learning means that the instructor and the students in the course all engage with the course content at different times (and from different locations). The instructor provides students with a sequence of units that the students move through as their schedules permit. 

Let’s consider the details of each process in order to understand their advantages and disadvantages.

1. Synchronous  E-learning

Synchronous e-learning is a real-time studying process in which the participants (students and teachers) work online together and cooperate in real-time with each other.

All parties may send and receive information/files/materials/comments/docs, etc. This can be achieved via smartphones, video conferences, chats, or by any other online means that allow for the sharing of materials.

In addition, teachers may set up student or teacher resources and websites where additional course information can be stored and students and teachers may interact, comment and share documents, tasks, and files.

Thanks to synchronous e-learning, students can share their ideas with classmates and speak to their instructor directly during online lessons.

The effectiveness of synchronous e-learning has already been proven. Thanks to this software, thousands of virtual classrooms have popped up all across the world, allowing students to cooperate effectively and communicate in real-time. 

2. Asynchronous  E-learning

Asynchronous e-learning revolves around a pause-and-play type of model in which students work through lesson material at their own pace — with deadlines of course.

In asynchronous e-learning, students use other tools and technologies in order to cooperate which allows them to work effectively, but not always in real-time. Students may communicate through email, discussion forums, blogs, etc.

They are free to study lessons at any time, and teachers may check-in on assignments to view progress as they deem necessary. Although students can download files, docs, and chat with their classmates or teachers anytime, with asynchronous studying, no one is obligated to provide answers at once.

At the present time, many students prefer this type of studying over synchronous models due to the fact that this type of learning provides them with an opportunity to work, complete courses, and study at their own pace. Plus, students will benefit from learning to create and work around their own schedules — a handy skill for the future.

Although these types of e-learning differ considerably, there are particular conveniences found in both.

Asynchronous e-learning provides more freedom and is generally much less time-consuming — as long as you’re a self-organized person. Conversely, synchronous e-learning requires students to pay more attention and be prepared to interact with their peers and teachers, face-to-face.