Asynchronous Online Learning and Social Media

Have you participated in online forums, discussions or taken self-paced online courses? Did you find these effective? Did they increase your skill level in the subject or knowledge of the subject in any manner? Online forums, courses and discussion groups are a fine example of asynchronous online learning or AOL.

What is Asynchronous online learning?

  • Flexible e-learning
  • It is self paced learning acquired through online discussion forums, e-mail or online courses which allow you to study and communicate with the facilitator at your own time.

Is it effective?
From a prinicple of andragogy it is best suited to adult learners who are usually in a busy environment. It treats you as the mature adult that you are and allows you to structure your own learning. In many cases, you can select what you want to retain and focus on.

Can social media be used to effectively deliver e learning?  How effective are social media such as facebook and twitter in delivering asynchronous learning?

Social media engages the user like none other. It allows ther learner to discover, network and collaborate on many topics. But does it promote learning?

Are discussion forums with a definite purpose more effective?  Such as usingenglish.com. A site where your grammar queries are resolved through discussion and answers from moderators. Linked in Discussion Forums is another excellent example of defintive use of social media to exchange ideas.

A more structured approach is found in online graphic design and creative competition sites, such as worth1000.com or freakingnews.com.  Designers, photographers and creative writers can upload their work and subject it to constructive critiques, peer reviews and get tips on skill improvement.

Asynchronous online learning is also delivered through online tutorials hosted on a membership-based LMS. Tutors can create courses and administer them to a virtual classroom. The learner can log on at his or her own time, download the course, attempt tests and also chat to the tutor.

Asynchronous online learning is also scalable in nature. It can be delivered simultaneously to a large number of users. The number of courses can also increase in volume and kind.

Asynchronous online learning creates “…an integrated set of guidelines … to design and participate in authentic learning environments which invoke critical thinking, creativity, and complex problem solving while developing important social interaction skills.” (Nelson 1999 – Collaborative Problem Solving Theory)

A combination of social media such as twitter, linkedin discussion forum and a moodle hosted course can effectively deliver asynchronous learning to a large audience.  A modern blend of learning flavors.

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