Comparative Analysis of Asynchronous and Synchronous Technologies

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Technologies used in training and education are a popular topic of discussion all over the world. Two major views on delivery modes of educational content exist: some focus on asynchronous delivery for the accessibility of information anytime and anywhere through the use of collaborative tools while whereas others focus on the real-time interaction with the instructor, students, and content during class through synchronous delivery. This comparative analysis will look at Elluminate, a synchronous application, and compare it to Sakai, an asynchronous application. The comparative analysis will further examine general aspects, technological components, pedagogical concepts, strengths and limitations of systems that affect students and instructors for both technologies. This analysis would be helpful to a student who wants to learn how to explore web-based technologies and compare systems.

General aspects

Purpose of the systems

The idea of technology inclusion in the classroom suggests that learning and teaching is enhanced by using a variety of tools. In distance education, there are two types of technologies that do this; synchronous and asynchronous. Horton (2006), defines synchronous as “everyone involved in an activity must perform their parts at the same time” (p. 363) while Moore and Kearsley (2005) define asynchronous as “not at the same time and thus communication with a delay that allows participants to respond at a different time from when the message is sent” (p. 328). With a hands-on approach, I explored Elluminate, a synchronous application and Sakai, an asynchronous application, to evaluate the capabilities of both applications and how best to use them to support distance education initiativ...

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...ance of proportional analysis of technologies before course design begins. Whether the selected application is synchronous or asynchronous, the user must consider the effects on instructional design, students, instructors, learning communities, and the organization.

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Horton, W. (2006). E-learning by Design. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

McGreal, R. & Elliott, M. (2004). Technologies of online learning (e-Learning). In Anderson, T. &

Elloumi, F. (Eds.), Theory and practice of online learning . (pp. 115-135). Retrieved March 3, 2011, from

Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (2005). Distance education: A systems view. Belmont, CA:

Wadsworth. (Second Edition) (2011) Retrieved on March 2, 20111.
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