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Synchronous training is training that happens in real time. The student and instructor need to be online at the same time. The training can be video, audio, slide presentation, chat, etc.

Synchronous training has several advantages over asynchronous:

  • Students feel more comfortable knowing that their is someone "out there" with a voice or face.
  • Students do not have to provide all the motivation for learning, as they do in asynchronous learning- they can allow the instructor to guide the learning.
  • Questions are answered immediately.
  • It most closely mimics classroom training - social issues are less of a factor for students

Perhaps the biggest drawback to synchronous training is the need for students and instructor to be online at the same time. This is a concern for students with a busy schedule, or from different time zones. Other drawbacks include the need for sound and video (may require sound cards or downloads - not always an option in some organizations), development of presentation skills, the need (usually) for extra staff.

Of all the various elearning tools and programs currently available, synchronous training most closely resembles the classroom experience - instructor presents, students listen. This may explain their increased popularity over the last several years.

One of the most significant advantages of using a synchronous platform (like HorizonLive, Centra, PlaceWare) is the reduction in travel and accommodation costs to an organization. Information can be broadcast across a divers geographical area with only a fraction of the cost of bringing all staff/students to a physical location.


Mimicking the Classroom
"For thousands of years, people have learned in classrooms, face-to-face with an instructor. All of us discovered how to read, the interior of a frog, or the correct way to pronounce parlez vous francais in a classroom. It should come as no surprise, then, that the classroom paradigm still ranks, far and away, as the primary means for training people in corporations.
Some estimate that nearly 80 percent of the training in a corporate setting continues to come by way of the classroom. While many methods of delivering training by electronic means have yet to firmly establish themselves in the corporate arena, the one that most closely mimics the classroom is gaining a solid foothold."

Key Factors in Synchronous Delivery
"Sometimes it's less about the technology and more about the content that makes for a winning synchronous session."

Making Synchronous Training a Success
"How do you prepare to conduct a live training session over the Internet? A consultant specializing in synchronous delivery offers some dos and don'ts for organizations interested in applying the technology."

Designing and Delivering Live, Online Training
"There are many in the training industry today who are looking to live, online training as a way to retain workers, reduce travel expenses, keep employees and customers up to date, and, in general, keep up with the rapid increase of learning that must take place to remain competitive."

Synchronous Exercises from Scratch
"Organizations that invest in synchronous training products have visions of brilliant collaboration taking place across the bandwidth. Why then are so many synchronous programs still designed to highlight the "Sage on Stage?""

ISD for Live E-Learning
"Ready to ride the live e-learning wave? Before you make the move to the virtual classroom, consider your instructional design strategy."

Elements of Group Interaction in a Real-Time Synchronous Online Learning-By-Doing Classroom Without F2F Participation
"Individuals interacting as a community of learners were observed constructing transformative knowledge in an interactive, real-time eClassroom designed and implemented for teaching a university level course at the Applied Human Sciences Department, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada."

24 Hours in the Life of a Synchronous Trainer
"The following events at an internal training department are based on real facts. Names have been changed to protect the innocent--and my job."

Synchronous Team Teaching: Put Your Heads Together
"In the new virtual environment, many trainers opt not to take advantage of all of the tools available to increase interaction. They can'tsee themselves being able to multi-task to the extent required, so they limit participant use of chat, whiteboard tools, and other interactive features of the synchronous classroom. The trainer's role is then reduced to pushing content and lecturing, instead of facilitating interactions and knowledge sharing."

An Instructor's Guide to Live E-Learning
"Before you move from the traditional classroom to e-learning, you may want to double-check your stand-up trainer’s toolkit. You'll find that much of your traditional training expertise is transferable to the online classroom. If you still need help on figuring out how to extend the online learning experience, try these tips."

Guidelines for Live e-learning sessions
"Live e-learning using virtual classroom tools such as Centra or InterWise is a very different model for e-learning than web-based self-paced content. Live e-learning is probably the closest e-quivalent of running an instructor-led session online and has many of the same dynamics of the classroom but gives us many of the benefits of e-learning. This article focuses on discussing some of the issues associated with successfully running a live e-learning session."

Combining Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning
"With the emergence and fast-paced evolution of distance learning, educators must balance the need for any time, any place activities with the necessity of teaching team dynamics and face to face communication. Combining asynchronous individual assignments with minimally structured, synchronous, collaborative assignments will increase the level of learning achieved by students."

Synchronous Platforms

"Interwise delivers products and services that provide all of your live and on-demand collaboration, communication and eLearning needs in one platform - widely recognized as the most superior web-based technology available today. This is an ultimate testament to the implementation of the company's visionary leadership, top-notch research and development, and focused implementation of leading-edge products and services. "

"HorizonLive.com, Inc. is a leading provider of synchronous platforms supporting live, web-based collaboration, elearning, web conferencing, and interactive webcasts."

"At Centra, we are committed to one goal: to provide superior Web collaboration solutions that not only enable the delivery of information in a variety of live and self-service formats, but also add unprecedented value through capabilities to capture interactions and content, personalize and manage information, and instantly re-use it across the enterprise."

"An instructor-led, interactive virtual classroom featuring IP audioconferencing with multiple synchronized content choices and learning tools."


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