10 Synchronous And Asynchronous Learning Activities For Little Learners

The advancements in technology also brought a myriad of changes in how students learn. With the option of attending classes virtually to not attending them at all and accessing the recording as and when convenient, education has become more accessible than ever.

These are the principles reflected in asynchronous and synchronous learning. Simply put, synchronous learning refers to learning in and with the class in real time, while asynchronous learning refers to independent learning on one’s own schedule. 

Both of these approaches to learning look different when implemented in real-life classrooms. Some of the activities for effectively using synchronous and asynchronous learning in the classroom have been highlighted in this blog.

Asynchronous and synchronous learning activities for kids

While they might seem like completely opposite approaches to learning, they actually quite often used together. They help students become independent learners while at the same time benefiting from their participation in a classroom. 

Some of the activities for asynchronous learning can look like this:

1. What are the deets?

What are the deets?

For this activity, the educator will have to assign a topic to each student. The educator can also give the students the freedom to choose their own topic which they can get proofed by the educator before they can start working on it.

The task of the students here will be to work on the topic they have chosen or that has been assigned to them. They will have to comb through various sources like books, movies, articles, research, magazines, etc. talk to different people, and get every possible detail they can about that topic. Then they can combine all the information they have gathered, structure it and present it in the form of a project report in front of the whole class.

This asynchronous learning activity is often used by educators to help students engage in depth with a topic of their own choosing through sources and mediums of their own choice as well.

2. What’s new?

What's new?

For this activity, the students will have to get access to either physical or digital newspapers and magazines.

Their task will be to compile the major headlines of each day for a month. They can also include one fun cartoon or an interesting piece of news they found in their summary of the day. The students can further write their thoughts about the events that they clip and compile. At the end of the month, they will showcase this monthly Newspaper that they would have designed over the month taking all the creative freedom they want.

This asynchronous learning activity will help the students keep up with whatever is happening in the world and their country. It will help them become more informed citizens, all while cultivating a good habit of reading. 

3. Booked up 

Booked up 

For this activity, the educator will have to prepare a list of recommended extra readings for the class. The educator should make sure to include readings that have audiobooks available. Brownie points if the books have a movie or show adaptation.

The task of the students will be to pick a book of their own choosing from the recommendation list and read, listen, or watch it as and when they want. They will also be required to keep a journal where they put together the quotes they resonated with, annotate their thoughts on various characters and plots and critique the book and its writing as a whole.

Different students absorb and understand the information in different forms. Some students find it more fun to read a book in one sitting because it exercises their imagination while others prefer watching it because they are better able to understand and remember the content when it is in video form. This recommended list with alternate options will give students the freedom to read the same book in the way and time they find most beneficial and suitable for them.

4. Watch me when you can

Watch me when you can

For this activity, the educator will either have to find a series of online lectures explaining the concept they want their students to learn or record some themselves.

The students will be given access to the lectures instead of having to come to class at a fixed time every day. They can watch and re-watch the lectures as and when they find it convenient. At the end of a stipulated period of time, for example, a month, they can be quizzed on the concept explained in the lectures.

The asynchronous learning concept of providing students with the learning materials and giving them the freedom to learn at their own pace helps make learning a lot more accessible. For students who might not understand a concept in one go, they always have the option of replaying, and for the ones who already know one part, they can easily forward to the part they want to learn.

5. SWOT and Recover

SWOT and Recover

The student for this activity will have to conduct a SWOT analysis of their own skills and abilities. They could focus on soft skills like communication and interpersonal relationships or hard skills like UI/UX Design and Coding.

Subsequently, based on their analysis, they can pick an online course that works on the areas they might have identified as an opportunity or a threat. Online courses give flexibility in learning and are mostly self-paced where the learner can access the different forms of course material as and when they want to. The courses are available on a large variety of topics where students can learn from world-renowned experts, all from their screens.

These courses are designed to accommodate all levels of learners from beginners to advanced and the material can be accessed, understood, and learned through various mediums like video, audio, written material, etc. Through these courses, the learner gets to decide every part of their learning process from what to learn to when and how to learn it and who to learn it from. After they are done with the course, the learner can once again do a SWOT analysis to see their progress and the areas that might still need improvement.

While asynchronous learning has its benefits, its limitations are effectively overcome when its methods are paired with those of synchronous learning.

Daily classroom activities for synchronous learning

1. Socratic Debate

Socratic Debate

A Socratic Dialogue and Debate includes the generation of knowledge by asking questions. Here the educator can introduce a topic or give the class the freedom to debate a topic of their own choosing. The steps of this game can be more or less the same as the steps of the Socratic method.

The students will take stances on the topic but also listen to perspectives that might oppose their stance. This will help them see and respect different sides of the same coin. They might also end up discovering things that might have previously never occurred to them.

In a Socratic Dialogue, the goal is not to win by presenting one opinion or perspective as better than the others. It is to ask thought-provoking questions, listen to what others have to say, and learn from the different perspectives that emerge.

2. Close the Case

Close the Case

For this activity, the educator will have to present a daunting question to the class in the form of a case study.

Case studies don’t have a single correct answer. Instead, they test the individual’s critical thinking, problem-solving, and creative abilities. The students will come together to find the best possible solution by discussing several alternatives and weighing the pros and cons of choosing one option. They will have to find the possible limitations in the presented solution and then also come up with a fix to circumvent it.

This activity will have students put their minds together to come up with a solution that best helps the individual or the organization in the case. They will suggest different solutions, find loopholes, and suggest alternatives together.

3. Play the part

Play the part

For this activity, the educator will have to prepare chits in pairs, both of the chits presenting two parts of a tough conversation. For example, the chits can present a situation where a person in a managerial position has to lay off an employee because of budget cuts.

Students will be divided into pairs and on their random pick of the chits, be assigned a situation. The task of the students will be to play their part and effectively navigate these tough conversations. 

This activity will teach the students how to navigate various social situations that might require emotional restraint and regulation, on-the-spot thinking, and most of all, empathy. Besides, the students can also engage in other activities to practice and build empathy, a crucial social-emotional skill in one’s life.

4. Us against Them

 Us against Them

For this game, the educator will have to prepare for an educational game of Jeopardy. This can be a Social Science Jeopardy, a Natural Sciences Jeopardy, a General knowledge Jeopardy, or a mixed bag of questions.

The class can be divided into several teams, who will come together to strategize, taking note of their opponent’s strengths and weaknesses as well as their own. Each team will pose a question that the other team will have to answer in under 30 seconds. The task of the teams will be to use their strengths and pose questions that attack their competitors’ weaknesses.

This game will not only help the students learn the concepts better but the competition element will help them perform harder and stretch their limits for their team.

5. Tell me about it

 Tell me about it

For this activity, the students can be given a topic from the educator or they can be given the freedom to choose their own topic. 

The students will be divided into groups of 4 to 5 students each. Different groups will be given or choose a different topic. Their task will be to work together to prepare a presentation on the topic in 15 minutes. The group will have to combine whatever knowledge they have on the topic, structure it as best as they can so that it’s comprehensible by everyone, and present it in whatever medium they prefer, using pictures, spoken word, songs, videos, etc.

The students will be sharing their knowledge on the topic, learning from each other, and then presenting this combined knowledge on the topic to the class, benefiting everyone. Since the task is time bound, the students will have to be quick in their thinking and practice good listening and speaking habits to ensure everyone gets to share their thoughts and ideas and that they make it to the final presentation.

Conclusion

Although they might be contradictory in their approach to learning, both asynchronous and synchronous learning methods, tools, and activities complement each other very well. While one promotes independent learning and encourages one to be in charge of what one does, the other gives an opportunity to learn various social skills and listen to different perspectives along with just the course material. 

So, a holistic curriculum should have a healthy balance of both synchronous and asynchronous learning.

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