Synchronous and asynchronous communication tools are utilized to facilitate participation among students and groups of people which is generally complied in an eLearning environment. However, until recently eLearning was developed by relying on asynchronous learning which has been shifted to synchronous as well with the aid of improvements in technology and with a drive to expand the horizons for eLearning.
Asynchronous eLearning is commonly aided by media such as e-mail, for example, e-mail, discussion boards, support work relations among learners and with teachers even when the students or learners who cannot be report online at the coinciding time (synchronous nature). It is there vital as acting as the key component for flexible eLearning. Considerable amount of people depends on asynchronous eLearning as they have asynchronous time, collaborating education with jobs, family or other components.
Synchronous eLearning is generally promoted and encouraged by multimedia such as videoconferencing and chat, which has the potential to help eLearners in the evolution and improvement of learning communities. Learners and the teachers experience synchronous eLearning to be more social and ensure that the learners queries and instantly attended to. It is believed that in synchronous eLearning session, the eLearners feel like they are participants and not isolates.
Quite a few of the asynchronous and the synchronous eLearning tools overlap. However, they differ by how they offer or provide the services. Some of tools that overlap are:
Blackboard and WebCT offers message board forum, chats, email and wiki.
Elluminate provides services such as whiteboarding, VoIP, chat and video.
Evernote offers organizing and categorizing information and file sharing.
Go To Meeting and Zoho offers whiteboarding, chat, VoIP and video.
Edmodo offers SNS and chat.
Facebook, Myspace and Nexopia provides services like SNS and chat in social websites.
Google apps offers emails, video and text chat, file and calendar sharing
Moodle provides CMS, forum and chat.
RealtimeBoard and Mural offers chat, video chat, whiteboard and file sharing.
Voice Thread facilitates synchronous and asynchronous eLearning through file sharing, audio and video chat.
While the method of facilitating the synchronous and asynchronous eLearning tools may come across as similar, the costs may swing between high maintenance or efficient. They also differ in the scheme of implementation as in how they go about facilitating the tools.
Some of distinctive asynchronous eLearning tools are:
MediaWiki utilizes wiki (free open sources) to multiple users. This independently functions only as an asynchronous eLearning tool utilizing its principles.
Popplet and Padlet employs collaborative brainstorming. In this the users can organize, make connections and comment on ideas in a collaborative concept webs (Popplet) or through virtual sticky notes (Padlet).
Some of the independent synchronous eLearning tools are:
Messenger, as the name suggests, offers eLearning facilitation through chat. It functions through instant chatting/messaging with no fee affiliated.
Skype uses VoIP and video chats is available free but bears some paid features that have its own advantages. It is available across multiple platforms such as Linus, Windows MacOS etc and can also be run on multiple handheld device making it easily accessible for the learner.
In asynchronous tools talk about developing eLearning using Captivate, Articulate, Camtasia, ADAPT etc.