Distance learning (otherwise known as correspondence education or correspondence courses) has been around now since the late 19th century, when educators began using the postal service to distribute written educational documents to learners. And the early 20th century saw audio and film material recorded and distributed for use in training adults, particularly those in the military. But until the advent of the internet, most education was performed synchronously, in person, in classrooms.
But thanks to the rapid spread of the world wide web, asynchronous online learning has really taken off, with conventional school and college colleges being enhanced and augmented by a wide variety of asynchronous learning tools that allows learners to study, practice, and train when and where it suits them to do so.
And due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, educators worldwide have been forced to improvise and innovate, with asynchronous learning becoming more important than ever before. The fact is that the rise of asynchronous online learning has been much more difficult for tradition learners than it has been for the students, most of whom have lived with the internet at the center of their lives since infancy, and to whom asynchronous learning, working, and playing are perfectly normal.
This migration from synchronicity to asynchronicity has huge implications for business leaders. While remote work and asynchronous communication are becoming more and more common, they are systems most businesses would not have adopted by choice had there not been a pandemic. Shared physical workspaces and face-to-face communication are still the norm in the working world. But for how much longer?
The asynchronous learners of the present are the workers, colleagues and team members of the future, and businesses need to start adapting now, or else find themselves left behind in a decade or two. Working teams traditionally communicate mostly through synchronous methods i.e. meetings, phone calls, speaking-face-to-face, or yelling from one end of the office to the other. But this is going to seem strange, uncomfortable, counter-productive, and inefficient to workers who’ve just emerged from an education characterised by the use of asynchronous tools that allowed them the flexibility to learn and work according to their own style.
Today’s adults might find it baffling and infuriating that their teenage children can’t hold a face-to-face conversation with mum or dad without texting and/or calling at least two of their friends at the exact same time (and we’re not saying this is necessarily healthy), but the fact is that in the age of social media, synchronous and asynchronous communication are constantly overlapping and blending together. This is simply what the adults of the future are going to be used to, just as some of the young adults of the present already are.
A 2019 study at Ohio State University found that multitasking makes teenagers feel both more negative and more positive about their tasks. Well, since when did teenagers ever know what they really want?
It’s not as if synchronous communication is ever going to go away completely, but it’s clear that a huge transition towards asynchronous communication is already underway, and there’s absolutely no turning it back. And switching from synchronous to asynchronous processes is not a simple process - no company can make the switch overnight. New processes, procedures, and expectations have to be developed, tested and defined at every level of an organization, and this can take years to get right.
The process of making the challenging, but ultimately positive, transition from synchronous to asynchronous communication within your organization starts with the right tools. And Woice is designed specifically to cater to the blended communication habits that have quite suddenly become the norm in the space of little more than a decade. Woice is as adaptable, flexible, and organized as you want your team to be.