COVID-19 preventive measures required a drastic shift to online teaching-learning in most of countries. Institutions used different combinations of live online lectures (synchronous) requiring students to attend the class in real-time, as well as recorded lectures uploaded by the instructors to be accessed by students as per their own convenience (asynchronous). We undertook this study to assess and compare the perceptions of students regarding their learning experiences in the synchronous versus asynchronous mode of instruction using their teaching-learning during the compulsory online mode of instruction at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This cross-sectional questionnaire-based study received responses from 122 final-year medical students studying at the College of Medicine, King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia. An online 5-point Likert scale-based questionnaire was used to collect data regarding experience and perception towards synchronous and asynchronous learning. Statistical analysis was done using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 21.0. A P-value less than 0.05 was considered significant.
All the students found both synchronous and asynchronous learning to be equally satisfying, enjoyable and comfortable. No statistically significant difference was found when both the methods were analyzed for enhancement of knowledge. The students opined that asynchronous learning helped them manage their time better whereas synchronous learning encouraged more interaction during the live lectures.
Overall, the students' perceptions regarding both synchronous and asynchronous online learning were positive. As both methods have their advantages/limitations, a mix of both synchronous and asynchronous methods may be adopted depending upon the content of the topic and the desired learning outcomes.