Common issues in asynchronous elearning and how to mitigate them

Posted by Greten on 19 Feb 2023 under Tips

Asynchronous elearning, or asynchronous online learning, has become increasingly popular due to its flexibility and convenience. However, it has its challenges. There are various obstacles that learners and instructors experience regarding asynchronous elearning, ranging from technological difficulties to a lack of engagement and support.

Let's look at some of the most common asynchronous elearning difficulties and offer strategies to help learners and instructors overcome them.

Lack of interactivity

Without interactive aspects such as simulations, games, or movies, your learners can perceive elearning as dull and uninteresting.

Learners benefit from elearning, yet it can occasionally fall short in terms of engaging your learners. They can see elearning as dull and uninspiring when it lacks interactive features such as simulations, games, and videos. This can leave your learners disinterested and disengaged, affecting their drive to learn and their entire learning experience.

An employee taking an online course using a computer.

On the other hand, elearning that contains interactive features can be more engaging and pleasant, helping keep your learners interested and motivated throughout the learning process. These interactive aspects also give a more diversified and dynamic learning experience, which can help learners stay engaged and invested in the subject.

Hence, introducing interactive features is one way to make elearning less dull and more engaging. This can improve the overall learning experience for learners by making it more engaging and entertaining, as well as aiding in developing a positive attitude toward learning.

Technical difficulties

The learners' or students' learning experiences might be hampered by technical concerns such as poor loading times, compatibility issues, and insufficient bandwidth.

Technical concerns in elearning can significantly impact the quality of the learning experience. For example, slow loading times can aggravate and disturb the learning process. You can encounter compatibility issues when elearning modules are incompatible with the devices or software learners use, making it difficult for them to access or use the contents. Furthermore, insufficient bandwidth might cause delayed or interrupted video playback, reducing the efficiency of video-based learning exercises. These technological flaws might cause learners to become disengaged, potentially affecting their overall learning outcomes.

To alleviate technical challenges and lessen the likelihood of experiencing them, elearning developers must check that the technical infrastructure is stable and reliable. One way you or your team can do this is to beta test the elearning modules to as many devices and systems as feasible, prioritizing those most of your learners are using. You must test the elearning module on at least one computer, one tablet, and one smartphone. You also need to try it across different systems such as Windows, Ios, or Linux, and different browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, and Edge, among others. Then, patch up any errors you encounter or warn your learners that the module works only on specific devices, systems, or browsers.

Inadequate support

Learners may struggle to gain appropriate support and clarity on course material if they do not have access to instructors or tutors.

For some learners who require instant support or clarification on the course material, the lack of real-time connection with instructors in asynchronous online learning can be a hindrance to learning if not deeper understanding. This is because learners may not be able to raise questions in real-time and obtain rapid responses.

A young learner receiving coaching from an instructor.

As a result, learners unable to understand a subject or complete an assignment may become frustrated or overwhelmed. Furthermore, learners who prefer hands-on, face-to-face learning may find it difficult to fully engage with course material in an asynchronous online learning environment. This lack of timely assistance or clarification can also impact a learner's motivation and interest in the course, resulting in reduced participation and performance. If learners cannot obtain the necessary help, they may become disheartened and consider dropping out of the course.

To address this difficulty, you or another person responsible, such as SME or instructor, must maintain an open communication channel with learners and make themselves available for clarification or help via email, instant messaging, or discussion boards. You can also organize frequent tutorial sessions to allow learners to express questions and receive one-on-one assistance. This helps ensure that learners receive the assistance required to excel in their studies.

Accessibility issues

Certain elearning materials may be inaccessible to all learners, especially those with disabilities or restricted access to technology.

The availability of elearning materials is an essential feature of elearning. However, you must remember that not all learners have equal access to technology. If digital materials are not created to be inclusive, learners with impairments, for example, may struggle to access them. In addition, insufficient technology or inadequate internet access are also hurdles to gaining access to elearning materials. This can hinder some learners from participating in online learning activities or gaining access to necessary course resources, resulting in inequities in learning experiences and outcomes.

You or your organization should address these issues by making elearning materials available to all learners, regardless of their ability or technological resources. This can be accomplished by employing accessible design approaches, providing alternative formats for content, and ensuring that all learners have access to technology and the internet.

Limited personalization

Elearning can be impersonal since it generally takes a one-size-fits-all approach.

Learners in elearning may receive a generic, standardized education that does not consider their specific circumstances or existing knowledge. As a result, learners may lack interest and motivation since they do not believe the content is relevant to them or their needs. A one-size-fits-all strategy also fails to address learners' various learning requirements. As a result, it may not give some kids the level of assistance and guidance required. This might result in learners becoming frustrated and not fully comprehending the subject, which can negatively impact their learning outcome.

To solve this difficulty, elearning providers should strive for a level of personalization balanced with your organization's budget and your employees' limited time. For example, set up the elearning module with a pretest. Then, if the learner passes, the learning management system (LMS) and your records will reflect that the learner completed it without requiring them to run through the module. This allows learners with prior knowledge of the course material (or who remember it well enough in case of mandatory recurring trainings) to bypass an obligatory course.

Another strategy to personalize elearning is to ensure that all learners, particularly those with disabilities, can absorb the learning content while adhering to standard accessibility principles. However, customization does not entail modifying your elearning resources to suit the whims and mere preferences of individual learners, nor does it mean you should adhere to unscientific learning personalization techniques such as sorting your learners based on "learning styles".

Assessment challenges

Evaluating learner success in an elearning environment can be tricky since it lacks the human connection and assessment that traditional classroom-based education provides.

Assessment in elearning has distinct issues that are not seen in typical classroom-based education. In contrast to traditional classroom exams, which frequently require direct interaction with instructors, elearning assessments rely on automated algorithms to score and evaluate learner performance. Because of the lack of human involvement, the assessment process may receive less feedback, specific attention, and personalization. Furthermore, elearning evaluations often focus on objective-type assessments, such as multiple choice questions, rather than more subjective assessments, such as essays or class participation, which provide a more complete picture of learner comprehension and ability.

As a result, you should create innovative techniques to assess learners' performance and deliver meaningful feedback to improve the learning experience. For example, certain elearning authoring tools and LMSs allow you to create a text area field where learners can type their answers to essay-style questions. These answers are not scored immediately but instead transmitted to an instructor to be graded manually. The grade can be encoded later in the LMS under the learner's account. There are also artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that can grade essay-style quizzes, but whether or not to use this technology is up to your organization.

Inadequate motivation

Some learners may struggle to remain motivated in an elearning environment, especially if they lack direction or feel estranged from the learning process.

Learners are often not physically present in a classroom with their peers and instructors in an elearning environment. As a result, they may feel disconnected from the learning process or driven to stay engaged with the course content. This lack of interaction with peers and instructors can lead to a loss of direction and purpose for the learner, affecting motivation and overall engagement with the elearning program. Additionally, learners may experience an impersonal elearning environment, which might contribute to a loss of motivation.

To overcome this, elearning programs must give learners a clear framework and goals, regular opportunities for contact with peers and instructors, and a personalized learning experience that considers each learner's particular needs and experience.


Asynchronous elearning presents several challenges for learners, including technical difficulties, lack of interactivity, limited access to support, issues with accessibility and personalization, assessment issues, and inadequate motivation. To address these challenges, developers can introduce interactive features, ensure stable technical infrastructure, maintain open communication channels between instructors and learners, provide accessible design approaches and alternative content formats, personalize learning through pre-tests and accessibility principles, deliver effective assessment and feedback, and provide clear goals and regular contact with peers and instructors to keep learners motivated. By implementing these strategies, the overall e-learning experience can be improved for learners, making it more engaging and effective.

Last updated on 19 Feb 2023.

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