The eLearning Guild Getting Started series of reports will help you understand the concepts common to e-Learning design, development, and delivery. We base each report on eLearning Guild member data and the experience and insights of many people and organizations including this report’s author. Guild members with more experience have learned important lessons along the way that will be helpful to you as you get started. Each report will help you make sense of the options and evaluate both your and your organization’s needs.

Asynchronous e-Learning is enormously popular. Its self-service, use-as-needed approach appeals to both management and learners. Unlike synchronous e-Learning, which happens "live" at a specific time, asynchronous e-Learning refers to "on-demand" learning materials that the learner can access and use whenever and wherever he or she wants.

This report describes differences between synchronous and asynchronous e-Learning approaches that you should consider when deciding which to use (or determining how to combine these approaches). It also covers the categories of asynchronous authoring tools and Guild members’ usage of these tools, including which ones they use most, which are easiest to learn and use, and which are preferred by those who are newer to e-Learning and those who are more experienced with e-Learning.

Learners’ computing environments and other technical and non-technical issues can have an impact on what tools you’ll want to use, so the report covers these factors as well when recommending authoring tools. In most cases, the choice is a balancing act, like most purchasing decisions. Asynchronous e-Learning will help you choose the approach and tools that will best meet both your needs and your learners'.