Synchronous learning refers to a form of education, learning or instruction in which the student learns from the instructor in real time but not necessarily in person or in the same place. The most basic example of synchronous learning is the classroom environment, but now e-learning alternatives have become available. E-learning is often done via a teleconference or video conference over a network such as the Internet, and it can take the form of one-on-one tutorials and even online seminars, often called webinars.
In synchronous learning, all participants take part at the same time, including all students and instructors. This is a face-to-face environment where teachers and students can interact personally in real time. The only requirement for synchronous learning is that all participants are able to interact in real time, be it face-to-face or via Web videoconferencing tools such as Skype and the like.
All traditional learning environments that take place at a school, room or any local grounds are considered to be synchronous learning. By contrast, online, distance or e-learning can be either synchronous or asynchronous. Asynchronous learning involves lessons that are prerecorded so that students can view them at any time they wish, whereas synchronous occurs live at a specific time.