Synchronous learning refers to a learning event in which a group of students are engaging in learning at the same time.
Before learning technology allowed for synchronous learning environments, most online education took place through asynchronous learning methods. Since synchronous tools that can be used for education have become available, many people are turning to them as a way to help decrease the challenges associated with transactional distance that occurs in online education. Several case studies that found that students are able to develop a sense of community over online synchronous communication platforms.
While many online educational programs started out as and with the advent of web conferencing tools, people can learn at the same time in different places as well. For example, use of instant messaging or live chat, webinars and video conferencing allow for students and teachers to collaborate and learn in real time.