Analysis of academic performance in continuing education programs: An evaluation of synchronous and asynchronous online platform usage

Veronica Jara-Troncoso, Cristian Saavedra-Acuna, Monica Quezada-Espinoza

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Important advances in information and communication technologies in the last few decades, specifically given the emergence of the Internet, led to conceiving and developing e-learning platforms. Rapid diversification in online teaching environments ensued, where synchronous and asynchronous modalities became differentiated. The appearance of these modalities has facilitated aspirations for further specialization by adult students, while also continuing with their work commitments. In these last two years, given the Covid-19 pandemic, has seen online education become a vital resource in furthering academic activity in the majority of educational centers in the world. Traditional face-to-face classes were adapted as much as possible to a synchronous virtual environment, where students and teachers go to virtual meetings for classroom related activities. Thus the teacher has an opportunity for direct student interaction. They can take advantage of various synchronous technologies, including slideshows, raising their (virtual) hand for special attention, public and private chatrooms, desktop sharing, whiteboard sharing, and more. While asynchronous e-learning is where the student is able to self-regulate their learning, their times and progress, as under this modality, course contents are uploaded onto a platform, while the the student also uploads a return schedule for deliverables, including activities and evaluations. So the interaction with the student becomes asynchronous, through tools such as the forum or in work feedback tools. In some cases, there are optional online (synchronous) meeting sessions with a teacher to clarify doubts or further comment specific issues. At the University where this study was undertaken, continuing education students can choose any of the above modalities for industrial engineering programs, unlike regular students, whose only option is synchronous classes. The format of the continuing education program (which is known as the Advance study program) is a shorter, continuous university degree, when compared to the traditional one. Students who enroll in an Advanced study program already have work experience, a professional degree and a prior body of knowledge, all of which has been validated and recognized by the University. This allows students in this program to obtain their industrial engineering degree in 2 or 3 years, compared with the 4 or 5 years a regular program would take, plus supported by an accredited university in Chile and the United States. The present work analyses if the type of modality, synchronous or asynchronous, bears any influence on the academic performance of students in the Advance study program. Variables involved in analyzing academic performance are average grades, percentage of assignments failed and overall dropout rate. The sample is made up of 1,021 students enrolled in the Advance Industrial Engineering program in both modalities, synchronous or asynchronous. A variance analysis reveals there are no statistically significant differences in academic performance between students from either group under analysis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2022
Event129th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Excellence Through Diversity, ASEE 2022 - Minneapolis, United States
Duration: 26 Jun 202229 Jun 2022


  • academic performance
  • continuing studies
  • online learning
  • synchronous and asynchronous instruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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