There is a rich and extensive literature on the potential contribution of asynchronous online support to student learning. It is claimed that it presents opportunities to develop independent self-directed learners, providing a good foundation for lifelong learning, and in some cases offering greater choice to students and a wider range of teaching approaches. It offers a greater scope for reflection than is possible in face-to-face environments; provides access to wider, more readily updated resources; and some writers claim that it can enhance learner engagement and a sense of community. According to Collis:
Of course, the extent to which any of this is achievable in practice is another matter. The environment may offer potential, but a wide variety of factors will influence the success of the strategy. The bottom line is that asynchronous environments give you more time to think, and when online they commonly
use a written medium, so an asynchronous discussion will offer a qualitatively different experience to a verbal discussion in a classroom.