The old-school classroom, where teachers and students meet face-to-face, is being pushed aside. Taking its place is the virtual classroom, where participants share educational content through on-line tools. More convenient and less expensive than traditional training, the virtual classroom has become commonplace in the corporate realm. The advantage over traditional classroom learning is clear: Virtual classrooms offer an interactive training experience from the comfort of one’s home, office, or other learning environment.
Specialized software is enabling this shift to online learning. The use of virtual classroom software enables content to be delivered to any internet-connected devices, such as PCs, Macs, mobile tablets, or even smart phones. The virtual classroom environment offers many of the elements of the inperson training experience. Integrated video and audio creates a visual connection between instructors and students. Chat windows are used to pose questions to the instructor or to communicate with other students. Information, slides, a screen share, or an electronic whiteboard can be pushed from the instructor’s device. Diagrams or hand-drawn artwork can be shared in real time. Other features include buttons for students to raise a hand, applaud, or laugh… although these should be used sparingly.
Most virtual classroom software is designed to run in the cloud. Cloud hosting decreases startup costs and improves scalability over on-premise software. Training providers can quickly implement a basic package, then add capabilities such as session recording and transcription. As usage grows, licensing can be increased to offer more classes or accommodate more students. Integration with related systems, such as learning management or continuing professional education tracking, is a commonly used add-on. Cloud-hosted virtual classrooms may be useful for a specialized training provider or to a company that provides in-house training to personnel.
Virtual classroom technology is changing the training landscape. Virtual classrooms can be established with just a few mouse clicks and create a personal connection with video and audio. The need to meet in a physical classroom has been removed, saving travel time. With all of the benefits of a virtual classroom, it is no surprise its popularity is increasing rapidly.
If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Norm DuBow at firstname.lastname@example.org or 844.4WINDES (844.494.6337).