Tag Archives: Virtual Classrooms

Managing Virtual Classrooms to Help People Learn Remotely

Think of a virtual classroom as a traditional classroom, except you immerse yourself in the school through a computer or mobile device. Virtual classrooms share most features and benefits of the brick-and-mortar classroom.

However, the virtual classroom, by design, promotes student engagement and group collaboration. Use virtual classrooms as the primary source of instruction or use it as a supplement to the traditional classroom. 

Don’t confuse online learning, distance learning, eLearning, mobile learning, and classroom learning with virtual classroom learning. The virtual classroom experience may use many educational tools, including eLearning or pre-recorded content.

Virtual classrooms aim to simulate the traditional classroom experience and use tools to make the experience more interactive. Teachers interact with their students. Students collaborate with their classmates.  

One of the main benefits of virtual classrooms is the flexibility it offers. Instructors can pre-record sessions. The use of digital whiteboards simulates the traditional classroom. Students can ‘virtually’ raise their hand and still be able to contribute to group discussions.

Once an instructor becomes accustomed to the virtual classroom, they quickly see how much flexibility they have when teaching. Various studies show that virtual classroom instruction is becoming the most requested and delivered model, although other studies indicate the opposite, especially for young learners. 

Managing Virtual Classrooms 

The population of virtual classrooms is growing, especially since the pandemic. However, a thriving virtual classroom environment’s critical element is the learning experience’s instructional design and your virtual classroom software features.  

If your learners primarily access virtual classes from home, they mainly need an internet connection, computer, or mobile device. Ensure your learning management platform integrates with popular virtual or webinar software such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. 

Instructional designers increasingly use blended learning accompanied by a workbook and PowePoint presentations. Virtual classrooms work well with a blended approach. Also, video, assessments, and social learning add interactivity to enhance the learning experience. 

The inventor of the geodesic dome, J Buckminster Fuller, once said, “If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.” He would enjoy the virtual classroom if he were alive, as he had a love of learning. 

Are the Lines Blurring Between the Traditional Classroom and Virtual Classroom 

The following are ‘pros’ of classroom learning from a training provider,  Balance Global. Notice how the yes responses increasingly hold true for virtual classes and consider the additional features that cannot be replicated. The original article compared classroom versus eLearning. 

 Traditional Classroom Virtual Classroom eLearning 
The Human Touch Yes Yes, if not recorded No 
Immediate Feedback Yes Yes, if not recorded No 
Interaction with other learners Yes Yes, if not recorded No 
Catering for different learning styles Yes Yes No 
More scope for varied exercises Yes Yes No 
Focus/removal of distractions Yes No No 
Team Building Yes Yes, with instructor help No 
Tailored Training Yes Yes No 

What to Look for in a Virtual Classroom 

There are various factors to consider to ensure virtual classrooms work. Some technologies and functionality are nice to have and increase learner user experiences, but a no-frills virtual classroom can still be effective. The instructional design, once again, is key to its success. The Instancy Learning Platform consists of five software modules, all built with the learner and instructor in mind. However, some of our critical components include:

1. Comprehensive communication system, including messaging, and voice chat

2. Video Streaming / Conferencing is as close to a live, in-person situation as possible

3. Ability to share files as instructors must have adequate resources to share work and students to submit their work

4. The ability of the student to ‘raise their hand’ during the live course or event

5. Digital Whiteboard – the whiteboard is an integral part of the learning experience, no matter how the course is delivered

6. Group discussion facilities and virtual meeting rooms – in some cases, it may even be a mini virtual classroom itself to facilitate meaningful group communication

7. Easy integration of third-party tools and plug-ins

A person standing in a room

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Instancy Virtual Classroom Event Management System 

Create and manage webinars and virtual classes from within Instancy Learning Management System (iLMS). Add powerful Zoom, GoToMeeting, or GoToTraining (by Citrix) web conferencing capability to events created within iLMS. Conduct live, interactive meetings and presentations and share your desktop with your students. Increase course completion rates by combining eLearning with virtual classrooms. 

Your authors can schedule virtual classrooms from the same content-authoring system where they create eLearning courses and manage media, documents, and quizzes. Instructors can view student enrollment and mark attendance. Students can enroll, view, and track their progress. 

Training Administrators can view student participation and progress reports for stand-alone and blended learning programs in a single place. Assign certificates or gamify (create game-like learning incentives) your virtual classroom programs with Instancy Learning Management System. 

Create webinars and virtual classes from within Instancy LMS without having to sign into multiple applications. You can schedule your webinar, assign instructors, and create presenter and participant URLs. Registered users can launch the webinar directly from the Instancy LMS web interface. 

Publish webinar events to the catalog for the users to search, view, and enroll. Use the eCommerce feature to sell your courses. Create webinar events with a waitlist option. Approve the waitlisted registrants automatically if any confirmed users cancel their enrollments. 

Share your presentations, desktop screen, and videos online with the attendees. Share keyboard and mouse interactions and enable attendees to make changes to shared documents. Increase participation by using built-in drawing and screen highlighting tools. 

Record a webinar with all the screen-share activities you used during the event. The recorded webinar can be auto-published into the LMS catalog after initial viewing by people who could not attend the live event. You can even monetize the recorded session. 

Conclusion 

Think of a world where we learn through our everyday lives. When we travel, we can study as we go. Study science at famous science museums. Find our comfortable space at home, where we focus on the topic we choose. At Instancy, we’re excited about that future. Won’t you join us? 

Increase Effectiveness of Learning using Blended Learning Models

Increase Effectiveness of Learning using Blended Learning Models with Virtual Classrooms or Labs, Social Networking Tools, Enabling Students to Participate in Discussions, Share Videos, Post Comments and Ideas.

 Blended Learning Models
Increase Effectiveness of Learning using Blended Learning Models

The original use of the phrase “blended learning” was often associated with simply linking traditional classroom training to elearning activities, such as asynchronous work (typically accessed by learners outside the class at their own time and pace). However, the term has evolved to encompass a much richer set of learning strategies, technologies and choices.

Blended learning these days combines structured classroom learning with informal modes of learning that use mobile delivery options, virtual classrooms or labs, social networking tools, enabling students to participate in discussions, share videos, post comments and ideas,  and a whole lot more.

Increase Effectiveness of Learning using Blended Learning Models

The benefits of using blended learning programs are two fold:

From a learning perspective:

  • Stronger learning outcomes: Blended learning provides a more engaging learning experience, and hence a stronger learning outcome for the student.
  • More effective learning: Learning occurs over a relatively longer time span, rather than being limited to a learning event. Individuals’ media preferences tend to vary, but combining multiple modes of instructions in a course addresses multiple learning styles.   Therefore, retention rates in blended learning programs are higher since the learners have a greater possibility to applying what they’re learning on the job and sharing their experiences with others.
  • Higher completion rates: Compared to an all elearning course, blended learning courses show higher completion rates. Students have higher likelihood of finishing a course which encompasses all aspects of a learning experience including content, discussions, assignments and evaluation mechanism and greater sense of accountability.

From a business perspective:

  • Higher perceived value: The audience attach a higher perceived value to blended learning courses because of opportunities to interact with experts. This means that they are willing to pay more for such programs.
  • Optimized Development Cost and Time: A totally online, self-paced, media-rich, Web-based training content may be too expensive to produce in all instances (requiring multiple resources and skills), but combining virtual collaborative and coaching sessions with simpler self-paced materials can optimize development time as well as effort, and create programs that are just as effective, if not more. New, fresh content can be added over time to keep students up to date with the information. Therefore, blended learning programs provide more economical scalability in distributing the training programs.
  • Higher revenue potential through membership revenue: As these blended learning courses are usually of relatively longer duration, there is potential for subscription based revenue model.  Membership based on monthly subscription can provide recurring revenue streams for training providers.
  • Increased reach/accessibility: Traditional classroom sessions require working professionals to be away from work for 2-3 days or longer at a time, which may not always work from the business perspective. In contrast, think of virtual classroom events such as webinars, which are inclusive of remote audiences. When followed up with recorded knowledge objects (ability to playback a recorded live event) and social collaboration, can extend the reach to those who could not attend at a specific time.

Let’s take the example of a 6 month course on Financial Analysis. Using the blended learning format, the basics can be covered using elearning modules, while regular webinars can provide students opportunities to interact with, and learn from experts.

Social networking tools as well as mobile tools can be used to extend reach and encourage collaborative learning. Discussion boards enable students to share ideas, videos, post comments. Assessment modules enable them to test their learning.

The revenue model can be based on a membership program with a recurring revenue stream, where members pay subscriptions every month to attend new webinars and gain access to fresh articles or training modules. Thus, the revenue potential is fairly high.

It is time to give blended a serious look:  to a model of learning which is flexible, which uses formal as well as informal tools of learning, and provides benefits of self paced as well as collaborative learning at lower costs and higher revenue possibilities.