Virtual Classrooms

As the name suggests, virtual classes are a way of running live training sessions using software and platforms that allow us to be in different locations than our participants, while we conduct live training sessions.

We may have experience running live classroom sessions where we are all in the same room and this experience can certainly help prepare us for a virtual session. There are however key differences between running a classroom session to running a virtual class.

Three Key Differences Between In-Person and Virtual Teaching

Instructional designers or eLearning instructors might believe that moving their face-to-face teaching online is a simple matter of choosing a virtual classroom platform and speaking to the webcam.

We can never fully expect that virtual classrooms will replace or have the same impact as a real life classroom. Depending on the training, the content and the learning objectives, we may ultimately need to run our session as a live classroom session. If our training content is accredited through an industry body and possibly requires hands-on interaction with tools to gain competency in the required skill, then nothing else will come close to a live face-to-face environment.

Understanding the key differences between live classroom and virtual classrooms will allow us to better prepare our chosen deliver method. It’s quite possible that a face-to-face class may not necessarily be the best delivery method if in fact we can achieve the desired outcome using a virtual class or even self-paced learning.

The following article discusses webinar delivery to the extreme. I was travelling around Australia while delivering AITD classes virtually, and my lessons learnt are captured in this article.

How to facilitate a webinar from the front seat of your car

Have a backup. Think of the worst-case scenario and prepare for that. In the past, I’ve emailed the presentation before hand, and had to rely on a teleconference and guiding everyone through the presentation over the phone. This will of course limit the amount of interactive discussions especially if you were using discussion threads, screen sharing or whiteboard functionality of the webinar software. Luckily, I didn’t have to resort to this.

Virtual Class Platforms

Along with the usual players such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Adobe Connect, there are other ways we can meet virtually and below are some newer players in the market that provide a rather different experience to those known platforms.

Frame VR – https://learn.framevr.io

FRAME makes it easy to come together with your co-workers, students, or audience in an immersive online space, right from the browser.

Sprout Place – https://sprout.place

Create a virtual space to meet, chat, and play with your favorite people.

Do you think there are opportunities to try different types of virtual meeting places to help with engagement?

Resources

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