Running a virtual classroom
During the global pandemic, many of us switched to online coaching as a way of connecting with our clients because face to face coaching was no longer possible. However, we were all learning on the job and getting comfortable with this new approach as video calls became the new norm both inside and outside of work.
And with so many of us suddenly working from home, video calls quickly became the go-to option and still have many benefits no matter what the activity. From virtual yoga and personal training sessions to mindfulness and coaching. But one area that needs more than just switching on a webcam and pointing it in the right direction, is online learning.
Most of our face to face classroom training was put on hold during the pandemic as we all moved online, however some companies did still need to deliver training but quickly spotted the limitations of Skype and Teams, so they looked for alternative eLearning modules. The advantage of this more professional approach was the ability to welcome students and learners into a virtual classroom where they could fully utilize all of the interactive elements on offer.
This would also feel similar to the way learners interact when face to face because the virtual classroom could offer them a fully immersive digital space. This approach enabled learners (during a training course) to communicate with each other, consult training materials and use the many interactive tools to participate in any educational activities.
A virtual classroom allows you to:
- View all participants invited
- View a list of connected participants
- Send instant messages
- Communicate via the microphone
- Interact on a shared whiteboard to write things down
- Share notes
- Distribute resources
- Raise your hand
- Record the virtual classroom
- Launch a survey
- Share your screen and any information you have open on your computer
- Show a video posted on social media and YouTube
The main advantages of the virtual classroom:
- It allows you to work with people regardless of their geographic location
- Unlike a traditional e-learning course, the virtual classroom is fully interactive and offers the possibility of immediate feedback
- It encourages social learning, which is a learning mode that includes social interaction like chat and any social networks within companies
Please note: A virtual classroom does however demand more preparation by the coach or trainer than you would need for a traditional face-to-face course. This is because as well as mastering these new tools, you will also have to think (in advance) about how you will deliver the overall training and what tools you would like to use. This may involve practice to ensure you are comfortable and can focus on the learning and not on the technology.
The virtual classroom doesn’t restrict you to only using the tools included in the software or online environment you pick. You can also incorporate a range of other multimedia tools into your virtual training sessions. And maybe try incorporating ‘Connectivism’, a theoretical framework for understanding learning in a digital age. It emphasizes how internet technologies such as web browsers, search engines, wikis, online discussion forums, and social networks contributed to new avenues of learning.
The aim of this is to connect learners to the knowledge network, so they can use it independently and effectively. It also seeks to connect learners with each other so they can share, develop and transfer their knowledge. This has the virtue of reminding us that with the wealth of knowledge available and its perpetual evolution, knowing where to find the right resources is now a skill we should all try to develop.
Linking learners’ knowledge to relevant external resources and giving them the tools to follow the evolution of knowledge in their field – in a way establishing a knowledge map – is just as important as learning something by using long-established knowledge or resources.
If you would like to know how to set up and run a virtual classroom and maximize the opportunity this new type of interactive learning has over the more basic webcam approach, check out our exclusive ebook in the online shop:
- Ebook : The Virtual Classroom – This ebook explains everything you need to know about the virtual classroom so you can learn how to set up and run successful interactive training sessions. It includes valuable insight on what software to use, managing the classroom session and the difference between the physical and virtual environment. Plus our top tips and tricks for always looking good on camera.
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