Demand for online classes is sky high and on the rise. More and more students want to be able to access a type of learning that is designed to suit them. The internet has democratised learning and there has never been an easier time for individuals to enrol in online courses, improve their skills and gain qualifications.
One of the key side effects of this democratisation of learning is that it’s not just young people who are seeking to gain new skills. Individuals of any age are now choosing to sign up to courses online. This new differentiation of ages has had a big impact on the practicalities of offering online courses.
A larger proportion of older students will have additional responsibilities such as full time or part time jobs and families to care for. This means that training courses are having to become more flexible in order to fit around the existing responsibilities for their students and ensure that success is still possible despite this.
Technology has helped a great deal here. Many educational facilities and training providers have invested in a learning platform such as a learning management system (LMS) or learning content management system (LCMS) in order to offer high quality online courses, many of which are taught in a virtual classroom.
If your organisation is new to teaching online classes, you may be looking for guidance on how to deliver it successfully.
Invest in the right digital tools
In order to facilitate a successful online course, your organisation will need to invest in some key pieces of technology. Software packages such as learning management systems (LMS) and learning content management systems (LCMS) will offer your organisation a vitally important platform from which to deliver your online classes.
There is one very important point here: you’ll want to ensure the LMS or LCMS platform you choose to invest in comes with a virtual classroom. Virtual classrooms offer you and your students a digital learning space from which to deliver live classes to students which can be broadcast directly to whatever tech devices they are working on, be it a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Understand the full capabilities of your learning platform
In order to ensure your students get the most from the online class experience, it’s important to make sure your tutors understand all the facilities your LMS or LCMS platform has to offer.
High quality virtual classroom software will enable you to teach integrated live classrooms that are compatible with Skype or Telephony. The feature that is likely to be the most beneficial to both tutors and students is the virtual whiteboard. This part of virtual classrooms makes it possible to share documents, videos and exercises quickly, easily and efficiently. The virtual whiteboard also offers the ideal opportunity for tutors to bring in additional learning resources as it can be used to share any application that may be beneficial to your students.
Virtual classrooms can also be used to record classes. This means that any students who are not able to access the virtual classroom during the live class will be able to catch up later on what they’ve missed.
Make full use of learning resources
In virtual classrooms, just as in a traditional face to face classroom environments, resources are an important part of the learning experience. Tutors can make full use of the exercises and activities provided by their LMS or LCMS platform. Reading material, third party learning applications, images and videos can also be extremely beneficial here.
Consider class sizes
Though in practical terms there are no real limitations to how big each virtual class can be, it’s wise to carefully consider how many students to invite to each virtual session. Virtual classrooms can accommodate anything from one to one tuition to large lecture style teaching.
Be confident, look right at the webcam, smile and interact.
Once you have the right technology and learning resources in place, it’s important for your tutor to take some time to practice their delivery. Confidence is very important here: the tutor needs to reassure students that they are in safe hands! It’s also wise for tutors to ensure they are looking right at the webcam throughout the online class, and that they are smiling.
Interaction is also very important. A two way dialogue will help to ensure that students get the best out of the learning experience. This will also make it easier for students to ask questions or request clarification.
If your educational organisation or training provider is looking to expand into high quality online class delivery, you may want to take a look at what Voluxion, our specialist LMS, LCMS and virtual classroom software package, could offer you.
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