The growth of online learning software has brought with it a whole host of new buzzwords and definitions. There are so many opportunities now open to training schools, learning facilities and course providers that it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of them all.
One of the misconceptions we come across most regularly is confusion between a virtual classroom and a online learning software (which can also be referred to as an LCMS or a Learning Content Management System). These are two distinct digital tools that can be used separately but often work in partnership with each other.
Here’s what the difference is:
#1. A virtual classroom is…
A virtual classroom or VCR is an online learning environment that allows live interaction between a teacher and his students. Virtual classrooms also facilitate communication and collaborative learning. Students can use them to communicate with their tutors and fellow students via video chat, audio chat or instant messaging tools.
The virtual classroom is often particularly beneficial to students as it is run on cloud based technology. This means that can be accessed from wherever they are, on whatever device they’re using. These types of learning spaces can also be used at any time of day or night, whenever suits the student.
#2. An online learning software (LCMS) is….
A comprehensive software suite designed for educational establishments and training providers. It allows organisations to administrate all elements of their course provision from one central hub. This includes: course enrolment, storing student details, managing communications, tracking progress, storing learning resources, facilitating timetabling, taking payments for courses, providing online assessments, course content creation, and providing online learning spaces such as virtual classrooms and virtual campuses.
Most types of LCMS software are cloud based, which means they are really easy for course providers to install and run. They are typically managed centrally by administrators, but allow staff and students to log in from wherever they choose, without needing to install the software directly onto their own computer or devices.
#3. How do they work together?
Typically, a learning content management system will offer virtual classroom provision as one of its features. This means that the training schools and course providers that invest in LCMS software will be able to use it to host virtual classrooms for their students.
This can be hugely beneficial to all parties involved, as a virtual classroom is the perfect digital learning space to share resources, host web chats, view video content and access learning activities.
A good learning content management system will be completely customisable. Our Voluxion software package allows users to upload their own branding and gives full control to allow them to control who sees what. It’s possible to set a whole range of different permissions so that administrators, tutors and students will all be able to access very different things when they log in to the system. In fact, most students will be able to log in to their virtual classroom without necessarily being aware of how much the LCMS software is doing behind the scenes.
#4. Why should you use an online learning software alongside a virtual classroom?
Though it is certainly possible to host a virtual classroom without the assistance of a learning content management system, you may not want to do so. An LCMS will offer a whole host of features and tools that support the virtual classroom and make the service you’re able to offer alongside it so much more valuable.
These tools include:
- Automated assessments
- A wide range of tracking and measurement tools
- Help with learning content creation
- Integrated enrolment tools
- Integrated payment tools
- A full range of communication facilities
Though students may not be aware of the software that is in place, they will almost certainly enjoy the benefits of it. Learning content management software makes the online learning process so much easier to manage. Students are likely to particularly enjoy easy access to the virtual classroom, faster and more accurate assessments, the range of social tools, and how easy it is to enrol and pay for the courses they want to take.
If your organisation is looking to invest in a learning content management system, either for the first time or as an upgrade, it’s wise to do your research into what types of software are available. It may be helpful to consider software that is specially designed for your industry, whether you are a language school, a university or other educational establishment, or a corporate organisation.
Whatever you’re looking for, we’re always on hand to talk you through the options that are available.