The educational market can be extremely competitive. Many educational and training organisations have looked to the digital world for new opportunities. Making the decision to teach courses online can open up a whole profitable new world.
Of course, the challenges don’t end when training organisations choose to embrace the digital world and its many possibilities. Though the digital world is rich with opportunities, it can sometimes be tricky to navigate them. Those that are new to the educational technology sphere may find that they are up against a whole range of unfamiliar jargon.
Jargon that’s associated with online courses includes:
- Virtual classroom
- Learning Management System (LMS)
- Learning Content Management System (LMS)
- Virtual campus
The virtual classroom is one of the most misunderstood tools in educational technology. They can be incredibly useful, but they’re often under utilised.
What is a virtual classroom?
Virtual classrooms are online spaces that are designed for learning. They’re typically part of a larger learning platform such as a learning management system (LMS) or a virtual campus. They facilitate live teaching, either one-to-one or for a group. This includes live video and audio streaming capabilities, an interactive whiteboard set up, file repositories for sharing additional resources and text chat options.
Most virtual classrooms are accessed via cloud based software. This means that they are hosted by the educational or training organisation themselves. Students and tutors won’t need to download anything onto their own computers in order to use it.
In fact, a good virtual classroom (like the ones we offer as part of Voluxion, our learning management system) will be accessible from a whole range of devices, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets and even smartphones. This is excellent for organisations who want to teach courses online to a whole range of students, including those who are studying around existing jobs, courses and commitments.
What’s the best way to use a virtual classroom?
Without a doubt, one of the most exciting things about virtual classrooms is that they can be completely customised to the needs of the educational or training organisation, the tutor and their students. How an organisation chooses to use this tool is completely up to them and the type of content they have to offer.
As there are so many possibilities to choose from, a virtual classroom can make it far more intuitive for organisations to teach courses online. With them help of a learning management system, training and educational organisations can explore a whole range of impressive new ways to engage with their students.
#1.Share video lectures
Organisations who have set out to teach courses online with no face-to-face classroom elements may wish to replace this with video content. When used in addition to written learning materials, videos can add some much needed personality and warmth to an online course. It’s also important to note that all students will have different learning styles and preferences, so providing a range of options can help to ensure all students are properly engaged with the course.
#2.Host live chats
In addition to video lectures, hosting live chats can be an excellent way to involve the learning community and make the learning process a lot more dynamic. A good learning management system will offer a wide range of ways to do this from within a virtual classroom. Some organisations will choose to do this via video link, while others may prefer a text-based live chat.
Either way, this can be an extremely productive way to use a virtual classroom to bring students together at the same time to enhance their learning experience.
#3.Share interactive learning activities
Encourage active participation in the learning process by ensuring the virtual classroom includes interactive learning and revision activities. Most learning management system virtual classroom tools will make it possible to do this with very little preparation necessary on behalf of the tutors.
#4.Incorporate instant feedback
Everyone responds well to instant feedback on how well they’re doing. This can be done within virtual classrooms by taking advantage of one of the most popular features of a learning management system: automated assessments. Automated assessments are a fantastic tool for organisations who have chosen to teach courses online.
Not only is this beneficial for students as they can keep track of how much they’re learning and how effective their revision is as they go along, it can also massively cut down on workload for tutors. The great news here is that the time tutors save on marking work can be used for further student/tutor engagement.
Want to know more about virtual classrooms and how they can effectively assist organisations to effectively teach courses online? Take a look at our article on How Virtual Classrooms Integrate with Educational Platforms.
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