A virtual classroom is an online classroom that enables trainers and learners in different locations to communicate, view and interact with presentations and videos, collaborate with other participants, and engage with learning resources in groups.
Uses of a virtual classroom
- Conduct live training for your online products
- Conduct sales pitches and demonstrations to prospects
- Conduct customer meetings in the online classroom
- Carry out one-to-one or one-to-many coaching as part of a blended learning approach
Key facilities of a virtual classroom
- Video and audio sharing, which the presenter has control over
- Multiple classroom layouts to suit your needs
- Share your laptop/PC screen at any time in order to “show them how”
- Pre upload documents and videos for presenting as and when you choose
- Use the whiteboard to share ideas and collaborate
- Public and private chat options
- Run instant polls of your audience
- Record sessions and make them available afterwards
To illustrate what a virtual classroom can do we have explored three examples in more detail.
Use the virtual classroom to show users what to do by sharing screens and talking them through what you’re doing. This approach gets potential customers or users into a valuable dialogue — they can ask questions that apply to them so you can adapt the demo to suit their needs.
If appropriate you could record the demo session so it can be made available to other users afterwards. This virtual classroom videoing facility reduces the need to hold multiple live training events, as one session can be recorded, edited if required, and then issued to multiple users who can then access it whenever they want to.
Another example of a powerful virtual classroom tool is enabling everyone to participate and draw via the whiteboard. The whiteboard is great for group exploration of things like process flows and technical drawings.
Finally, virtual classrooms are really good tools for delivering sales pitches. Salespeople are likely to always prefer to do sales pitches face to face. But if a virtual classroom means you can have a sales meeting that couldn’t otherwise have happened due to time or location issues, then a virtual classroom becomes a great tool for a sales person. With tools like screen share and white boards they can be a close second to a face to face session with a potential client.
Benefits of virtual classrooms
- For example:
- If you offer one-to-one or one-to-many attendance coaching or training sessions, you could use the virtual classroom to conduct a series of training sessions.
- Training via tutored virtual classroom could also be offered as a more affordable alternative to face-to-face training.
- Having this range of training services allows you to provide more flexible training packages to your clients. For example, a client might opt for senior management to have face-to-face training. But to roll the same training out to larger numbers of middle management, they may opt to provide video based training with tutored support via virtual classroom when staff need it.
- Training sessions can be recorded and redistributed again and again. This approach can be infilled with scheduled tutor access via the virtual classroom if it is needed.
- The instructor can access the virtual classroom from any location with internet access, as can attendees. So a virtual classroom can be scheduled globally, 24x7x365.
- Cost and time savings for students and trainers — there are no commute costs, no lost time during commutes and there are lower overheads than physical classrooms.
- Make traditional training or coaching sessions (telephone or skype calls) more visual, realistic and tangible and enable more interactivity through tools like whiteboards.
- A powerful, flexible and rapid response learning provision — virtual classrooms can be easily and affordably used at any point of the training or sales process. For example, if breaking news affects your international organisation you can schedule an immediate session to global team members.
- Simple to use — to attend a virtual classroom, users only need to know how to log in.
Tips to help you run a successful virtual classroom session
Running a successful virtual classroom is different to running a live classroom session. It is advisable for those new to virtual classrooms to practice and hone their skills. As with most techniques, practice makes perfect!
Because you don’t have the same level of personal connection with the audience as you would in a live environment, you may need to adjust your teaching and presentation style accordingly. For example, everyone in a real classroom situation will hear what you say almost instantaneously and concurrently. In a virtual classroom, some attendees may hear your words almost immediately, whilst others in another location may experience a slight delay due to the latency of their Internet connection. As long as you understand the difference… and practice ... then you’ll adopt an appropriately measured pace for a successful virtual classroom session.
It is important for hosts to be organised — get everything uploaded beforehand, wait for everyone to join and do an introductory overview which helps manage expectations. By explaining the format, telling people when and how they can participate and ask questions, the session will run much more smoothly.
Virtual classrooms within the In2itive LMS
The benefit of having the virtual classroom within the LMS is that there’s no need go off to another site and use a different login account. If you need to schedule a virtual classroom session you simply:
- Schedule and set-up a virtual classroom from within the LMS
- Invite your participants from within the LMS (which automatically then sends them an email containing all the information they need to know)
- Pre-upload all your resources (such as presentations and videos) in advance from within the LMS
- Attendees login to the LMS and join the virtual classroom at the prearranged time
Watch our LMS virtual classroom video (2:16)
The In2itive LMS is not just about e-learning because with the integral virtual classroom facility, it’s about providing a much broader range of services to support blended learning, remote training, remote sales presentations and of course tutor led training.