Virtual Classroom novice

We have been asked by a client to adapt our ENVISAGE program (currently a four hour face to face seminar OR a one hour eLearning module ) to a 'virtual classroom' platform. They use WebEx as the platform and I am looking at AdobeConnect for another client.

I haven't experienced participating in a virtual classroom before, let alone produced one. I've looked at a facilitator guide for a virtual classroom and it is very, very detailed. So here are some novice questions that I'm wondering if this learned community would be so gracious as to take the time in answering.

  1. How is a 'virtual classroom' different to a super structured / designed webinar? 
  2. How do participants interact on line? Can they complete exercises on line as they might do in a self pace eLearning program?
  3. Does the interactivity come through the software (ie Articulate) or through the platform (ie WebEx etc) Can I just use Powerpoint and a conferencing platform?
  4. Is a virtual classroom the same as 'instructor led' eLearning?

  5. What's the ideal duration for a virtual classroom?

I hope these questions make sense and I appreciate any comments you have.

We will be on the look out for a freelance ID I suspect to help us with this project.

 

2 Replies
James Morris

I have used AdobeConnect and was pleased with not only the price, but also the offerings and ease of use. One of the main features I liked was their testing links which you can provide to learners before the course begins. This allows them to be sure their computer and network will support the virtual classroom.

There were many features. Too many to list. I would reach out to the AdobeConnect team and schedule a demo. They will call you and have you connect to the service and show you everything. It really helped me with decision making.

-James

Brian Duvall

Wanted to respond to some of your specific questions based on my experience.  Please note, I've only used WebEx, so that's the feature set I'm familiar with.

Questions 1 & 2, and 3 (sort of):  Virtual classroom should involve some sort of learner interaction with the content being presented vs. completely passive listening by the learner.  WebEx offers many features that allow interaction, from drawing and annotating on screen all the way up to Break Out Sessions where portions of the learner group can break off into their own mini-WebEx session under the main session.  You can certainly provide some interactivity without even using the WebEx feature set . . . simply assign an offline activity to a group before/during the online meeting, and then debrief it while on the WebEx meeting.

Question 4:  For me, eLearning means self-directed online learning, where webcast/virtual classroom is more instructor facilitated online learning.

Question 5:  An hour tops, unless your session will be highly, highly interactive.  It is difficult for learners to maintain focus beyond an hour in most cases.  If you have more content than an hour, break things into multiple sessions.