Over the last eighteen months, many of us have plunged into the world of virtual learning for the first time.
At some schools, virtual education was a brand-new endeavor. Cobbling together last-minute solutions wasn’t uncommon, and institutions new to virtual instruction sometimes found themselves relying on off-the-shelf video conferencing platforms to conduct sessions remotely.
The impulse to use video as the backbone for remote learning makes sense. Live video helps people connect, stay engaged, and feel less isolated.
But, in order to achieve the best outcomes, teaching effectively in the digital realm requires more than basic video conferencing. Purpose-built virtual classrooms are designed specifically for teaching and learning, drive attainment and achievement outcomes, and will be a centerpiece of remote education moving forward.
What is a Virtual Classroom?
A virtual classroom is an online learning environment built specifically for education. More than a video call or a chat room, virtual classrooms are persistent environments that instructors can customize for the material they’re presenting and the specific needs of the learners attending.
These environments are cloud-based, so they require no complex software installation from teachers or students. Instead, they are accessed with the click of a single button via a browser.
Virtual classrooms help educators organize teaching materials and resources in ways that are specific to their unique needs. White-label branding also means that the virtual classroom can become a seamless part of your institution’s digital environment.
Why Do Virtual Classrooms Drive Positive Learning Outcomes?
Features commonly found in virtual classrooms that help drive learning include:
- Participant moderation to keep learners focused while allowing for questions and comments
- Quizzing and polling to help gauge understanding and interest
- Shared note-taking to foster collaboration and boost knowledge retention
- Virtual whiteboards to encourage collaboration and problem solving
- Breakout rooms to enable brainstorming and networking
- Resource libraries to facilitate additional study on-demand
- Content creation tools to drive participatory learning
Virtual classrooms acknowledge the importance of keeping learners engaged and that not everyone has the same teaching or learning style. The flexibility they offer helps them be a welcoming learning environment across these differences, which can then create better outcomes for all participants.
How Do Virtual Classrooms Allow You to Measure Success?
Virtual classrooms aren’t just purpose-built to drive success, they’re also designed to measure it. They integrate into any LMS to enable data-driven instruction.
In addition to interactive quizzing features which can help gauge understanding and, in many cases, meet compliance needs, analytics are a big part of how virtual classrooms help you achieve student learning outcomes.
Analytics have multiple applications. Yes, they can be used to check learner participation, but they can also help you see which learning materials are the most popular and what type of information your learners can’t stop searching for.
Is there one part of a pre-recorded lecture everyone keeps watching over and over? Perhaps that material is particularly complex and a live refresher course is needed. Do you notice drop-offs in video viewing at a certain point? Perhaps lessons need to be broken into small, more bite-sized pieces.
Are videos from certain teachers more popular than others? Perhaps they have a way of presenting that’s particularly engaging. Are learners searching for material that doesn’t exist yet? Time to create a new live-course, or a new pre-recorded presentation.
Want to see all the education-specific features virtual classrooms offer?