Innovations In Virtual Classrooms: Rethinking Training And Learning Delivery

Innovations In Virtual Classrooms: Rethinking Training And Learning Delivery
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Summary: More and more educational institutes as well as corporate organizations are adopting the virtual training sessions trend; sparking innovations in virtual classrooms, from robotic telepresence to international online classes.

3 Ways Innovations In Virtual Classrooms Help Increase Training Reach And Effectiveness

Technology-aided vs. traditional classroom learning – Which one is better in the modern context? There has been a long history of debate between the effectiveness of classroom-based training versus the ease of use of self-paced eLearning. For many learning experts, virtual classrooms have emerged as the middle path. Virtual classrooms bring together the accessibility and effectiveness of classroom-based training as well as ease of eLearning. For a long time, while merits of virtual classroom were many, there were very few organizations who could afford technology. But newer innovations in virtual classrooms are now easily accessible as well as readily available. The greatest factor in increasing availability of virtual classrooms is the easy availability of broadband internet and new-age conferencing tools. With the utilization of these technologies, conducting virtual training sessions is commercially feasible and thus getting more popular.

Virtual classrooms give rise to many interesting ways and means of learning.

1. Bringing Expert Collaboration To The Classroom

Modern collaboration technology can be harnessed to create virtual classes. Collaboration tools can bring in experts to enrich learning, extend reach of learning programs and help travelling faculty contribute fruitfully without being physically present.For instance, in a leading journalism school, students have access to advertising agencies across the globe and have been able to pitch them ideas. Virtual collaboration enriches advertising program by opening up the real world for students. These opportunities are far more valuable in the real world of advertising than theoretical knowledge and it is all possible through technology. Advertising agencies also gain out of this interaction with the young crop of students – identifying new ideas or talent which helps provide better output to their clients.

Collaboration tools can also increase the reach of experts globally. According to a case study, the university’s Social Work Education Enhancement Program, an initiative to improve schooling in Vietnam, uses Cisco WebEx regularly as a means to facilitate two-way communication.

2. Telepresence Brings Flexibility Like Never Before

Most virtual classrooms allow learners to attend classroom lectures via video conferencing. But forward thinking organizations have taken this a step further. With robotic telepresence, remote students can actually attend a classroom. This technology demonstrates the power to enhance remote learners’ educational experience in many ways. For one it increases the level of social interaction for remote learners. They can change direction of a robot to see the classroom’s many attributes, not just the blackboard or an instructor but students who are pitching in or sharing their work with the class as well. This truly benefits learners who are joining in from remote locations as they feel a part of the classroom, not detached from it. In addition to helping boost social experience of distance learners, robots have also been found to be useful in helping with courses that teach hands-on skills. For instance, online students of medical studies can use robotic telepresence to get the onsite clinical experience and master the skill.

3. Social Collaboration Increases Effectiveness Of Training

Social interactions are an integral part of learning and contribute a lot to the success of learning delivery. Studies have indicated that building rapport with other students and instructors is a key component in the effectiveness of learning. One way of doing it through virtual classrooms is by utilizing chat facilities for discussions.Other institutes take up social interactions in many other interesting ways. For instance, online students at Harvard Business School: virtual classroom has become a whole production. The HBX Live classroom is located in a Boston public television station and professors work with a production crew to facilitate a class. But the teacher is not the only star of the show. The article indicates that the studio is equipped with a semi-circular video wall that displays 60 students simultaneously, facilitating face-to-face interaction. Learners can ask questions to the instructors and hear their response – all in real time. Classroom experience is then replicated as much as possibly visually to get learners engaged and encourage maximum participation.

Virtual classrooms can be utilized in many ways and possibilities are wide as are the avenues. It depends on the creativity of an instructor as well as the organization to harness its many strengths for the benefit of learners.