Are you considering virtual classroom software? The next major event in the evolution of the training industry will be in the post-pandemic era. This era's effect would be the normalizing of remote and virtual training as the industry standard and focusing on the importance of technical aptitude for training professionals. As such, the training and development field will need to evolve. Adaptation is necessary for its survival. In 2021, human resources (HR) and L&D leaders will be dealing with a liquid workforce.
Today, delivering valuable and engaging learning experiences that amplify an organization's learning strategy's success is critical to a business's bottom line. Deploying social learning concepts and technologies as part of the employee learning mix will no longer be an option but a necessity. When considering diving into virtual learning and virtual classroom software, it helps to start with assessing the numerous factors affecting your choice of virtual software for teaching. In this article, we discuss 13 aspects to be aware of.
For example and case in point. Presenting a slide deck via the virtual classroom is sure to put even the most dedicated learner to sleep. Let's start by looking at your current strategy for choosing the ideal virtual classroom LMS (Learning Management System) for your organization.
1) Evaluate Your Current Online Training Strategy
As a starting point, one of the main justifications to invest in an LMS for virtual classrooms is to fill current gaps, pain points that your existing LMS or online training strategy overlooks. What are your online training goals and objectives? Where does your online teaching plan fall short, and how can the new virtual classroom software bridge the gap? Do you need a platform that creates a more vital team dynamic?
2) Interactive Features
Some software platforms provide a "break out" element, which allows the trainer to break a large class into smaller groups to conduct specific activities in the breakout areas. This is a great way to increase collaboration between students or trainees.
3) Timed Testing Options
Testing is an essential feature of learning. It could be tough to test your students if your virtual classroom software does not provide you with testing options. This includes setting up timed tests that time out automatically, an auto-grading system, and instant feedback to the learner with the results. This is also useful for corporate training objectives where the continued appraisal is an integral part of each training.
4) Rapid Communication Tools
Rapid communication tools allow the trainer to respond to any questions and concerns raised by the trainees quickly. This is critical because participants may not be eager to ask a question later after the lecture, which is a missed teaching opportunity. These tools aren't restricted to instant text messages but could also include file sharing, scheduling calendars, and anything else that could facilitate interaction.
5) Reference Sections
Some eLearning platforms are rich with reference tools like links, notes, and appendices. Once these services are presented readily to the learners, they'll be more eager to make use of them. Many learners do not have the time to search for further info about the subject at hand. And a superior teaching technique would offer them materials you know they will benefit from at certain learning stages.
6) Storage Options
Virtual classroom software should store all your data, like video lectures, notes, assignments, and calendars for pre-recorded online courses. It should also provide trainees with the ability to download the learning materials for self-paced learning and revision. Even in live lectures, storage options are essential. You may need to record the lessons and make them available online. Your students may need to have a rewind option to review something they missed.
7) Progress Metrics
Quantitatively assessing the students' progress is one of the critical parts of learning and virtual classroom software also needs such a choice.
8) Set a Practical Budget to Find the Ideal LMS For Your Needs
This is not the time for ballpark estimations. You need a truthful budget to avoid overspending and ensure that other commercial operations don't pay the price. For example, you may have to borrow from various departmental resources to make up the difference. A genuine virtual classroom LMS budget should include the customary software and setup fees. But it is better if you also consider online content development, the trainer, and ongoing maintenance costs. For example, even though the trainer doesn't travel to on-site locations, they still may charge for their expertise.
9) Collect Employee Feedback to Define Selection Criteria
Another way to spot pain points and remedy them with your new LMS is to survey the team. Collect employee feedback to see what they like best and least about your current program. What are their virtual classroom expectations? Staff feedback can help you add items to the expense sheet and choose an LMS that aligns with their needs. For example, they expect simulations and scenarios that suit different online training styles. It would help if you had a virtual classroom LMS that supports more interactivity and real-world application.
10) Assess User Ratings and Reviews to Find the Top Virtual Class Tool
Top online directories also include user ratings and reviews so that you can weigh up the pros and cons of the leading virtual classroom training software. Begin with the performance overview that covers the basics, like customer experience and suitability. Then move onto the overall approval score and summary testimonies. This will give you a good hint of the product's record. There are also detailed reviews that look at what users liked best and least about the virtual laboratory LMS. Best of all, reviewers must provide some contextual information, such as industry and company size, so that you can concentrate on ratings that align with your online training needs and project scale.
11) Tap Into Your Social Network and Ask For Suggestions
There are plenty of social media groups and online forums where you can find LMS purchasing tips. But you can also ask for suggestions. Include your essential features, price range, and intended use. Finally, visit the vendors' social media page to see if they respond to posters? Or has their page been idle for months? Are they active on several platforms? And are there any reviews from happy customers?
12) Submit Request For Proposals to Top LMS Vendors With Niche Expertise
RFPs are your first contact with vendors such as ReadyTech. At this point, you've now done your homework. You know their standout characteristics and general price range. However, requests can provide you with comprehensive estimates based on your LMS use case. Vendors send their bids that cover everything from product benefits to cost considerations. Then you can follow up with your top choices. The only snag is that RFPs are a bit more time-consuming because you must draw up the request and wait for vendor answers. But it is a more personalized tactic since vendors have all the crucial info about your project, current gaps, and spending limits.
13) What Are Your Learners' Technical Abilities?
If learners are technically savvy, a full-fledged virtual classroom session with them jumping between chats, breakout rooms, answering poll queries, and even sharing their work by taking control of the whiteboard will be a breeze. But for students who are not comfortable using computers, teaching them to use a "raised hand" or another status indicator, answer a poll question, and use the chatbox might be the limit. If learners are overwhelmed by technical demands, they'll be less focused on learning. If, on the other hand, they are bored by a too-simple format, they might tune out. Get to know your audience—and prepare appropriately.
Virtual Laboratory Tools - Which Ones Do You Want to Use?
Screen sharing: The instructor shares slides, freeform text, a Word document, an open browser window—whatever's on their screen; alternatively, the instructor can allow a learner to share his screen with the class.
Status indicators: A way for students to "raise their hands" is common; some platforms suggest multiple status icons, including stepped away, agree, disagree, laughter, speak louder or softer.
Chat: A chat box allows students to ask questions or interact with other learners. Some platforms enable private discussion between an instructor and a student; some also allow semi-private chat between students (the instructor can always eavesdrop if necessary).
Shared whiteboard: The instructor—or a student, where allocating different control is possible—can draw or write on a whiteboard. Some instructors invite all students to take part or claim a section of the whiteboard; some put exercises on the whiteboard and have students, one by one, solve them, e.g., editing a sentence or solving an equation. A suggestion when working as a solo instructor - recruit learners to help—by writing items on a whiteboard as other learners make suggestions.
Polls: The instructor can ask multiple-choice questions, and learners can choose one or multiple responses.
Quizzes: Instructors can create and administer examinations to learners within the virtual classroom.
Sharing files: Instructors can distribute a handout to all learners electronically.
Contact Us For Virtual Classroom Software
The format and class size might determine which features are helpful. Developers and instructors who conduct different types of eLearning using a virtual classroom might opt for a more robust platform, while someone who does an occasional meeting or webinar might choose a more straightforward platform with fewer bells and whistles.
At ReadyTech, we are fully conversant in all of the above and work with all our clients on needs and wants, so if you have a virtual classroom software, get in contact today.