Four keys to effective virtual classroom training
Virtual classroom training differs from a traditional classroom in that the students and the teacher/trainer are not in the physically present in the same room. This gives a totally unique character to online training, where the classroom is connected via the Internet and all communication and information sharing is through computers and collaborative technology. In this of scenario, how does one make a success of online training, to ensure that the students are really listening, engaged and involved in the presentation and are taking an active part in the proceedings?
It is vital to prepare all the necessary components, including the infrastructure for the virtual classroom training. The computers, the broadband connection, and the software for the web conferencing should be prepared and tested ahead of time. After planning for the technology, planning for the class itself follows. This involves research into the type of students that will attend the class, to understand the kind of content that has to be delivered to them, and what type of technology and Internet connection the students possess. This will make the online class more effective, as the audience will be able to comprehend and absorb the virtual classroom training on the same level as they would a standard classroom.
The content for the virtual classroom training is the fulcrum on which the interest and involvement of the audience revolves and therefore it has to be organized, clear, simple and to the point. In a live online class, there is no time to look at papers or modify what is being said. The content should be lucid and move from one point to another without any hitches. Confusion over delivery in an online environment can be lethal and destroy the objective.
The advantages are many, but there are nonetheless still a few challenges in delivering a synchronous online learning environment. Above all, it requires a confidence level with technology, which some students may lack. In addition, the access to technology itself may present a problem, especially if attempting to roll out an online learning environment in a disadvantaged area.
Engaging the audience
In virtual classroom training, it is necessary to retain audience interest, keeping them engaged and involved in the proceedings. Since everyone is at a remote location, lack of student attention is not discernible and this essential factor may well mar the session. It is crucial to ensure that the class has the objectives that fulfill the learning goals of the students and that the information delivered is neither too simple nor too complex for the participants. A committed teacher is always aware of the students and pays attention to them. Queries and views expressed do not necessarily need to be answered immediately, but a trainer should establish ground rules on how they would be handled during the session. This is important in an online classroom, where feedback and explanations must be dealt with, to ensure that the students feel that they are part of the proceedings and are being given due attention.