Virtual Classrooms using Adobe Connect

I spent a little time recently looking at how we can use Adobe Connect to its full potential.  See below for some notes around Virtual Classrooms:

Virtual classrooms are online learning environments where delegates (all over the world) can access. They are able to see a set of slides, the facilitator (via webcam), interact with other delegates and learn a subject.  The benefit of this is that the delegates do not have to travel and the sessions can be created and delivered very quickly.

Although the learning is happening live, unlike eLearning where delegates can participate in their own time, this is not like a normal workshop environment.  The facilitator is not able to ‘see’ all of the delegates and therefore are not able to pick up on vital body language to check understanding and engagement levels.  The virtual classroom needs to overcome this.

Below are some key features that can be used to engage with its participants:

Visuals
PowerPoint Slides can be used to communicate information during the session using text and images. By making each slide concise and relevant to the learner it limits any distraction and engages the learner into listening to the speaker.

Whiteboards
Like in the real world, whiteboards can be used to capture ideas, illustrate models or just as ice breakers. Online whiteboards allow freehand drawing, typing or shapes to be added. Delegates can be given a ‘virtual pen’ so they can add any suggestions for everyone to see/comment on.  They can also be used for annotating documents and images – great for collaborating on a subject.

Screen Sharing
The facilitator is able to share their screen allowing all of the delegates to view exactly what they need to see.  This can be a great way to demonstrate a website or piece of software.

Chat
Depending on how many people are in the ‘room’ it may be easier to mute the delegates microphones and allow questions and communication via chat.  This works really well for large numbers of people who can type in answers or comments.

Poll / Quiz
Various types of questions can be added to either gather feedback during the session, test the group with a quiz or complete pre and post assessments.  The results from which can be broadcast back to the room or kept for reporting purposes.

Breakout rooms
Being able to divide the group into smaller groups can be very useful. Breakout rooms within the Virtual Classroom allow you to do this. The facilitator can organise everyone into groups who are then able to interact using their own whiteboard.  When the time is up, the facilitator can being everyone back together to present their findings.  The audio automatically splits allowing only the groups to hear each other.

Camera
Using our custom built webinar studio, we are able to use up to 3 cameras to switch between and focus on people.  We can also use a camera ‘out in the field’; for example if we wanted someone to highlight various features of a car from the showroom then they can do this allowing the group to see and hear.

This is just some of the features that i’ve been looking at within Virtual Classrooms – using Adobe Connect.

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