Classes Cancelled – How About Creating a Virtual Classroom?
by Bob Shively, Enerdynamics President and Lead Facilitator
Classroom classes around the globe are being cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This leaves training professionals scrambling to provide needed employee learning. If off-the-shelf online training is available it can be a good substitute, but if isn’t currently available, it takes months to develop quality courses. If training is needed more quickly, one alternative is to work with your instructors to deliver their courses online via virtual classrooms. This allows classroom content to be more quickly converted for online delivery. But be forewarned, it does require a significant amount of preparation to be successful!
Virtual classroom software
Fortunately, there are numerous vendors supplying quality software for virtual classroom delivery. Virtual classroom software offers the capability to provide live instructor lead training remotely while allowing for participant interaction and in some cases, group collaboration. While not the same as in-classroom training, virtual classrooms offer many of the same benefits. Key features to look for in virtual classroom software include:
- Live video streaming
- Ease of use by instructors and learners
- Survey tools such as polling
- Q&A tools
- Mute attendees
- Sharing of lesson plans including file downloads and links to rich media
- Breakout rooms
- Recording and playback
- Event registration and participant tracking
Virtual classroom software currently available include:
Virtual Classroom Delivery
Just don’t be fooled that once you have purchased your software and played with it a bit that you are ready to offer virtual classes. The key here is to practice, practice, practice! We guarantee that the first time you try to do something in a class that you thought you knew how to do, you suddenly won’t remember when in front of a virtual audience. Do dry runs and try out every feature. You may have trouble talking to a screen instead of a room full of people giving visual feedback. An Enerdynamics’ facilitator discovered that putting a picture of her family on top of the computer monitor gave her some smiling faces to focus on!
So yes, it is possible to move your live classroom training to virtual classrooms fairly quickly. But be aware that it takes a lot of work and adaptation to do it well.