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Everything You Need to Know About Virtual Classrooms

Learn the basics of virtual classrooms, why they're a great option for education, and how to use them most effectively.

March 17, 2022

Even before the pandemic, online learning was becoming an important part of higher education. In 2020, it turned into a must-have option for many educational institutions. By 2025, the e-learning market is expected to be worth $325 billion.

Virtual classrooms make it possible to reach students from all over the world without hurting the quality of education. Implementing them into your program comes with a variety of impressive benefits. Let's take a closer look at how virtual classrooms work.

What Is a Virtual Classroom?

Today, 41% of American graduates and 39% of undergraduates believe that e-learning is better than a classroom learning experience.

A virtual classroom is an online learning and teaching tool that allows professors and students to recreate an in-class environment without leaving the comfort of their homes. The virtual classroom resides on a platform with numerous useful features, including:

  • Attendance tracking
  • Course creating and editing
  • Assignment design
  • Exam creation
  • Discussions
  • Presentations
  • Analytics
  • And more

The number and quality of features depend on the platform provider you choose. A sought-after feature of a virtual classroom is instant access to analytics, rather than having to wait until the end of the semester for a report. Professors can take advantage of the collected platform data to evaluate their students' performance.

Virtual classrooms are a controlled environment. They give professors and teachers an opportunity to make learning engaging while providing the highly demanded flexibility.  

Key Benefits of Using a Virtual Classroom  

Besides the enhanced learning flexibility, using a virtual classroom has numerous and sometimes surprising benefits.

1. Higher inclusivity

Students who don't feel brave enough to raise their hands in an offline classroom are often more willing to participate in virtual discussions. This doesn't just create a more appealing learning environment but also brings the class closer together.

2. Asynchronous Learning

Virtual classrooms don't just offer real-time learning opportunities. They allow professors to record lectures and give students a chance to study whenever it's convenient. This adds to the effectiveness of learning for both students and professors.

3. New Experiences

In an online classroom, it's possible to create a huge variety of virtual experiences. Platforms that allow implementing different types of media help professors create a diversified learning process.

4. Immediate Feedback

Many e-learning platforms allow teachers and professors to provide immediate feedback instead of "taking papers home for grading." This streamlines the learning experience and helps students rectify mistakes faster. Meanwhile, virtual classrooms create a better opportunity for one-on-one student-professor interactions.

5. Robust Analytics

By taking advantage of the virtual classrooms, professors gain access to an impressive amount of data. For example, they can check:

  • The attendance report
  • User's engagement during virtual classroom sessions

In-depth analytics don't just allow you to see whether a student watches a video lecture. You can check which sections of the lecture they actually saw. This can help with further lecture design and course adjustment.

How to Set Up a Virtual Classroom

Whether you are making a full-time transition from offline classrooms or designing a hybrid learning experience, setting up a virtual classroom doesn't have to be complicated.

The key to creating one is choosing the right platform for your needs. Top platforms have user-friendly interfaces that take you through the setup step by step.

1. Choose the Learning Approach

Before launching your virtual teaching project, you need to choose the approach. Options include:

  • Real-time teaching
  • Recorded lectures
  • Hybrid online and offline learning

Some schools may require students to take specific courses offline and allow them to choose from the available online options.

2. Get Your Tools Ready

While some professors stick to videoconferencing tools to recreate the offline learning environment, it's rarely enough. To ensure engagement, you may want to consider going one step further and creating a classroom on a platform.

Before launching your first lecture, make sure all the technical aspects of the virtual classrooms (microphone, camera) work perfectly. The virtual learning platform usually takes care of the rest.

3. Build Your Assets

While real-time teaching is an integral part of online learning, so are other assets. Upload pre-recorded videos, assignments, tests, and other materials to the platform, so they are readily available to the students.

The e-learning platform will provide size and format requirements to make sure your visual and textual assets are fully accessible.

Take some time to learn how the platform's analytics tools work. Even after the first day of teaching, you can get a substantial amount of useful data. The insight can help you improve the teaching process.  

How to Streamline the Virtual Learning Environment

Once you set up and launch the virtual classroom, consider implementing these tips:

  • Set up and communicate the virtual learning rules as early as possible.
  • Practice using the platform and deliver materials in the new format until you are fully comfortable with it.
  • Liven up the virtual learning processes with anecdotes and engaging stories.
  • Always ask for feedback from students.
  • Implement gamification to keep students engaged.

Since virtual learning is ever-evolving, you are likely to come up with unique and innovative practices on your own.

The Future of Technology in Education

Technology is a powerful tool that changes education drastically. It creates vast opportunities for communication and collaboration and opens doors to students from all over the world.

The roles of teachers and learners are also changing due to the new technological advances. Professors are no longer the primary source of information for students. Today, they have a less central role, guiding students through the available information and facilitating the learning process.

One of the biggest challenges of virtual education can be engagement. Emerging technology like virtual reality, augmented reality, AI-based personalized learning tools, immersive learning, and more can help combat engagement struggles.

While the new tech is exciting, it's becoming more and more complicated, so being able to understand how to use it and its role in the learning process is imperative not just for students, but for their guides too.

The Takeaway

Virtual classrooms are a significant step toward staying on top of the latest education technologies. Setting one up today can help you streamline e-teaching and improve the learning experience for your students.

Classavo is an all-in-one teaching and learning SaaS platform that improves engagement through interactive content and powerful analytics while saving professors up to 12 hours per week and students up to 72% on learning materials.

The platform is free for professors, so book a demo today!

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