Virtual Classroom Platforms - a Comparison
A virtual classroom is one aspect of e-learning. As the name already indicates a virtual classroom essentially is a lesson (classroom) online where attendees from different locations log into a virtual space at the same time. Depending on the platform used, they are then able to listen to the trainer and are also able to interact with the trainer as well as fellow attendees.
The benefits of using virtual classrooms are:
No travel required – Learners do not need to travel anywhere which saves costs and time
Interactivity – Due to the distance and virtual interaction options, virtual classroom training is often more interactive as opposed to traditional classroom training
Flexibility – Access to course materials, anytime, anywhere
Higher productivity – Employees spend less time away from their actual work, thus higher productivity is achieved
Flexibility – Learning can be planned around business needs and schedules
Cost saving – Virtual classroom training does not incur any costs for the venue or travel, plus employees are not as long away from their desk or office which in turn reduces the opportunity costs
Comparison of features of popular platforms
As with any systems in the e-learning industry, there are various platforms and providers. Generally these can be categorized in proprietary, e.g. Blackboard Collaborate, and open source systems, e.g. BigBlueButton. Which one to chose depends on your requirements/objectives and your IT infrastructure. For example, if you already use an open source LMS such as Moodle, an obvious choice would be BigBlueButton.
The available platforms mainly differ in regards to the depth of features as well as the price. The main features, as illustrated in the table above, are generally very similar though. The majority of the platforms include the main features such as audio and video streaming, desktop/screen sharing, attendee management, whiteboard tools such as drawings as well as sharing the interactive whiteboard, recording, annotating, and many more.
If you are interested to know more about how virtual classrooms can be integrated in our new Moodle SaaS model and which platform would be most appropriate for your needs, please get in touch with us on 866-713-0496 or [email protected]