Virtual and distance education is today, in times of pandemic, a reality. Who has not ever heard the concept of “new normal”?
Surely you have already realized that COVID-19 marked a before and after, and mandatory social distancing, among many other things, caused teaching processes to be modified in much of the world: virtual classes are here to stay.
The new learning environments that emerged years ago have been updated to adapt to this new normality, bringing opportunities not only for those who want to study, but also for those who want to undertake and achieve better results.
The great highlight of the educational market is, without a doubt, the virtual classroom.
The EaD ( Distance Education ) model has grown and continues to develop in all areas, both in higher level courses and technical, professional and free courses.
If you want to know more, read this post to the end to fully understand how e-learning works , what its tools are and what is the potential of this market that is so in vogue in recent times.
There is confusion between the terms Virtual Classroom and Virtual Classes, since they are two very similar concepts, so we will briefly explain what each one consists of.
What are virtual classes?
Within E-learning, virtual classes imply a teaching modality that takes place totally or partially in a virtual environment, which can be live, or through videos, electronic books and other digital materials.
There are currently two types:
Synchronous virtual classes
In which the teacher and the registered students participate online and simultaneously, in a similar way to what happens in a web seminar, where they interact through a chat, by video or audio.
Synchronous learning environments allow students to follow the class in real time but without the need to physically go to the center where they are taught.
Asynchronous virtual classes
These types of classes are not in real time. Students are provided with content and assignments and given a deadline to complete the work. Interaction usually takes place through discussion forums, blogs, and wikis.
Asynchronous learning environments are effective for those who have time or schedule limitations, because they allow them to organize themselves and choose their moments of study, although they also require a high level of commitment and responsibility.
In this modality, the teacher records the classes so that the students can see them through an EaD platform .
It is precisely these platforms that offer support for various content formats, creating a simple and intuitive virtual learning environment (VLE) that facilitates communication.
In short, virtual classes, synchronous or asynchronous, need a digital environment to be carried out, and this is what we call Virtual Classroom.
How do virtual classrooms work?
The EAD teaching model is known for its practicality, agility, amount of content that can be learned, quality of the courses, and for the normalization and expansion that has occurred since the pandemic.
It has been refined over the years, and provides an environment conducive to online learning. Virtual classrooms comprise a space focused on results, with specific tools that help students absorb knowledge and also offer resources for teachers to develop their classes in the best possible way.
The virtual classroom has points in common with conventional physical classrooms, since it works as a place to interact and exchange knowledge.
However, the difference is that in the virtual environment, students and teachers can count on powerful tools that do not exist in physical spaces.
By connecting to the Internet, for example, students can:
- Access your favorite topics;
- Share and solve your doubts with professors and other colleagues as quickly as they arise;
- Make comments and suggestions;
- Take exams and quizzes more often;
- Have access to previously studied content to review learning;
- And much more.
Now we are going to show you some tools designed exclusively for this teaching and learning process, and how they can help you grow in that market.
1. Discussion Forum
One of the most important tools within any virtual classroom is the discussion forum . Mainly when we are dealing with free courses, such as training, orientation and coaching, to maintain interaction with the participants, which is essential in this environment.
Its main mission is to allow the exchange of knowledge.
More than a simple channel to solve doubts, the forum aims to simulate the environment of a physical classroom as much as possible, in which people are always in contact, students chat with each other and ask questions of teachers.
As this face-to-face interaction does not take place in the virtual environment, the discussion forum is the tool responsible for making the people of a certain online course communicate more.
2. Mind map
The mental map, a diagram model developed by the Englishman Tony Buzan, is a tool for knowledge management.
When applied within a virtual learning environment, the mind map allows students to understand the next steps to take, what are the objectives of what is being taught and what strategies must be taken to achieve those objectives.
The diagram works to place the student where they are and make it clear where they want to go, whether it is in a week, a month or a year.
In processes such as coaching , the mind map is often applied to clarify for people what their true goals are.
This tool helps students in the virtual classroom to concentrate better, memorize and learn, since they will know what the objectives are to achieve in the online course they have chosen.
3. Video classes
One of the tools that cannot be missing in a virtual room is video classes . They are, as their name suggests, content recorded in video format, allowing it to be permanently available to students, who can access it wherever and whenever they want.
This represents a huge gain in time and process optimization. Not to mention the ability to review content, refine videos, and create ever better materials.
One of the most basic tools of a virtual classroom is the calendar, because it allows the participants in the virtual classroom to know their commitments and prepare for each of them in advance.
In the academic environment – and in mentoring, coaching and other processes – the calendar is recognized as an excellent time optimization tool.
For results to be achieved, it is essential that people are aware of their commitments, deadlines and tasks.
Unlike the calendar, infographics have their focus on the visual, the aesthetic impact and the transmission of information through colors and images.
Many complex pieces of information can be easily conveyed when presented in an infographic format.
Actually, this content format can be understood as a model similar to graphics, with the difference that it is much more didactic and easy to absorb.
Within the virtual classroom, participants can access several content-rich infographics.
The ebooks work as complete and independent book format materials or in conjunction with the video classes.
The human brain learns through repetition. Listening to certain information only once may not be enough for the fixation of knowledge. That is why texts and written materials collaborate for learning in the virtual classroom.
Ebooks are perfect for this purpose, because they deliver valuable content in text format.
They have clear language, are well outlined and reinforce the content taught, which can be read again whenever necessary.
7. Supplementary Materials
The materials and tools mentioned are only examples. They are all excellent for the learning process within the virtual classroom.
But, of course, other complementary materials may be available in a virtual environment, such as talks, links, tools for time management and evaluation systems, feedback, and many others.
The greater the number of supplemental materials, the better the student experience.
Teachers must leave the learning environment rich in relevant information. Summaries, scripts and custom tools are always welcome in the virtual classroom.
Advantages and disadvantages of the virtual classroom
In addition to the tools that we present, the virtual classroom offers several advantages for those involved in the process, students and teachers. But since all that glitters is not gold, we must also draw attention to some points to take into account so that the distance education model is a success.
We start with the good: 5 main attractions for you to understand why it is interesting to work in a virtual classroom:
1. You have access to content where and when you want it
Thanks to the Internet, unlimited and uninterrupted access to information available in the world has been democratized, and with virtual classrooms, students can consume the best information related to the course they are studying whenever and wherever they want.
This represents enormous flexibility, as well as incredible time savings: you access when it suits you best and without having to go to any physical study center.
In addition, teachers also win, being able to publish content at the best times of the day, without compromising their work schedule.
When students use the forum, for example, the teacher has the possibility to offer answers at their own pace. Another advantage for teachers is that they can choose the most suitable days and times to record and edit their classes based on the commitments they have during the week.
2. You interact with people from anywhere in the world
There are no barriers or geographical factors that limit, as there is in the traditional classroom environment. With the arrival of online classes, the borders have been diluted, and everyone can participate and interact, learning together.
For students, this represents a very large competitive advantage. The exchange of ideas, thoughts and knowledge is fantastic. This is where tools like the discussion forum gain traction.
3. If you are a teacher, you reach more students
Because, how to grow in an increasingly competitive market?
The answer lies in expanding the scope of the business, often referred to as scalability . The more scalable a business is, the better its results will be.
Interaction with people from anywhere on the planet is an advantage for teachers when we think of the greater reach of students, which is presented as the best recipe for professional growth.
4. Time saving
This fact, together with the fact that many people have switched to working from home due to the pandemic, largely explains the growth of distance learning courses.
Without travel expenses, you have more time to dedicate to other tasks, such as creating an online course or learning with those available in the Hotmart Marketplace .
5. Minor investment
The reduced investment of online courses and classes is due to the low cost of producing the classes. By spending less on infrastructure, equipment, and tools, the teacher can charge students a reduced price.
Many times, virtual classes have a much more affordable price than those held in a physical environment, and in addition to being a cheap solution, the quality of teaching is not lost sight of.
Factors that hinder learning in a virtual classroom
Although the advantages are clear and numerous, there are some factors that could hinder learning in the EaD context. We tell you below:
Absolutely necessary. If the student does not have this quality, if they do not have the motivation to sit down and take the course according to deadlines and required tasks, it will be very difficult for learning to be really effective.
Those who are prone to dispersion or the famous procrastination must work on self-discipline to take advantage of all the good things of the EaD modality.
As there is no face-to-face experience with other students to discuss the content or time, there is often a feeling of isolation that can lead to understanding the subject not being as expected or to dropping out of classes.
3. Technology issues
A virtual classroom is possible thanks to the technology that supports it. If the software crashes, your Internet connection fails in the middle of a synchronous class, or you don’t master all the features of the platform, you end up getting on your nerves and losing patience.
Our advice is: take a deep breath and don’t give up. At first you have to get used to changes, and on many occasions adaptation requires an effort, which, no doubt, will be rewarded.
Can virtual classes replace traditional teaching?
As we have said before, virtual classes are a fact. The sad circumstances of the pandemic did nothing but boost its expansion, which is already unstoppable.
We could ask ourselves if this virtual teaching modality can replace the traditional teaching model.
The answer is that both models are already coexisting, and even in many places what is called a hybrid model works, in which, as we explain in this post , distance education is mixed with face-to-face education.
On many occasions, it is the students who choose to physically attend the class or watch it from the comfort of their home.
The truth is that there is room in the market for the virtual learning environment and for traditional networks, as evidenced by the number of teaching professionals who teach classes in regulated centers and dedicate another part of their time to creating content and video classes for EaD networks.
In this way, they manage to supplement their income, reach more students and obtain better results.
The future of education reveals a promising scenario for those who want to undertake it, and the best thing is that anyone who has specific knowledge in a certain area can work teaching online.
Creating an online course to make your classes available in a virtual classroom is a great business idea, which would allow you to transmit your knowledge, help other people and earn money.
If you liked this information and want to know more about the EaD teaching model, take advantage of the complete post that we prepared on how to give virtual classes . Without a doubt, it will help you to start in this segment with excellence.