This is the fifth post in a series of seven titled Virtual Classroom Tool Design Basics: A Virtual Engagement Primer. Click here to start reading at the beginning of the series.
Virtual training design doesn't need to be difficult - but designers do need a working knowledge of the features each virtual classroom tool provides.
In this blog series, Virtual Classroom Tool Design Basics, I'll be sharing high-level summaries of virtual classroom tools, including chat, breakout rooms, whiteboards, application sharing, synchronized web browsing, and survey and feedback tools.
If you are an experienced virtual classroom designer, please build on the basics and share your expertise.
A very popular feature in virtual classrooms is application sharing. This feature allows the facilitator to share software applications (such as spreadsheets, word processing, or custom applications) with participants, even if the participants do not have the software installed on their individual machines. Because the feature is so visually impressive, vendors often use it as a highlight for their demonstrations.
There are many varieties of application sharing, ranging from “view only” on the participants’ side to allowing participants to actually interact with applications shared by the facilitator or by other participants.
Although the feature is very powerful, it is often not used creatively. The most common application is demonstrating software and allowing one or two participants to replicate what they saw the facilitator do. This is useful in some circumstances—but it does not promote participant collaboration or provide the opportunity for all participants to learn how to use the software. There are many ways to use application sharing that do successfully teach in a collaborative manner.
Because working with an application during a sharing exercise often takes the facilitator’s focus away from the virtual classroom, it is very helpful to have a producer to monitor feedback, questions, and