1 Select the best web conferencing software to fit your needs
Consider the number of interactive tools built into the software. Weigh that up against the ease to install and deploy. Will a cloud-based solution be preferable over an on premise installation?
2 Equip your facilitators with the skills and knowledge to use the web conferencing software effectively
This falls into two areas - user of software and best practices for engaging learners online. Technical training from the software vendor should provide the former, and the LPI have designed industry leading blended learning programmes to address the latter.
3 Design your online learning interventions for the virtual classroom
This is more than a case of copying the approach used in the physical classroom. Careful consideration should be given to the repurposing of your classroom course so that a more effective redesign can be achieved.
A typical migration of a classroom course will involve segmenting the interactive elements of the course for the virtual classroom, while on-demand, asynchronous activities such as reading notes, and completing exercises can be delivered to your learners in a more effective manner using better learning technologies.
4 THINK ABOUT THE FULL BLEND
Multiple, mixed modes of learning are proven to be a better way to learn.
Consider mobile access and reaching remote learners.
Utilise social learning tools to provide ongoing support to your learners.
5 Wrap your virtual classrooms in a supportive learning ecosystem
You can prepare the best classroom experience in the world, but if your learners are not motivated to participate, or if they can't get into the virtual classroom, then all your work is wasted.
Use a learning ecosystem to support all aspects of your virtual class. Clearly communicate the role of each virtual class within the wider scope of your learning intervention.
Manage the expectations of your participants by putting all related activities into a single learning design, defining pre-class and post-class activities so that all learners arrive into your classes prepared and engaged. A good ecosystem should make it easy for you to manage the full learning experience, and it should automate all learning processes to remove the risk of human error and increase your operational efficiency.
6 Measure the progress and performance of your learners
Traditional online learning courses were designed as e-learning courses which were wholly self-contained materials and included tests to confirm understanding or competence.
Next generation tools and modern learning practices are enabling designers to break away from the fixed mould of e-learning courses and apply explicit tests, surveys or exams directly in the workflow.
7 Analyse and continuously improve your delivery
Track activities at the granular level, monitoring all interactions within the learning ecosystem. Gain an understanding of what content is most appreciated and what is not hitting the spot. Use data analytics to make better decisions about the development of your solutions.