With the invasion of the COVID-19 virus, the education industry received a fatal blow. As soon as governments all over the world announced a total lockdown, the traditional method of learning came to a halt. Many schools and colleges went on the verge of closing down. However, a silver lining appeared with the advent of learning management systems. Every organization started adopting these learning management systems and other measures to fight for survival. In order to make virtual classrooms easy and more engaging, a number of methods can be applied. Investing in LMS that is SCORM or AICC compliant is one of the most common. Likewise, there are several other features that can be considered while choosing the right virtual classroom tool. Let’s see a few features to look for while planning your virtual classroom.
- Device support: These days, not having a laptop is not an issue for anyone. Almost all the learning management systems and other software-based applications are easily accessible on mobile and tablet devices. If you are planning to invest in a learning management system for your virtual classroom, make sure that you invest in an LMS that supports access to mobile devices.
- Theme customization: Most people working or learning online prefer to customize their space according to their own preferences. This not only increases their attentiveness but makes learning fun for them. An ideal classroom software should have customization features available in order to change the theme of the virtual classroom according to the learners’ preferences.
- Feature to customize the schedule: If you are running a virtual classroom, it does not have to have a fixed time every day. Although it is a good practice to conduct classes at the same time every day, it wouldn’t hurt to have a customization feature available. This feature enables the user to schedule and launch the class as per their own preferences.
- Attendance Report: One of the most important features of any virtual classroom is the ability of an LMS to make attendance reports. No matter how interesting your session is, if one cannot keep track of the number of attendees, the session will not deliver fruitful results. Just like a traditional classroom, a virtual classroom must have an attendance report feature in order to keep accurate data on the attendance of the learners.
- Gamification: The most common issue with virtual classrooms is that the whole lecture is on a digital screen and the teacher cannot keep a track of how well the students are engaged. Unlike a traditional classroom, virtual classrooms do not engage the learners in real-time. As a result, the whole lecture tends to get monotonous, and hence, boring. So, how does a virtual classroom keep the learners engaged and interactive? Gamification features are the most suitable answer to this question. Small and simple games that show how much progress the students are making keep the students attentive in class. The competitiveness of gamification ensures that the whole classroom is paying attention to the lecture.
- Communication tools: Since virtual classrooms are mostly video sessions, there needs to be a way through which the learners can communicate their problems and doubts with the educator. Also, communication tools are necessary to conduct group discussions and debates among the learners.
- User-friendliness: A platform too complex to understand is a problem not only for the learners, but also for the teachers. The simpler and more user-friendly the platform is, the more it is liked by the students. User-friendliness refers to the ease of access to all the features of a virtual classroom. As long as the features are easily accessible, the virtual classroom will be able to maintain its efficiency and effectiveness.
Conclusion: Virtual classrooms are the need of the hour during the pandemic. To reduce the spreading of the COVID-19 virus, any place where a lot of people gathered has been shut off. This covered all the educational institutions as well. To continue operating the virtual classes smoothly, it must be kept in mind that the virtual classroom needs to be well equipped with all the above-mentioned features.