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Why Utilize a Virtual Classroom?

Book Excerpt from “Tailored Learning”:

The ability to interact with experts and peers in real time is a comfortable and familiar environment and eliminates the isolation that often comes with asynchronous technologies. Often a participant requires live interaction with an instructor or an expert, but that interaction does not need to be face-to-face.

For example, medical students observing surgery would, arguably, benefit from being physically in the operating room or a surgical observation area. However, those same participants do not need face-to-face interaction to ask post-operative questions of the surgeon. Questions can be asked and discussed among all of the participants via a virtual classroom. If a recording is made of the synchronous discussion, all the participants can go back and review the recording, at any time, to ensure that they understood the answers. One of the most common reasons for organizations to implement a virtual classroom is an audience that is dispersed across a large geographic area (oftentimes worldwide). Compared with traditional classroom delivery, the money saved in classroom costs, travel, and time away from work quickly becomes apparent. In addition, organizations may choose to deliver content that they never would have scheduled in a more traditional (classroom) setting. For example, an update to a computer system may only take one or two hours to teach, but an organization would rarely convene a training program for such a short period of time because it would be cost prohibitive. The virtual classroom makes this type of content easy to distribute.

As organizations become more global, and the need to collaborate across a distance is becoming more important, a virtual meeting place can help close the distance gap by providing a forum through which employees collaborate in real time.