I have been using WebEx for about 6 months. Have two named licences at approx £33-36 pm per licence on an annual basis. This is without any VoIP or teleconference integration (although you can record from non-webex number) which does bump up the price. You can also pay by the minute for meetings or on a monthly basis so you have options. You can also get a two week trial to have a play.
There are lots of other suppliers on the market from free products like DimDim to Adobe Connect, which in my opinion isn't cheap but is a quality product and integrates well with office products like PPT through presenter. Like anything though it depends on your needs and/ or budget.
Personally I do like WebEx as it's easy to set up and configure and it's very easy to use. The network player is great to view recorded meetings and is as easy as sending a link. Just down load the ucf player and you're away.
We don't currently use for formal training however there are plans to do this later this year and we're looking in to changing a Meeting Center licence for a Training Center licence, which gives more functionality and includes hands on labs.
I'm sure there are others on LSG who are much further a long than us in their journey using this type of tool but I really love the concept of synchronous learning and developing interactive and engaging learning solutions through this channel. Long way to go but more and more people in my org are seeing the potential
I use WebEx. We needed a tool to deliver training to a number of people at one time online. We tried DimDim for a while and it was easy to use but let us down quite often (firewall issues etc.)
I have no idea on costs as it is paid for through the parent company. What I will say though is that it is very reliable and easy to use andnhas a professional look and feel.
I used it when I was snowed in to work through and share document updates with collegues, the VOIP tool made it feel like I was in the same room as my collegues. There are many functions available, sharing documents, desktops, programmes and files. You can even give control to others in the conference to edit docs on your machine etc. All in it’s all a good versatile tool.
A final note, don't go buying expensive headsets etc. all you need is a pair of headphones (from your mp3) and use your computer microphone. I use a microphone but that's only because I record a lot of audio material (so have one already). If you have a docking station, take your laptop off this and turn your mobile phone off.
I went through the process of selection 2 years ago. At the time I narrowed the field to Webex, Netviewer and GoToMeeting.
It was neck and neck between Webex and GoToMeeting (Netviewer is clunky and doesn't give as good an experience to the learner).
In the end it came down to quality of service - Webex were helpful and professional throughout the sales cycle, without being pushy. The GoToMeeting team were pushy, then didn't follow up on their promises. I figured if it's like that pre-sale, it can't get better afterwards. The cost was exactly the same after negotiation.
We use Training Centre and the Webinar client, as well as the Support client, all with teleconferencing and voip. Where we had 16 field trainers we now how 2.5 office based trainers so the savings speak for themselves.
I've been extremely happy with Webex and always receive excellent support and help when I need it. Their online learning material is good as is their documentation.
The main problem we had in the early days was trying to run sessions for public sector clients. Their restrictive IT policies meant that Webex could not run automatically at any level. We now have a process in place to provide the details their IT teams need to manually install the training centre client for delegates prior to the session starting - end of problem.
If you would like to talk to me please email me at email@example.com and I'll be happy to go through things in more detail.
I have invested in the Adobe solution; Adobe Connect Pro and having been using it for about one year to deliver virtual classroom interventions I am sure this is just as good if not better than WebEx. We also decided to invest in the Adobe E-learning Suite which allows you to develop and deliver rapid e-learning also via the classroom and integration is seamless.
I do agree with Greg that it was not the cheapest solution however we were looking to invest in a technology longer term that would support our businnes strategy and felt Connect Pro would be the best solution for us. As we also develop ALL out e-learning in house we are able to have the flexibility to deliver content cross platform using tools available in the e-learning suite. The other advantage of Connect Pro over WebEx is that it only requires user to have the most up to date flash player installed on their PC - and this is common to some 96% of PC users. This is a plus point when you have people accessing this behind a company firewall for example.
We have chosen the VoIP soltuion and having delivered to users who are globally situated we have had no "major" hiccups. The connection for each user is dependant on their bandwith and so those who were situated in south east asia and south america did experience some lag. Adobe also offer a teleconference solution if you prefer. We paid for a 10 user licence £3,000 for the first year (as a setup charge was needed) however ongoing this will cost us £2,000 per annum. This allows us to have 10 VC sessions running simultaneously with up to 100 attendees.
Hi Greg. At Oxfam GB last year we invested in a 3-year organizational licence for Elluminate. One of the key criteria for our selection was the ability to function in low-bandwidth environments. We've nevertheless been able to deliver synchronous / virtual classroom training from Oxford to some fairly sketchy and remote locations. Elluminate also suits us as it has a range of tools within the app particularly suited to learning/teaching -- emoticon responses, quizzes, breakout rooms, etc. Screensharing, whiteboards, VOIP etc are all integrated so it seems less hassle from a participant point of view (ie not managing PC connection and telephone connection separately).
In terms of costs, our savings from the single pilot/trial use (conducting several days of training, split into 2hr modules, from Oxford SMEs to participating staff in 6 countries throughout southeast asia) were in the ballpark of 1 year of the full organization-wide licence. I think you should obtain a very high lifecycle-ROI from most virtual classroom solutions though, where there is strong organisational buy-in. So perhaps the best focus is on which product best meets your technical/functional needs.
At the University of Leeds I pretty much played with everything available (free and commercial) last year before finally going for a hosted Acrobat Connect Pro solution (500 participants in 5 different rooms for £900 initially and £500 renewal this year). The reason I went with Adobe at that point was the possibility of having multiple webcams at the same time (I was investigating the use of Live Classrooms for Sign Language training) and the results were great.
The hosted solution is significantly faster than the trial version (incidentally, not sure if you know that, but a free acrobat.com account gives you access to a scaled-down but still ok version of Acrobat Connect with I think 5 people in the room). Since last year I have kept an eye out for what's available elsewhere but nothing seemed to equal the fast Flash deployment and customisable layouts of Acrobat Connect Pro. I definitely agree with Darrell who said that it was built as a trainer's tool. Tons of functionality and it's working in low bandwidth conditions, too.
The only thing I would say about the solution is that, while it integrates with Adobe Captivate and Adobe Presenter and makes enhanced PowerPoint delivery really easy, at the end of the day Adobe Presenter is not such a great product imho. Articulate Studio seems to me a much cooler solution at building flashy online training resources.
I had no problem with this until earlier this week because in my mind synchronous training (Adobe Connect) is quite separate from asynchronous training (Articulate Studio and Adobe Presenter); however, on Monday I heard for the first time that some online conference organisers are requesting presenters to send enhanced PowerPoints to them (slides + audio on top, the kind that Articulate or Adobe Presenter would produce) so that they can play them to the online audience and the real presenter is on stand-by just in case there are some questions... a bit dodgy imho...