What does the term Virtual Delivery or Virtual Classrooms mean for you?


Are you already using it? In what form?

What platform do you use?

What would be your top 3 golden rules?


My organisation are making this a focus for 2013 and I wondered what you guys think? There are lots of differing thoughts and opinions around what it even actually is, I guess I have my own ideas about that.






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Hi Nick,

I think you should steer away from virtual delivery or virtual classroom. 'Virtual' gives people a false expectation of what it is and in my experience creates barriers from the off.

Use terms like online learning or live online learning and if you are serious in making this part of the mix then they need to be interactive and about conversation rather than push / lecture style. Sometimes they are needed to cover a larger group of people but you can still use the tools available to get people involved.

How do you intend to start using them, are you looking to redesign existing content to an online format or are you looking to start creating these sessions from scratch?

I'd certainly look to make them bite size to either standalone or be part of the mix and front and back end of any other part of an approach to develop understanding or to help reflect follow up. The big benefit I see of this form of delivery is that you remove the need to be in the same physical place at the same time plus sessions can be recorded including chat and whiteboards so you can start building a great bank of good content. If you can then build this in to a CMS and/or social platform it allows the conversation to continue :)

I'd also look at the facilitating skills first and foremost of anyone who will be delivering in this way as well as any online tools.

Sounds like the opportunity is there though - great news!


What does the term Virtual Delivery or Virtual Classrooms mean for you?

Answer: Don't like these terms- prefer Internet-based online learning and internet-based Open Classroom.


Are you already using it?     Answer: I am personally, Edmodo, Moodle, U-Explore, YouTube etc

In what form?     Answer: Creation of content, videos, sound, pictures, web pages, communicating with students, both groups or individually, use voice recorder for assessment.

What platform do you use?                            Answer: PC mainly

What would be your top 3 golden rules?

1  Make online learning compulsory for 90% of learning

2  Students to not be allowed to progress unless fully onboard with the technology of THEIR world

3  Make it compulsory that teachers actively embrace online preparation, learning and assessment including consequences if refusal to implement openly. This needs to be agreed nationally and given a two-year learning time-span in order to get "with it" and give our students the best chance of future success.


What if the Teachers can't just "get with it". Some consideration needs to be given to the mind shift required for teaching with technology and training given in how to use these tools to their best effect.

Technology is a tool - it is no substitute for good content and engaged teachers/ trainers. It should be used when it is necessary. I enjoy face to face learning as much as I do watching a YouTube video or using Yammer to share some knowledge and expertise.

Also I wouldn't get hung up on terms - maybe describe the experience they will have instead.

Virtual Classroom = an online facilitated, multi participant, interactive session using whiteboards, break out rooms and engaging support materials.

Mobile learning = engaging materials delivered through your smart phone or tablet to support self directed learning and performance support.


It's all a bit wordy and consultant speak and does the learner really care or do L&D people get a bit hung up on it all?

Hi, I agree with you Drew that there does need to be support and guidance for teachers/trainers so they can understand and have the confidence when they are to use them and use them effecitvely.

I've also just posted on your thread you started a little while back. I posted some resources I found extremely useful that I hope willl also be useful for you Nick.

Colvin Clark, R and Kwinn, A. (2007) The New Virtual Classroom: Evidence-based Guidelines for Synchronous e-Learning, San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Hofmann, J. (2004) Live and Online! Tips, Techniques, and Ready-to-use Activities for the Virtual Classroom, San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Onlignment Ltd. (2009) Live online learning: A facilitator’s guide, Available from http://www.onlignment.com [last accessed 8 October 2010].


In answer to your original questions Nick:

Are you already using it?  Yes, we run on average 6-8 training sessions per month.

 In what form? The group sizes are generally capped at 14 so the sessions are generally very interactive, however interactions themselves differ depending on audience, objectives, cultural diversity etc.

What platform do you use? Currently using Webex. About to review this.

What would be your top 3 golden rules?

  1. Don't ever take a face to face course and just run it online.
  2. Know your audience, objectives and design accordingly. Always do a dress rehearsal.
  3. If possible, have someone hosting the session and someone facilitating. That way the host can deal with technical issues, monitor activity in the chat and then raise any questions/queries to the facilitator. As your facilitators become more experienced you may only want to use a host for 'first time' groups or for the larger group sizes if you have constraints around resources.
  4. Am I allowed a 4th rule?? Well, I will anyway.. Be careful of the duration. I would recommend 60 mins as the optimal duration. Some sessions we've run have gone to 90 mins and I believe this is slightly too long. If you need to do longer, get the group to take a break.


I hope these are useful.

Kind regards






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