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Live Training in a Virtual Classroom
Live training in the virtual classroom is real-time, interactive, hands-on learning delivered via the internet. A virtual classroom session involves all the elements of the traditional classroom except participants physically being together in a room.
A class utilizes a view of the instructor's desktop, similar to the projected application view in a traditional classroom. There are several modes of communication available, including those that are visual, text and verbal.
Visually participants can communicate using emoticons, which are blinking icons in the virtual classroom. The emoticons are dynamic, meaning once clicked, they disappear after about 5 seconds. Participants have the ability to raise their hand as they would in a classroom, indicating they have stepped away from the session, or use a polling or checkmark feature to indicate the completion of a task.
A text feature is available for participants to type and send messages. Text messages can be public, viewable by all or private. Private messages can only be viewed by the recipients the sender selects.
The audio feature utilizes voice over IP (VOIP). A headset with microphone is the recommended method of participating. The second option is to have a set of desktop speakers and a microphone. Most computer laptops have speakers and a microphone built in to the system.
In the virtual classroom both the instructor and participants have the ability to share a view of their desktop or application. Remote control of the shared application is also possible. Application sharing is the fundamental element that makes virtual classroom learning a functional alternative to in-person learning.
The instructor has the ability to work with participants individually or in groups. This is accomplished through a breakout room feature. Breakout rooms are best described using the analogy that it is similar to an instructor walking around a classroom viewing the user's desktop over his shoulder and collaborating in private.
Other features of the virtual classroom include an interactive whiteboard, file sharing, web tours, multimedia sharing, a notetaking, polling and quizzes.
Virtual classroom training is not just a lecture, which is a common misconception. Course materials include a manual with practice exercises and a dataset, when required. Participants are required to have a version of the Bentley application installed on their computer in order to complete the exercises and are encouraged to interact and communicate with the instructor on a regular basis.
The virtual classroom provides organizations with the flexibility to have colleagues join a session as a group gathered together in a training room or as participants connecting from their personal workstation. They can even join a session from home.