Many states have been reopening schools, colleges, and educational institutions after the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, many states have put school reopening plans on the waitlist due to the fear of the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like other educational institutions, your school must keep students and teachers safe by continuing online classes. The continuation of online classes is one of the key factors driving the growth of the global virtual classroom software market.
Virtual Classroom Software Market
According to Data Bridge Market Research,
“The virtual classroom market will reach an estimated value of USD 193.19 billion and grow at a CAGR of 16.31% in the forecast period of 2021 to 2028. Rising prevalence for personalized learning experiences is an essential factor driving the virtual classroom market.”
The consistent growth of the worldwide virtual classroom market creates opportunities for you to choose from a wide range of virtual classroom platforms. Each of these virtual classroom platforms is developed with features and tools to create an online learning environment where teachers and students can communicate and interact with each other seamlessly. Also, the cloud-based virtual classroom platforms enable educational organizations to continue online classes without creating and maintaining onsite IT infrastructure.
But you must remember that the software and platforms differ from each other primarily in the category of virtual classroom platform features. Some of these platforms facilitate learning experience personalization and boost learner engagement by leveraging cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR). At the same time, most virtual classroom platforms stand out from their competitors by providing innovative and out-of-box features.
That is why; you must focus on some of these must-have virtual classroom platform features while choosing and shortlisting elearning solutions for your educational institutions. These must-have features will help your educational organizations to keep students engaged and promote knowledge retention despite continuing online classes.
9 Must-Have Virtual Classroom Platform Features to Ensure Knowledge Retention
1) Usability, Accessibility, and Compatibility
You can ensure learning continuity and knowledge retention when the students, teachers, and administrators can access the virtual classroom platform using a desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Likewise, you need to ensure that every user can access the elearning solutions without requiring specific technical skills or elaborate training. That is why; you must use accessibility, usability, and compatibility as prerequisites to shortlist the software solutions before evaluating virtual classroom platform features.
2) Video Conferencing Tools
No virtual classroom software can facilitate virtual instructor-led training (VLIT) without supporting video conferencing. In addition to supporting live video streaming, the software must allow instructors to share pre-recorded video lectures. Likewise, the software must allow students and teachers to view each other simultaneously by supporting grid view.
However, you also need to ensure that the virtual classroom software allows students to ask questions and clear doubts while attending live online classes using by providing specific features. The quality of video conferencing tools will directly impact the way the online classrooms replicate traditional classrooms.
3) Whiteboard Integration
Both teachers and students can write on an online whiteboard simultaneously just like using conventional whiteboards. In online learning environments, teachers use whiteboards frequently to share ideas, explain concepts, and collaborate with students visually. They further use the online whiteboards as a powerful tool to collaborate and interact with students. You can easily create virtual classrooms focus on discussions instead of lectures by choosing software that features online whiteboards.
4) Multi-Format Digital Content Access
Many virtual classroom platforms these days allow students to acquire knowledge by accessing a wide range of digital content – ebooks, videos, audiobooks, podcasts, infographics, and quizzes. Also, some of these software solutions come with built-in content authoring tools. But you must remember that most teachers and instructors lack the expertise to create digital content using these built-in tools.
Hence, you should look for virtual classroom platforms that can be integrated seamlessly with ready-to-use digital libraries. The digital library integration is one of the most important virtual classroom platform features that enable students to access multi-format digital content without requiring teachers to put in extra time and effort.
5) Communication Tools
The virtual classroom platforms help you to overcome one of the most important shortcomings of elearning – the absence of face-to-face interaction. But you can make the online classes more effective only when students can interact with teachers using multiple communication options.
The new-age virtual classroom software comes with a slew of interactive tools – instant messaging, group messaging, group chats, and breakout rooms. These communication tools are essential to make promote knowledge retention by facilitating uninterrupted interaction between teachers and students.
6) Online Examination Software
Like live classes and real-time interaction, online examinations are one of the key elements of virtual classrooms. In addition to teaching students, the teachers must measure the performance and ensure knowledge retention by conducting timed tests and promotional exams.
The teachers need a robust evaluation system to plan and conduct online tests and exams by creating customized question banks. You can make it easier for teachers to conduct online tests by choosing a virtual classroom platform that features a built-in evaluation system with varying question banks.
7) Controls and Restrictions
The virtual classroom platforms enable teachers to replicate traditional classrooms in a virtual learning environment. That is why; they must provide teachers to manage and control the class in their own way. While comparing virtual classroom platforms, you must look for features that enable teachers to prevent students from performing certain activities or accessing specific functionalities. Likewise, the teacher must have the option to eliminate disturbances and disruptions by muting learners while delivering lectures or explaining concepts.
The virtual classroom platform must enable teachers and administrators to generate a variety of reports in a few seconds. The reports generated based on real-time learner data will help teachers to automate routine activities like taking attendance. Also, the teachers can measure and monitor the performance and progress of students by generating reports from time to time. That is why; built-in reporting and analytics is one of the key virtual classroom platforms features you must look for.
9) Adopting Popular eLearning Trends
You cannot boost learning experience and learner engagement without choosing a virtual classroom platform that supports some of the hottest trends in elearning, including gamification and social learning. You can easily implement social learning by choosing a software solution that allows students to share feedback, exchange ideas, and ask questions in real-time. Likewise, you can boost knowledge retention through gamification of the learning experience by choosing a platform that comes with popular gamification features like badges and coins.
Mintbook is one of the edtech companies that help your educational institution to ensure learning continuity and knowledge retention by adding new and innovative features to its virtual classroom software regularly. Both students and teachers can access these new and updated virtual classroom platform features immediately while accessing the cloud-based elearning solution on their desktops, laptops, smartphones, or tablets.