7 Factors to Consider While Choosing a Virtual Classroom | BrainCert

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Since the past ten years, virtual learning has become more and more popular in the education industry. In a report released by Research & Markets in 2019, it is estimated that the global online education market will reach 350 billion U.S. dollars by 2025. But with the beginning of the Covid19 pandemic forcing schools, universities, and companies to work remotely, virtual learning has gained unprecedented appeal in the education industry.
With the implementation of strict lockdowns, travel restrictions, and social distancing rules, organizations and educational institutions around the world are forced to turn to distance learning to provide the necessary training. The demand for virtual classroom platforms is unprecedentedly high.
But how do you determine the virtual classroom platform that can meet your unique training needs?
The following are seven factors to consider when choosing a suitable virtual classroom platform
1. Potential for video / audio conferencing
A major reason for the widespread acceptance of virtual classrooms is because it creates a virtual replica of the traditional classroom and students they can interact. This is possible in a virtual environment because the virtual classroom platform is rooted in video conferencing capabilities.
For this reason, the potential of videoconferencing in virtual classrooms should be a decisive parameter when making a purchase decision.
This is how to determine the video/audio conferencing potential of the virtual classroom platform.
Understand the provider’s technology for video conferencing: Although this may seem to be Greek and Latin to non-technical people, preliminary work on the technology used by the video conferencing platform is recommended. For example, in BrainCert, we use the deep SFU/MCU WebRTC engine powered by Simulcast to provide the best quality video stream for all participants in the classroom.
Number of participants supported in the classroom-Although most virtual classroom providers can support an unlimited number of participants in a room, the decisive parameter must be network latency. In a virtual classroom, the last thing you want is delay.
Data Center: The data center serves as the central access point for data in the virtual classroom. Before deciding to buy, the provider of the virtual classroom must become the deciding factor in the type of data center. The BrainCert virtual classroom platform enables users to host meetings in 10 low-latency edge locations around the world, spanning North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
2. Interactive Features
Although video / audio conferencing plays a vital role in a virtual learning environment, the interactive features provided by the virtual classroom platform create a collaborative classroom environment.
The following are the interactive functions required in a virtual classroom
Whiteboard: The interactive whiteboard in the virtual classroom platform plays a vital role in creating a collaborative virtual classroom environment. It is important to have a whiteboard so that both teachers and students can write, draw, and share content.
Multi-screen sharing option-Although screen sharing is a standard feature provided by virtual classroom platform providers, what you need to look for is whether they provide multi-screen sharing options. For example, the BrainCert virtual classroom platform enables teachers and students to share their computer screens on a tabbed whiteboard interface and make comments on the shared screen.
Content Sharing Function-The virtual classroom platform should allow teachers and students to share content in a collaborative environment. The BrainCert virtual classroom platform enables teachers and students to have image, video and text content from the cloud, computer or online platform.
Centralized control: For the virtual learning environment to be effective, teachers must be able to control the participants. Ideally, before making a purchase decision, make sure that the virtual classroom platform you choose has centralized control options. For example, the lecturer (host) should be able to choose to turn on/off the microphone, camera and screen sharing, provide/cancel screen sharing, access private chat, etc.
3. Compatibility with mobile/tablet devices The flexibility provided by the
virtual classroom platform is another important reason for its popularity. Having mobile / tablet support is equally beneficial for teachers and students. There are two ways to support
mobile / desktop.
Browser Support – Platforms like BrainCert come with cloud-based HTML5 virtual classrooms, allowing users to use only supported browsers without installing any apps. Join and host virtual classrooms based on Android and Apple iOS Devices. This is especially useful when you don’t want to spend more on the app, but want to keep all the platform’s features on your mobile device.
App-Based Support – This is where users need to download the platform’s mobile app and sign up to join / host a class.
If you want flexibility, we recommend that you continue to use the HTML5 platform (browser-based support).
4. Instant messaging tools
In a virtual classroom environment, communication between teachers and students is very important. This is where instant messaging tools such as chat boxes can come in handy. Although the chat function is common on all virtual classroom platforms, what you need to look for is whether you have a private chat option.
For example, the virtual classroom platform provided by BrainCert has a chat box, and you can choose to have one-on-one private chats. This is especially useful when teachers need to communicate with students on a personal level.
5. Group Discussion Room
For the classroom environment to be productive, students must communicate with each other in a controlled environment. This is what the meeting room does in the virtual classroom. Ideally, you should only invest in virtual classroom platforms that provide small group room functions.
If your virtual classroom platform has breakout rooms, teachers can divide students into groups and allow them to communicate with each other in a controlled environment. This is especially useful when the teacher needs the student to brainstorm and go out

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