Lately the adjective “virtual” has become popular in the learning community to describe an array of services, many of which have little to do with holograms, ill-defined structures, or instant answers and a lot more to do with leveraging technology to structure learning activities that simply join learners with a network of knowledge.
But when discussing the term “virtual,” the conversation often gets lost in the fog of technology speak, operating systems, configurable interfaces and cool apps. The intent of this analysis is to define virtual learning, offer practical approaches to deliver training and provide a perspective on free, available resources to facilitate continuous, virtual learning (VL).
Another important feature is that because almost all virtual learning can be recorded, it becomes the gift that can keep on giving; recording a session greatly adds to virtual learning’s efficiency, productivity, and cost effectiveness. In fact, it’s quite common to record the lecture portion and then marry that to a live chat session allowing the main talent like a an industry guru, rock star CEO or passionate customer to present once but reach many later via recording. Rerunning the marquee talent’s message supported by an active team of live, subject matter experts discussing the presentation can create an impactful learning episode.
VL Program Elements
In an attempt to remove a financial challenge from decisions to use VL, recognize that there are free options. Some of these online meeting services come with attendant client software installations, while others might require a separate audio/telephone bridge and the bandwidth requirements may be a consequent challenge for your IT network. As specified above, there are a number of services from major players such as Adobe and AT&T along with smaller players like anymeeting.com and vyew.com. Most offer a time- and/or user-limited free trial while others more generously provide an ongoing free ride but only for a limited number of seats.