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How can virtual classrooms help institutions evolve and adapt to new challenges?

The events in the past year have greatly impacted how universities operate. The reduced number of international students enrolled and the increased challenges to attract and retain regional students – coupled with the recent financial pressures – have overwhelmed all aspects of learning institutions’ academic and administrative operations.

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"A virtual classroom solution encourages the collaboration and sharing of ideas and knowledge"

The challenge to deliver the same quality of learning while embracing new technologies and systems has been commendable.

Academics and teaching professionals have embraced new ways of working and adapted their teaching styles and interactions for students to ensure they maximise each opportunity.

“Universities are demonstrating their agility by revising their value propositions”

Students’ desire for social interaction and collaboration with their peers and academics give them a well-rounded experience, and they seek opportunities to study abroad to learn new languages, access broader educational opportunities and immerse themselves in different cultures.

However, as this year has shown, students are reluctant to invest significant money to consume basic online content without the interaction of a real classroom experience.

Universities are demonstrating their agility by revising their value propositions and evolving their digital learning strategies.

They have created hybrid learning environments, and implemented edtech solutions to improve student learning outcomes, reduce teaching burdens and drive the effectiveness of their pedagogical delivery.

A key factor when integrating a new edtech solution is to consider one which provides a forum to deliver a personal, interactive experience for both the lecturer and student.

A virtual classroom solution encourages the collaboration and sharing of ideas and knowledge. Integrated collaborative tools with features such as hand-raising, polls, breakout groups and integrated whiteboards improves engagement and learning success.

Consulting with our X2O Media clients, I have seen how the X2O Virtual Classroom can provide an immersive blended learning environment where academics and students, either in-room or virtual, can unite and continue the valuable conversations as if they were all in the same room.

By using virtual classroom technology, universities can provide an accessible route for students to learn while providing unique learning opportunities.

For example, professors can take centre stage as a remote presenter, irrespective of their location, to give a new dimension to a class. This in turn opens up new possibilities for universities to break the geographic barriers and attract students, and academics from a global perspective.

Immersive solutions like the X2O Virtual Classroom can also support the teaching of hard skills by using multiple camera streams and unparalleled audio to demonstrate practical activities to remote and in-room participants.

This application is suitable for a range of different faculties from the arts and business to science, engineering, medical and other labour intensive studies.

By adopting a virtual classroom solution that supports both synchronous and asynchronous learning, you can drive participation from students either in-room or virtually as well as accommodate flexible needs of students who may need to watch a recording of the class post session.

“Blended learning environments don’t have to be mutually exclusive”

It is also worth noting that blended learning environments don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Universities can create a balance using digital learning environments to support specific needs and course requirements while still using traditional and existing classroom infrastructure.

In these uncertain times, universities need to remain relevant and adopt edtech solutions.

Hybrid learning environments can support long-term development plans and provide flexible teaching environments that showcase an institutions’ dedication and innovative approach to learning.

About the author:

 Bernardo Amador works for X2O Media as Education Partnerships Manager bringing with him 10 years of experience from the education sector. In his role at X2O Media he works with educational institutions to help them improve student engagement, participation and pedagogical delivery using virtual learning environments.

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