Making The Case For Feature-Rich Web Conferencing Tools
Remote learning has taken the education world by storm in recent years. Long before it became a necessity due to social distancing, education providers in many industries (universities, lifelong learning institutions, seminar providers, etc.) had already realized the numerous benefits that come with being able to provide virtual education. A few that quickly come to mind are flexible schedules, lower costs for lack of not needing a designated learning space, and wider learner outreach that isn’t affected by location. Responding to the education world’s need for tools that support virtual learning, various web conferencing platforms have made their appearance.
But are these platforms feature-rich enough to cover the growing needs of learners who invest in virtual education?
4 Signs Your Web Conferencing Platform Isn’t Making The Grade
1. Low Learner Participation Rates
No matter the simplicity of features, most web conferencing tools can accommodate up to hundreds of participants at a time. Although this can come in handy for high attendance events, such as webinars or university classes, that doesn’t mean everyone gets to participate. Allowing everyone to use their microphone for questions or comments can be disruptive to the flow of the session. A chat box is usually available, but it’s hard for hosts to constantly keep track of it. As a result, learners end up becoming passive listeners. A more efficient solution would include reaction buttons, dedicated question & answer boxes, or polls, all in the same view to facilitate general participation.
2. Learner Disengagement
As one can expect, one-sided learning experiences are much less engaging than interactive ones. Thus, learners quickly lose interest in the conference since they’re unable to fully participate. But there’s another reason that leads to learner disengagement, and that is content accessibility. Most web conferencing platforms promote auditory information, thus complicating information retention for visual or kinesthetic learners. Finally, distractions can play a big part in learner engagement. If participants aren’t presented with interactive content such as games, quizzes, and simulations, they can become distracted by other devices or surf the internet.
3. Minimal Personalization Options
Most conferencing platforms offer the basic features of video, sound, and possibly recording for subsequent sharing. And apart from a few visual personalization options, that’s where optimization begins and ends. If, as a host, you find yourself having to screen-share the same simple whiteboard in every session, it might be time for an update. Depending on the different needs of your learners and your subject matter, there are numerous features you could find useful. Namely, a platform that offers instant document sharing, drawing and annotations, asynchronous browsing, or LMS integrations.
4. Lack Of Reporting Abilities
A final feature that many web conferencing platforms don’t provide is a reporting system. Especially for events with a large number of participants, attendance keeping is of great importance, either for billing or record-keeping purposes. But apart from that, there is also engagement reporting. After a learning event is over, there’s no way to measure participation or engagement rates. As a result, hosts have no data that indicate the success of the conference. Lastly, if polls, questions, or quizzes are given, hosts can’t collect data during the event and immediately act upon it for timely learning interventions.
The usefulness of virtual education has been highlighted greatly in recent years. It helps learners access knowledge more easily and on their own terms. For these purposes, web conference platforms have become very popular among online education providers. However, basic platforms lack many of the abilities that are necessary to cover the needs of learners today. In our eBook (linked below), we explore the ways the Adobe Connect web conferencing platform can benefit the virtual classroom. This software aims to shape hybrid learning in a way that ensures maximum engagement and information retention.
Download the eBook Educators’ Guide To Overcome Hybrid Learning Hurdles With The Right Virtual Learning Solution to break down the roadblocks that stand in the way of hybrid learning success.