The Adobe Virtual Classroom and why Flash matters in eLearning

One of my favorite evangelical things I do at Adobe is to deliver live eSeminars, and when it comes to eLearning, “Interactivity in the Virtual Classroom,” is one of the most popular ones we host live at least once a month, with an average of 400 people attending each event.

In eLearning, the idea of a virtual classroom is sometimes also referred to as synchronous learning, distance learning or remote learning.  Regardless of the name, the key benefit of a virtual classroom is that it enables geographically dispersed learners to come together at the same time and enjoy an engaging learning experience.  All without incurring travel expenses and without much time away from the job.

Two of the challenges our customers report with a virtual classroom experience are: 1) the lack of interactivity, which leads to learners multi-tasking while participating live, and 2) some learners not able to participate in the live session and thus the need for the same level of interactive asynchronous (i.e. recorded session) learning experience.

The virtual classroom technology has come a long way and today most solutions include lots of bells and whistles to help presenters grab and maintain the learner’s attention, including chats, polls, real-time screen sharing, whiteboarding, voice-over IP, break-out rooms, and others. 

However, most web conferencing solutions available today only provide a flat, linear-based asynchronous experience with little or no interactivity in the recorded version of the live session. This is where our Flash-based Adobe Virtual Classroom solution comes in through Acrobat Connect Pro.

With 99% of all computers connected to the Internet having the Flash Player installed, the learner’s experience joining a virtual class in Acrobat Connect Pro is as seamless as can be, because no additional plug-ins are required, making Adobe Flash Player the world’s most pervasive software platform.

But this is just the beginning of why Flash matters in eLearning!

The second reason for why Flash matter is all about the live engaging experience your learners can enjoy in the virtual classroom.  This is about going beyond the usual chat, polls and the ever-popular displaying of PowerPoint slides during a live session, and into allowing learners the ability to to through self-paced Adobe Captivate movies and Adobe Presenter projects.  In other words, you can allow each individual learner the ability to learn a subject through an interactive software simulation for example.  To experience this live, sign up for one of our upcoming eSeminars by clicking here.

Let’s now turn our attention to the asynchronous learning experience after a live event.

As I wrote above, while most virtual classroom solutions simply offer a flat recorded version of the live session, Acrobat Connect Pro impressively preserves all interactivity from the live session in the recording, for an effective onDemand learning experience.

To illustrate this, I have recorded a short Acrobat Connect Pro session, where you can see what the experience is like from a learner’s perspective.  The recording allows you to click the pause button, and interact with a Captivate demo and a guided simulation, go through an informational-based Presenter project, click links in a resources slide, copy-paste text from the chat pod and even download files that were provided during the live session as additional resources.

Click here to watch the Connect Pro recording.

Lastly, one additional resource you can provide to learners after a synchronous event is the live discussion that took place during the session through the chat pod.  I see this as an opportunity to include answers to questions you couldn’t get to in the live event, and more importantly supplement the PDF version of the chat with Adobe Captivate movies for questions that were asked most often and also for questions that require complex explanations.

I have started doing this myself by copying and pasting the chat into Adobe FrameMaker, I then apply a template for better formatting and finally import Captivate movies in place that would help me answer questions more effectively.

Click here to download a PDF example, which include a Captivate movie, of a recent eSeminar I did.

If you want to do the same, here’s a how-to recording I did a while back on supplementing text-based PDF documents with Captivate movies using FrameMaker.

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