One of the challenges in elearning is creating a course environment that is engaging to the learner, designed in a way that makes them feel like they are not left on their own.
Over the years this has been combated in a few ways. You’ll see gaming elements added to courses, exercises, scenarios, simulations, and forums to help encourage interaction.
While these techniques all have merit, sometimes there just isn’t a substitute for human interaction.
I should note that not all elearning programs are conducive to this method. In fact, it is more likely to be the exception rather than the rule. But let’s say you have a course (or courses) and you feel that they would be enhanced by occasional live instruction – what tools should you use?
The good news is you have plenty to choose from, but that can sometimes make the decision all that much more difficult. Over the years I have had the opportunity to use a variety of platforms. Some of these were paid programs and others were free.
Below is a list of programs that I consider to be top contenders. Feel free to share any experiences you have with these platforms in the comments, or perhaps mention some of your personal favorites.
Recommended Programs for Virtual Instruction
GoToMeeting – It should come as no surprise that this one makes the list. GoToMeeting has a very solid reputation in this space, one reason being because you know you’ll have a reliable connection. When professionalism is important, then I personally wouldn’t consider much else.
AnyMeeting – In my opinion, AnyMeeting has the best free plan available on the market. You get a boatload of features and all you need to do is allow a few ads. If you want to remove these ads, you’ll need to sign-up for one of their plans.
Google Hangouts – Another very popular application for web meetings. I’ve had mixed experiences. Sometimes the connection reliability is great, but other times I’ve encountered issues. Perhaps a better solution for smaller audiences.
Skype – Another household name that many people find to be ideal for webinars. The benefit here is that most people are familiar with how Skype works so you won’t have too many tech issues when holding your sessions.
Big Blue Button – This is a self-hosted platform for holding interactive live-meetings. It is open-source, so in many ways it is the “WordPress of Online Meetings”. The feature-set is geared towards teachers.