April 30th, 2015 Business

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.

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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter

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Thank you for this – it has been a bit of a journey for me in the last year trying to choose the best platform to teach pronunciation courses…I have tried nearly all the ones you mentioned, as well as WizIQ. Have you tried this one as well? I would be interested on your opinion. Thank you.

Hi Luella, thanks for the note – unfortunately I am not as familiar with wiziq.

I think WizIQ is brilliant. Wouldn’t use any of these other options for virtual classroom training.

Avatar Brian

I’ve used GoToMeeting and been very pleased with it. My money is now stretched about to its limit, though.

How Risky do you think it would be to hold a Skype meeting with 10 kids? Skype is how I teach my live lessons 1-on-1, but I have no experience with a group call. Or, if anyone else is reading these comments, have you tried Skype meetings?

Wish you had an edit button that would work for ten minutes!!!! 😉

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