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Seb Anthony

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On-line, real time virtual classrooms


At present I train numerous clients up and down the country on our software. This involves great logistical issues including, hiring suitable venues, getting clients togther, loading a hire car with base units, flat screens etc..
There is also the costs involved with general expenses...

Therefore we are looking at offering web based training to include in our portfolio of courses. I have been looking at virtual classrooms - the ones where people dial in to a session and a real person is training over telephone or mic.

Does anyone have experience of running or attending such courses? I can see huge benefits for software demo's but I am unsure of how this virtual environment works for software training.

Thank you!
Beth Neill

7 Responses

  1. You could try Microsoft Netmeeting
    I used Netmeeting (I think it is a Microsoft tool) to run a virtual classroom to demonstrate a new on-line order entry system to people in 3 corners of the country. I used a conference call so that everyone could hear the commentry.
    My organisation arranged the licence for Netmeeting and your client would have to have it too.
    I thought it was a great tool and there were a lot of positive comments from the users and obviously it saved a great deal of time and money.
    However the downsides were: sheduling – eg contacting people who forgot to dial in.
    technology – how to help people who were not confident/not used to using this type of technology when you are remote.
    And finally dealing with any problems that occur during training eg a users pc crashing.
    However I think the downsides could have been avoided with good support services at each of the sites I was training.
    Hope this is of use and good luck

  2. We use Webex
    At my company we use a product called Webex – can’t say whether it’s better than others as I have no experience of NetMeeting. It works ok, the session can be a little ‘stilted’ if not capably managed by a good facilitator. The other problem you will have, is that people will ‘multi-task’ during your training session – either checking emails/reading papers/answering cellphones etc. No reason why it shouldn’t work for you overall, though

  3. Learn Linc
    We use Learn Linc software for our virtual classroom delivery of project management training.
    It’s very flexible, stable and user friendly!
    If you require any contact details, please yell.

  4. Virtual Classrooms

    NetMeeting is best if the delegates are all in one network and the comms links are good. Linked with conference calling it’s not a bad start.

    Centra is good but you may hit client intranet problems.

    Microsoft Live Meeting is my current favourite. It seems easy (ish). And the intranet problems I hit with Centra didn’t materialise at all when I linked to a Live Meeting conference call.

  5. Becoming a Virtual Trainer
    Clive Shepherd has written a very useful article entitled Training the e-trainer all about the challenges and benefits involved in delivering effectivelearning via a virtual classroom. You will find this on-line at:

    Not so long ago I also reviewed Webex Training Centre on behalf of Training Journal magazine. You can read this review on-line at:

    Finally, you will find a Competency Framework that defines the skills needed to deliver effective training in a Virtual Classroom on-line at:

    I hope this helps.

    Best wishes

  6. An opportunity to try one product
    Beth, if you’d like to participate in virtual classroom environment, you might like to try the following:

    The Learning Technologies Conference runs a series of free online webcasts, using Centra. They’re usually on the last Thursday of the month, and involve 2 or 3 one-hour sessions. To participate in a session, just sign up at:

    The next sessions will be on Thursday, September 25th. Full details will be be posted on the web site by the end of the first week of September, but I can tell you that one session will be an interview with Donna Murphy, editor of IT Training Magazine.


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