How to Create a Virtual Classroom

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Olga Demidenko
Author, Geomotiv
Published: Oct 13, 2021

Most of us, who are reading these lines now, definitely have rather traditional associations with the word “classroom”? What do you think about when you hear this word? Rows of desks, a blackboard, books, pens, and pencils. What else? But today, the world is different. Technologies that have entered all the industries are gradually changing how we can get new knowledge and develop new skills. With modern virtual classroom software, there is a great possibility to continue learning from any corner of the world.

In this article, we explain in more detail what new options a virtual class can offer to all the participants of the learning process and how to create an online classroom that will fully meet your needs. Sounds interesting? Just keep reading!

What is a virtual classroom?

Before we dive deep into this topic, let’s start with the essential virtual classroom definition. There can be different approaches to explaining this term. It can be viewed in a very narrow sense just as a platform or tool for conducting online classes. But usually, this notion is referred to as an online space intended for organizing the process of distance education that presupposes face-to-face communication between teachers and learners with the help of internet-connected devices.

Such systems are applied at schools or universities for conducting remote classes and in the business world for delivering corporate learning programs. In this case, a virtual class is used similarly: employees, clients, and partners can meet online face-to-face with trainers in real-time. Moreover, this software is often integrated with other corporate systems (we will consider this aspect a little bit later). After live classes and lectures, the recorded learning materials can be accessed from laptops, tablets, and smartphones from any place and at any moment.

Advantages for teachers and students

The virtual classroom market is continuously growing, which is explained by the increasing demand for this type of software. It is expected that between 2021 and 2028, the market will expand at a CARG of over 16%. It is also likely that in 2028 market value will hit the mark of over $193 billion.

But what makes teachers and students prefer this way of learning over traditional formats?

Advantages for teachersAdvantages for students
Real-time lessonsPossibility to continue the learning process at any time, from anywhere
Advanced tools for managing the learning processInteractive content format
Convenient ways of communication with students and their parentsSimple communication with a teacher
Possibility to conduct high-quality analysis of student’s progressTime efficiency
Possibility to use different content formatsAccess to the most relevant content that is timely updated

And as we have already highlighted, the demand for online teaching software is observed not only from the side of schools and universities but also from companies of different types and sizes. Among those entities that have already decided to create virtual classrooms, there are governmental organizations, large enterprises, companies with remote teams and others.

But what benefits can corporate users enjoy?

  • Continuous learning
  • Minimization of the impact of the learning process on the workload of employees
  • Flexibility in online training organization
  • Possibility to build emotional connectivity between employees even in a remote format
  • Increased quality of corporate training 
  • Personalized approach to learning.

How can a virtual class be integrated with another elearning software?

A virtual class itself is not a stand-alone solution. It should be a part of a broader elearning system. That’s why the issue of its integration is a significant one. Let’s put it simply: when you want to create a virtual classroom, you need to understand how its connection with other software for learning will be ensured. There are several options for doing that.

  1. Development of a virtual class as a native module of an LMS. Though this approach to product development will require rather impressive investments if we compare it with some other variants, it will help you to get an all-in-one solution for satisfying all the requirements of teachers and students at once. If you want to learn more about building a learning management system, follow this link.
  2. Development of a virtual classroom with a set of APIs that will ensure connectivity with third-party solutions. If you want to get your virtual class software developed with this integration method, you should know that to make it possible to use it with other apps you already have. Some additional coding work will be necessary. Though this development will be the cheapest option and will require less time than different approaches, the integration itself can become a rather time- and effort-consuming process.
  3. Development of a virtual class that will presuppose full third-party software integration. The development according to this approach is the longest and the most expensive way of all the variants we’ve mentioned. But it has many benefits. And the core one is that you do not need to be a programmer for synchronizing your virtual classroom with a supported LMS. Every user can easily do that. However, to connect a product with another app from the list of available options, a person will have to fulfill a couple of straightforward steps.

Though all these variants have their pluses and minuses, they all are widely applied these days depending on the needs, plans, budget of the company that orders the development, and many other factors. Therefore, it is essential to consider all the conditions and a broader context to make the correct conclusion.

Characteristics of a virtual classroom

  • Interactive. Simple lessons can be tedious, but the gamification elements, discussions, live tasks, and other interactive formats seriously increase efficiency and productivity.
  • Collaborative. The tools available to developers today allow them to enrich apps with various types of interactive features, including chats, forums, rooms for working on group projects. These formats make the learning process more engaging and support the development of communicative skills and relationships within a group.
  • Mobile. Today it is essential to make your learning software available from different mobile devices. It will help learners continue their studies from anywhere, even if they are far away from their desks.
  • Omni-synchronous. Modern elearning software lets teachers and students combine real-time lessons (synchronous) and asynchronous formats (this format means that a teacher publishes a lesson at one time, and students can complete tasks later).
  • Accessible to a broad audience. Platforms that are used today should be available to numerous users simultaneously regardless of their location.

Top virtual classroom platforms

Today, the market of software solutions offers a lot of ready-made answers to choose from. Below you can find just a few of the available variants.

  • Vedamo. It is an online classroom platform and LMS. To start using this software, you do not need to download it as it is browser-based. Users of this platform can enjoy the benefits of such tools like an interactive whiteboard, screen sharing, file sharing. Rooms for break-outs. The platform can be integrated with popular third-party solutions like Google for Education, Canvas, and many others.
  • BigBlueButton. It is one of the pioneers of the eLearning software industry. The platform became available to a broad audience in 2009. And since then, it has grown significantly. The software was built to facilitate online teaching via providing teachers with a broad scope of tools like an interactive whiteboard, file and screen sharing, broadest multiple web cameras. In addition, this solution can be integrated with the majority of the most popular learning management systems used today.
BigBlueButton
Source: https://bigbluebutton.org/
  • Edulastic. This platform is targeted mainly at schools and educational organizations. One of the key things that make this solution peculiar is the assessment functionality. The platform offers more than 10,000 ready-to-use tests that teachers can give to students to assess their knowledge. In addition, the system provides a detailed analysis of test results that help define the areas of expertise that need to be improved.

All these platforms differ in some features and peculiarities. That’s why it is always recommended to study attentively what benefits you can get with them. But if you want to have a platform that will fully meet your specific requirements and needs, we recommend considering a variant of ordering custom software development services.

For example, at Geomotiv, we have solid expertise in building elearning software of different types, including virtual classes for educational projects and businesses. Furthermore, our experts always attentively study all the client’s necessities and analyze the current market demand to build a product that will bring real value. 

How to create an online classroom: сore features

Thanks to technological progress and many development tools available today, software for teaching online can have an extensive functionality that will meet any educational needs that your company may have. Among them, we should name the following ones:

  • Modules for planning and class scheduling
  • Video live-streaming
  • Messaging tools
  • Online quizzes
  • Rooms for break-outs
  • Interactive whiteboard
  • Screen sharing
  • File sharing
  • Cloud recording and storage
  • Reminders and push notifications.

Quite conditionally, we can divide all these features into two groups: tools used by teachers and tools used by both teachers and students. But it is crucial to understand that all components are often available to all users of the platform. The only difference will be that teachers have administrator’s rights while students don’t. 

A virtual classroom can also be integrated with digital wallets, payment gateways, calendars, and email services.

This software can also be enriched with such additional features as:

  • AI and ML tools
  • AI-powered chatbots
  • Support of touchscreen 
  • AR/VR tool
  • Data analytics.

All this additional functionality can help significantly increase students’ engagement and involvement in the educational process, positively influencing their progress in learning new materials.

Let us know what requirements you have, and we will offer you a solution that will go far beyond your expectations.

Technologies used for building an online classroom

Our developers have a rich tech stack for building advanced solutions with a wide range of features aimed at facilitating and enhancing the learning process for both teachers and students.

  • Backend development - Node.js, PHP, Java EE
  • Frontend development - React, Angular, Flutter, Vue.js
  • For ensuring live video streaming - WebRTC.

The exact choice of the technologies depends on the software you already have and the possible ways to build interaction between a virtual classroom and the existing apps.

Costs of creating a virtual classroom

If you plan to create a virtual classroom, it is quite natural that the development cost is one of the essential aspects that may influence your decision.

As usual, when it comes to software development, the required investments may vary based on the exact functionality of your future product.

Let’s take a hypothetical virtual class that has such features as:

  • Video live streaming
  • Cloud recording and storage
  • Interactive whiteboard
  • File sharing
  • Messaging tools
  • Online quizzes
  • Integration of calendar and email services.

The development costs in such a case will be around $80K-$120K. But, of course, the precise amount depends on the scale of your platform, the number of learners who are expected to use the software, and other factors.

Do not worry if you have plans for launching software for teaching online but have little understanding of its possible type and functionality, do not worry! We are happy to help you. We deliver advanced software solutions for different business domains, and elearning is one of those spheres where we’ve gained the most vital expertise. That’s why you can entirely rely on us in all the questions related to custom software development.

The best way to reach us is to leave your inquiry on our website. Our specialists will contact you as soon as possible.

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