Growth is important in any business. Language schools and training facilities have to keep this in mind just as much as in any other industry. One of the most important ways that language schools grow is by finding ways to enrol higher student numbers.
Enrolling more students usually means running more classes. Though this is an effective way of increasing turnover, it can also be a significant logistical challenge. Committing to the extra cost of hiring more tutors, finding additional teaching space to rent or even just timetabling in more classes can be difficult.
It’s because of issues like these that more and more language schools are opening themselves up to the possibilities of the digital world. Investing in a learning management system (LMS) can make it possible for language schools to increase their intake without having to expand their physical teaching capacity.
A virtual classroom with integrated LMS such as Voluxion gives language schools the freedom to open up their existing teaching resources to greater numbers of students.
Language schools who are considering going down this route might want to take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of the virtual classroom.
What are the advantages?
#1 They’re scalable
When investing in the future of a business, it’s important to do so with flexibility in mind. Where the business is now might not be where it is in five years time. The great thing about using a learning management system with an integrated virtual classroom is that there is scope to scale offerings up or down when required.
#2 They’re accessible
A virtual classroom is accessible to anyone who has a computer, tablet or smartphone. It doesn’t matter about where each potential student is based geographically or even whether they are suffering from health or mobility issues. Everyone will be able to log in as and when they choose.
#3 They’re affordable
The costs involved in setting up a learning management system and virtual classroom compare extremely favourably with the cost of expanding into additional physical classrooms. These savings can generally be passed onto students, which can increase course uptake.
#4 They’re effective
The tools and resources that can be offered from within a virtual classroom have been proven to be effective. Presenting teaching materials in this way allows students to have greater control over how and when they access them, meaning they can take full control of their own learning experience and increase their likelihood of success.
#5 They’re popular
There’s a lot to be said about an educational tool that students are excited about using. Learning management systems with inbuilt virtual classrooms are popular with students for all the reasons mentioned above. This popularity means that students are much more likely to spend time studying and revising important course materials, and suggests that course drop out rates could be reduced.
What are the disadvantages?
Though there certainly aren’t as many disadvantages as advantages, there are some aspects of using a virtual classroom that some people might consider a downside.
Here are some factors to consider:
#1 Some people may consider them impersonal
There will always be people who will vastly prefer in-person learning to digital learning. Some tutors and students may be uncomfortable with the idea of either delivering or engaging with a course that is taught entirely from a virtual classroom.
There are ways to manage this. A learning management system will offer the opportunity for learners to connect with their tutors and fellow students using video, audio and text chat mechanisms. Encouraging conversation via this forum can help to show that virtual doesn’t have to mean lonely.
Virtual classrooms can also be used alongside in person classroom time to support and strengthen learning opportunities.
#2 Some tutors and students may need extra training
Most virtual classrooms are designed to be used intuitively. Most students and staff are likely to be extremely comfortable using tech of this kind. However, some staff and students won’t be as confident using digital tools and may need additional support to get started. It may be necessary to have a dedicated member of I.T. support staff available to fulfil this role.
Though there are a few disadvantages of incorporating a virtual classroom into a training school environment, we believe they are vastly outweighed by the many advantages.
A good learning management system can make it easy to provide a virtual classroom space and get your course material online. If you’re unsure what an learning management system is and how it could be of benefit to your language school, take a look at this: What is a Learning Management System and Why Does Your Language School Need One?
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