Hundreds of Online Education Platforms exist on market today. The question is how do we choose the proper online education platform one for our needs?
There is no standard definition of what Online Education Platform is, nor there is a list of what elements and what functionality it should provide. In addition several other terms are very popular which to some extent overlap and these are: Virtual Classroom Platform (aka Virtual Classroom Software), Learning Management System (or LMS), Online Teaching Software and so on.
No matter how these are called, they all are designed to deliver knowledge online - in other words, to allow trainers (online schools, individual teachers, private tutors etc) to teach students remotely over the internet.
So what do we need to accomplish this online training task successfully? My experience shows that there are certain modules in every online education platform that are must-have and every online education would agree with me. These are:
Now matter if it is a private tutor or an entire school it is extremely important to get rid of the inconvenient Excel lists where most current schools and tutors keep a track of their students. This competent should allow you to keep a detailed record of the students and arrange them into groups.
Online Course & Content Development
Whatever call these - online courses or subjects - you will not be wrong. So this is a very important element of every online teaching platform. Educators should be able to create unique and engaging learning content under the form of self-paced online courses. Students advance on their own in an asynchronous manner.
Live Virtual Classroom
Self-paced (asynchronous) learning may not be always enough. Many online teachers prefer to teach their online students synchronously - in a live virtual classroom, with the help of virtual classroom software. A good online education platform should offer an integrated live virtual classroom. This saves expenses to educators, as they do not need to use third party web conferencing software for their live online classes.
Online Assessment and Examination Tools
Homework has undoubtedly the most efficient way to establish solid knowledge and long-term skill in students. A professional and robust online teaching software should provide a module for delivering homework and options to asses how students complete their tasks. In addition - a good online teaching platform should allow creation of online quizzes, term or mid-term exams, entry tests, level tests, etc. Automatic test marking and multiple grading scales are of a great advantage, especially in cases where schools work with multiple examination boards at the same time - like for example Edexcel, Cambridge and others.
Online Discussions and Forums
Further engagement of learners by initiating discussions on certain online course topics or lessons is a great technique to increase students' involvement. This can be achieved with the help of a discussion or forums module. Students share thoughts and review and discuss ideas. Another application of this element of the online education platform is to allow students to help themselves (self-help) and get support from other students when needed.
Every online educational platform should support the above but not limited to these. Electa Learning Management System in an online educational platform which supports many other modules and offers a great set of tools and techniques to help you in build effective online education.