For years I have been attending technical training classes with Globalknowledge. The classes have always been in another state and I have always had to fly to the city and spend a week away from my family. The sacrifice of the travel and week away from my family is always well worth the education that I receive from the class.
This year the travel budget was low and my employer didn’t have the funds to send me to another state for the training. I decided to take the virtual Cisco ARCH class. To prevent work distractions I attended the training from home. I was a bit skeptical about how good the class would be without the classroom environment. My coworker had taken a virtual class a few weeks before me and stated that it went very well.
Globalknowledge uses Adobe Connect to connect the students to each other and the instructor. I was very impressed with how well Adobe Connect worked. I was able to hear the instructor and see the presentation with out any jitter or choppy behavior. By connecting over the Internet, I expected voice quality issues. At times people talked over one another, no different then a conference call. During the lecture, I was able to use my computer speakers to listen to the instructor and use my microphone to ask questions. During the lab sessions I had to use a telephone to dial in, or it would call me. Dialing in allowed my lab group to be isolated from the other members in the class. The instructor would periodically join in to our conference call to be available for questions.
The application gave me everything I needed to participate in the class and interact with the instructor and class mates. Even with the very good technology, I still felt disconnected. I was sitting at my desk at home, away from work issues. Other members in the class were attending the class at work. Those members at work kept getting called away. At one point when it was lab time, I was the only person on the conference call working on the lab. I found this to be very frustrating. One of the best parts of attending a class is to learn from others experiences in the class. By being the only person on the call, I missed out at times.
The virtual class was very convenient and the instructor was very knowledgeable. I feel like Globalknowledge has done the best they can to connect the students with the instructor. I did miss the side conversation with the other classmates and the instructor. I feel the side conversation is just as valuable as the curriculum that is being taught. With the virtual class, there was much less side conversation with the instructor and classmates. In the future, I’m not so sure I will select a virtual class if I have the option to attend the class in person.
Have you taken a virtual class before? Did you like it? Did you feel connected?
Virtual or In Person? What do you prefer?