High Performing Business – Technology – The Right Frustrations
Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT
We use a virtual live classroom to teach Cheetah Learning’s accelerated four day PMP class so people can take it wherever they are – real time. To set this up, we researched ways to easily capture a wide angle view of the physical classroom space. People remember in pictures and locations. And they absorb 2000 times more information then they are aware of. So what is on the walls in our classroom is important.
I was chatting with a very helpful online meeting service tech support gentleman with a heavy accent. In hushed tones, he shared with me how to capture my physical classroom with just a dedicated laptop and a wide angle camera. I had been looking at more formal business virtual meeting solutions his company offered that cost over $10,000. But his solution actually gave us more options and was far less expensive. The laptop was $139, the wide angle camera was $79 and the noise cancelling headset $129. We used an extra tripod we had on hand. The whole set up was less than $350. Considering the online meeting system can stream off smart phones, it makes participating for the students simple as well.
I’ve been teaching online since 1995 and have experimented over the years with virtual live classrooms. I have preferred creating asynchronous online learning experiences – it provides for more freedom for both the student and the teacher. Plus it allows the student more time to practice new skills in their own environment. But this situation is a bit different. We have run a very successful in person test prep coaching business since 2001. We have also offered a four week online asynchronous version of the test prep program since 2004 as well. But we have had requests to replicate our 4 day classroom version in a virtual live format. While we do have extensive experience and success teaching online, we had not been all that enamored with virtual live classsrooms. The technology was just too frustrating for everyone to use. But within the past year or so, streaming technology has improved dramatically making this a viable option for both us and our students. We are able to easily replicate our in persom classroom for a small class size in a virtual live classroom. Now people who can’t make it to the classroom can participate real time in Cheetah’s four day full time dedicated accelerated learning sprint to pass the very difficult project management professional (PMP) exam.
I have found time and time again the best technology solution to provide a great student experience is the one that costs the least and requires the least amount of technical skill to use – especially when the student is using the technology as a way to access the material, connect with the instructor and collaborate with other students. Being on the bleeding edge with technical possibilities hampers rather than enhances learning environments. While some frustration is good for learning, it needs to be with the content related to the learning and not with the technology for accessing the learning environment.
To learn more about Cheetah Learning’s virtual live classroom course to prepare for the PMP certification exam, visit www.cheetahlearning.com or call us at 888-659-2013.