Overview

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Welcome to the e-learning tutorial on Going Virtual: Online Tools for Virtual Meetings and Training. In this lesson, you will be introduced to four web-based tools that will enhance your ability to have real-time interactions over the Internet using integrated audio and video, chat tools, and application sharing. Using a virtual meeting or training tool can help to reduce travel and other costs, accommodate schedules, and possibly increase audience size.

Virtual meetings and trainings save time and money.

Virtual meetings and trainings are real-time interactions that take place over the Internet using integrated audio and video, chat tools, and application sharing. Imagine that you are an organization that provides training to a number of partners and you have a coalition that stretches across the state. It can be a real challenge to get everybody in the same room at the same time due to scheduling. You also know that there are many costs associated with getting everyone together, including gasoline, hotel costs, food, and space to hold the meeting.

The benefits of virtual meetings allow you to reduce costs, more easily find a schedule that works for everyone, and even possibly increase audience size because anyone can attend as long as they have internet access.

The benefit of reaching a larger audience is ideal for an organization that wants to train volunteers across a large geographic area. The online training media might also be a draw for new volunteers that are interested in receiving ongoing training that fits their schedule. Standardized training for volunteers can be done easily with online training tools because many tools have the ability to record the training to be posted online for access anytime and anywhere.

The benefits of using virtual meetings are extensive.

Virtual meeting programs have many features that can serve a variety of needs. Not all programs offer every feature; however, even the most basic features provide widespread benefits. The first feature of virtual meetings is the ability to share your screen with all meeting attendees. This feature is the backbone of virtual meetings. If the host pulls up a website, PowerPoint, or Word document, everyone else sees the program on their own screen. This is extremely beneficial when walking through multiple documents. Other benefits of this feature include developing a collaborative document. Everyone can see whatever the host is writing to ensure their comments were accurately captured.

Virtual meetings and trainings allow for multiple presenters in multiple locations. This feature allows a second trainer to share their screen with all attendees even if they are in a different office or even state. The process is usually simple and only requires a click of a button to transfer control.

The last key feature included in many programs is an interactive element to virtual meetings. This includes polls, evaluations, or question and answer capabilities. These features are especially important during lengthy training sessions when it is hard to keep the audience engaged. An attendee sitting at their desk may be easily distracted by email, phone calls, or people coming to their door. Polls can also be used to quiz attendees to establish a benchmark of their content knowledge or learning preferences. Evaluations can be done after a session to assess the effectiveness of training. Finally, questions and answers can be used throughout to share ideas or learnings.

To find the right virtual meeting tool, it helps to do a side by side comparison.

Two resources that will help you compare and evaluate online tools for virtual meetings and trainings include the report card and the comparison table.

The report card uses multiple factors to compare the various tools, including, cost, security, administrative and user skills required, and key benefits and drawbacks. Included in the report card are additional virtual meeting tools that you might find fit your needs. The comparison table includes information such as core features and capabilities for each tool.

Click to open interactivity The virtual meeting report card and comparison table will help you find the right tool.

The virtual meeting report card and comparison table will help you find the right tool.

Download the Report Card and Comparison Table to reference as you complete this lesson.

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