by Jonathan Shoaf
Adobe Connect is one of the leading virtual classroom products on the market. It has this reputation because it is user friendly, feature rich, reliable, and provides an identical experience for all users on all systems that support Adobe Flash. Adobe Connect competes in both the web conferencing and education markets.
There are several reasons it competes well when it comes to corporate learning. First, it is easy for learners to participate. All they need is a web-browser that supports Flash. There is no requirement to get IT involved. It also supports collaborative sharing and breakout rooms. It's video streaming and sharing capabilities are a step above the competition allowing presenters to push out video and pause video in the same spot for all partipants. And finally, it has robust polling and audience engagement features.
For all these reasons, Adobe connect can be used to do a variety of sharing and learning tasks online.
Lectures and Webinars
When there is a large number of participants and audience interaction is not a priority, Adobe Connect works well for these lectures and webinars. First, Adobe Connect allows presenters to share PowerPoint presentations. Event hosts can upload these ahead of time and Adobe Connect will convert them to a Flash format.
During a presentation, presenters may want to poll participants to guide the topics covered in the lecture. Adobe Connect has robust polling capabilities. Presenters can create polls ahead of time or on the fly. Presenters also have control over whether or not results are broadcast to the participants.
There are two roles Adobe Connect provides for teaming up on lectures and webinars. Hosts have the ability to create meetings and setup the structure for the participants to see. Presenters, on the other hand, do not need to be experienced with Adobe Connect. They can be invited by a host and simply control slides while the host handles all the other necessary tasks for a meeting.
It is important to also mention Adobe Connect's mobile capabilities here. Learners can participate in webinars from their Android or iPhone device. As a participant they will be able to see slides, hear audio, and participate in chat.
Adobe Connect should not be thought of as a tool only for a large number of participants. In fact, some of the best features work for smaller groups. For example, nearly everything presented in Adobe Connect is a whiteboard. Attendees can use markup tools to annotate slide shows, images, and even streaming video.
Break out rooms are intelligently designed in Adobe Connect. Participants can be grouped into smaller rooms where they each become presenters and can share with each other. Group work done in these break out rooms can be shared with the rest of the class when the breakout sessions have ended.
Because it is Flash based, any Flash file can be imported and used in a meeting. These could be simulations, games, or self-paced e-learning modules. This allows the use of more interactive content to engage participants.
Personal Meeting Rooms
When is a virtual classroom not a classroom? When it's your own personal virtual office. When you create a room in Adobe Connect, it is persistent. It stays there until you tell it to go away. This means you can have a virtual office that is always available for meetings. You can have your meeting room's URL on your business card.
Adobe Connect's desktop sharing can be used to share information with others in these rooms. You can even take control of a participant's desktop (with their permission, of course).
Other benefits to having a meeting room include using a web cam so that attendees can see each other, sharing downloadable files with attendees, and using Adobe Connect's VoIP capabilities to allow meetings without the added cost of telephone conferencing.
These are just a few of the ways you can use Adobe Connect. It is a well thought out product that provides many options for interacting with and engaging remote participants. How do you use Adobe Connect?