With the evolution of education, it is nearly impossible to eliminate technology use. The Covid-19 pandemic led to the wide adoption of e-learning. Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, Go to Meeting, Google Meet, Zoom, and Adobe Connect were commonly used online delivery systems. I would choose Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Team offers excellent communication when learning. The Microsoft Team can provide video conferencing abilities. It includes voice calling and chat functionalities. Members of the learning platform can share and edit content in real time through the shared virtual workspace. Moreover, the Microsoft Team is well integrated with other Microsoft suite products, including Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint presentations. Microsoft Team’s online delivery platform can be compared to zoom.
Zoom comprises video and audio-conferencing capacities, video webinar functionality, and chat functionality. Zoom can offer extensibility for Microsoft Teams, Zendesk, MailChimp, and Market. The price of Microsoft Teams range can be free or bought at a maximum of $20, while zoom can be accessed for free, and the maximum amount to get the App can be $30. The video capacity offered by Microsoft Teams is set at HD 1080p, while the video quality of zoom is set at HD 720p as default, but one can also get an HD of 1080p. The accessible version of Microsoft Teams does not include built-in support, while Zoom, the free version, has web support offered daily. The self-service documentation in Microsoft Teams is available through Microsoft Docs, while the self-service documentation in Zoom is available in the Zoom Help Center. Regarding privacy, Microsoft Teams offers end-to-end user encryption and multi-factor authentication, while Zoom offers 256-bit TLS encryption and AE-256 encryption. In addition, Microsoft Teams is HIPAA, SOC, GDPR, and FedRAMP compliant, while zoom has optional security features.
Google Meet is the other popular online delivery system and, when compared to Zoom, is more secure as it encrypts messages; however, the encryption is not end-to-end. The messages in Google Meet are only encrypted between the Google servers and the learner’s device, that is, transit encryption. On the other hand, Microsoft Teams stores the data for audio, desktop sharing, and video by using the Secure Real-time Transport Protocol. The maximum number of people that Google Meet can accommodate is 250. With Zoom, 500 participants can be hosted, although one can buy a large meeting add-on. Microsoft Teams can only accommodate a maximum of 250 learners.
There are no limits to time in Google Meet and Microsoft Teams. Zoom, however, has a time limit of up to 40 minutes. The use of Zoom may therefore be inconvenient to use. In the three types of online delivery systems, meetings can be recorded. This is an advantage to the learners as they can revisit the class later. Google Meet can only allow one person to share their screen. Zoom and Microsoft Teams, however, are not limited to the number of people sharing their screens. Zoom and Google Meet can allow the instructor to see everyone on the net. Microsoft Teams does not allow everyone to be seen on the net.
Live Online Learning Versus Face-to-Face Learning
Live online training is done using devices that can access the internet, while face-to-face learning is more physical. These types of learning have some similarities and differences in facilitation. Live online training will reduce the budget cost for learners and administration. Live online learning can enable facilitators to reach a maximum number of students compared to the face-to-face situation (Hoi et al., 2021). Face-to-face learning is beneficial to learners as they can access learning information at any place and time. The online teaching method is consistent, which is an advantage to the learners.
Face-to-face learning enables facilitators to monitor students well and gauge their level of attention to the students. Also, students can concentrate better on face-to-face learning than on online learning. Learners also can collaborate with other students from different cultural backgrounds. In addition, the students are likely to follow and engage well in face-to-face learning in contrast to online lessons.
Facilitating learning in an online class requires some skills needed in achieving the lesson’s objectives, retention of knowledge, and engagement of the learners. Some of the facilitating skills required are leadership skills, communication skills, and conflict resolution skills. A leader is a person who influences their followers to follow their decisions. As a role model for the learners, a facilitator of the online class should communicate effectively to make the learners follow their lead. Communication skills are another vital facilitating skill; therefore, instructors should communicate effectively and continually with the students since communication skills help build rapport for the lesson (Hoi et al., 2021). Online learning is associated with easy distractions of the students by the home environment. Learners can grasp the content and knowledge of the topic being taught when the facilitator has good communication skills. A teacher should be competent in using all the communication models. Another crucial facilitation skill is conflict resolution skill. A teacher should be able to deal with any conflicts that might arise during online learning.
As a facilitator, I would deploy leadership facilitating skills in online learning. As a role model to the students, a facilitator guides students using the various online delivery systems. A facilitator with leadership skills can communicate effectively to the class during the lesson, thus ensuring engagement. A facilitator with leadership skills can take control of the course and give feedback when necessary. Taking control of the progress in class ensures that discipline is maintained. Leadership skills enable facilitators to provide the learners’ expectations during online learning sessions.
Facilitation skills can be categorized into three including pedagogy, instructional design, and technology. The creation of an effective learning experience and engagement is ensured by instructional designers. The professionals must be knowledgeable in educational philosophy as well as multimedia design. They must also be able to assess the requirements of students and build a curriculum that meets those needs (Hoi et al., 2021). All materials must be accessible and compliant with technological criteria, according to the technology staff. They must also troubleshoot any technical problems that develop during the course. They must also be able to incorporate multimedia into online courses effectively. Effective teaching practices that fit the demands of online learners are the responsibility of pedagogues.
Instructors must be knowledgeable in distance learning technologies, teaching methodologies, adult learning theory, and online communication tools. They must also be able to evaluate student comprehension and give tailored instruction throughout the course. It is critical to be mindful of the general tone of the online learning activity as a facilitator. One may decide to make sure that every learner feels comfortable sharing their thoughts. Instructors should be aware of and attentive to participant interactions to accomplish this. The SMART development objective that I would add to my PDP in support of leadership skills would be to improve leadership skills by the end of the online training program.
Hoi, S.C., Sahoo, D., Lu, J., and Zhao, P., (2021). Online learning: A comprehensive survey. Neurocomputing, 459, pp.249-289. Web.