E-learning has become a mainstay in these pandemic-adjacent times. Research by Technavio suggests that the e-learning market will grow to a whopping value of $72 billion by 2024.
A popular component of e-learning is the interactive virtual classroom — web conference calls that allow teachers and students to connect from anywhere in the world via electronic devices. They have been crucial in helping students continue their education while respecting social distance measures to keep them safe.
That said, the modern virtual classroom experience is far from frictionless. Many obstacles, such as audio nuisance or network issues, can still get in the way of an engaging experience and prevent students from learning. It’s no wonder over 60% of students don’t believe that virtual courses are as effective as traditional in-person classrooms.
To build the best educational web conferencing platform for students and teachers, you must implement features that optimize student engagement, participation, and communication. That way, student users of your tool can get the most out of their online education.
Here’s how you can optimize the remote learning experience into your education platform with Dolby.io’s APIs:
Reduce Background Noise and Unwanted Sounds
Students often report having a hard time paying attention in virtual classrooms. According to a survey conducted by MIT Institutional Research, 79% of students say they’re unable to focus as well during online classes as they are in person. One of the reasons for this is background noise and distracting sounds during the video conferencing call that make them lose focus.
Let’s say a teacher is explaining a challenging concept in their online biology class to students, but there’s noise coming from their kids playing and dogs barking in the background that distracts the students. To make up for the sound, they can try to speak louder and repeat themselves, but it could lead to an unpleasant virtual learning experience.
To prevent background noise from affecting the online classroom, Dolby.io’s Voice Call APIs come with noise suppression technology to eliminate unwanted sounds and maintain a high level of communication. By integrating these features within your platform, you’ll help improve the students’ focus and ensure they can hear every single word from their teacher correctly.
Check out the demo video below to get a sneak peek of Dolby.io’s background noise reduction capabilities. It showcases how three people during a web conference call can communicate effectively even with various forms of nuisances in the background:
Provide Network Resilience to Students
Another challenge that can get in the way of an engaging virtual classroom training experience is network issues. Over 76% of teachers believe that lack of access to high-speed internet is an obstacle to effective distance learning.
Network issues are a big problem for teachers and students because they create a glitchy online learning experience and cause classes to be canceled, which then need to be rescheduled. As a result, everyone gets behind in the curriculum, which slows down student progress.
It’s worth noting as well that some students in lower-income families or underprivileged areas may also not have access to a high-quality internet connection, preventing them from learning effectively. It sets them back behind their classmates and creates an unequal virtual classroom environment.
To manage these challenges, Dolby has reliable network resilience capabilities to maintain good communication between users, even when the network conditions are not the best. It ensures that the teacher’s class doesn’t take longer than expected because of a poor connection and that a student’s internet connection doesn’t define the quality of their education.
Include Course Recording and File Sharing
Course recording allows teachers to record their virtual classes and share it with learners, so pupils can go back to the session and review anything they didn’t understand the first time. It helps make their studying more effective, review the material at their own pace, and prevents them from getting behind in class.
As part of the Dolby.io API suite, you can integrate Call Recording as part of your platform, making it possible to convert virtual classroom sessions into recorded calls that teachers can then share with students. Teachers can also decide to upload their recorded virtual classrooms on video-sharing platforms for others to see.
For a better learning experience, teachers also need access to file-sharing and screen-sharing features to share important documents with their virtual classrooms. Aside from Call Recording, Dolby.io’s APIs come with screen-sharing and file-presentation capabilities, so teachers can easily share their education materials with students in real-time.
Integrate Real-Time Chat Messaging
Since the teacher isn’t physically there with students during virtual classrooms, it’s more difficult for pupils to get feedback and ask questions. Chat messaging allows students to ask their teachers questions directly during their online courses and share the answers with others.
Dolby.io’s APIs include an integration with chat API company Stream to eliminate the complexity of building an instant-chat messaging feature for your platform. Some of the key chat features that come with the integration are thread replies, message reactions, and real-time notifications, so teachers remain alert each time they get a new message from students.
As their product was starting to scale, virtual education platform Kiddom’s priorities were incorporating high-quality audio and video while also adding a live chat feature. The problem, however, was that building these components in-house would have been too challenging and time-consuming for their engineering team.
While searching for solutions, they first explored Dolby.io’s platform to incorporate better video and audio. From there, the partnership with Stream is what led them to include a real-time, reliable chat messaging feature in their education platform in less than one month. “Communication is a big area where I think Stream has helped us by allowing us to incorporate chat and announcements,” says Jennifer Levanduski, head of marketing at Kiddom.
In terms of how easy it was to integrate chat with Stream, here’s what the head of product at Kiddom Nick Chen had to say: “Generally, the integration went well — I think it was pretty straightforward. There was a little back and forth between our team and Stream’s team, and the support has gone well.”
You can learn more about the online learning platform’s success by reading their case study.
Deliver the Best Virtual Classrooms and Improve Remote Learning with Dolby.io
Having the right features in your virtual classroom platform allows students and teachers to get the most out of each class. As a result, students get a quality remote learning environment regardless of where they are, and you’ll boost the user satisfaction of your virtual classroom solution.
To learn more about how Dolby.io can optimize the virtual classroom experience, check out our Classroom Example Project, where we create a completely custom virtual classroom experience with Firebase. We showcase features such as screen sharing, moderator controls, and role-based layouts.
Get started with Dolby.io today and get access to our premium communication APIs.