Apprenticeship toolkit

Virtual classrooms and webinars

Virtual classrooms are virtual spaces where trainers and apprentices in different locations meet up at the same time using web conferencing software or a downloadable application.

As in a real classroom, apprentices follow presentations, discuss, ask questions and receive feedback. Trainers give presentations, undertake reviews and assessments and provide support.

Webinars are presentations, workshops or seminars using this technology. They can be synchronous or asynchronous.

What are the benefits?

  • Overcoming distance: virtual classrooms support delivery to apprentices in dispersed or inaccessible locations
  • Immediacy: trainers can monitor progress and give feedback live to individuals or large groups via webcams or text chat
  • Engagement: regular webinars can create a learning community for apprentices who do not meet face to face
  • Flexibility: presentations (e.g. on functional or essential skills) can be recorded for revision and to enable apprentices to work around other commitments
  • Progress: with a webcam, apprentices can present their work for feedback
  • Assessment: activities can be recorded for evidence

Example of effective practice

Riverside Training introduced a series of webinars as part of their curriculum to deliver knowledge to apprentices studying customer service and management at different locations. They developed an informative, collaborative and supportive delivery model that was also cost-effective and did not take apprentices away from their place of work.

Some commonly used web conferencing systems include: