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HorizonLive & WebCT
Quote:“Essentially simulating a classroom, HorizonLive complements WebCT by providing a sense of Internet community and collaboration in a synchronous environment. When a student sits at his or her desktop and logs on to a course powered by HorizonLive, he or she sees the instructor via streaming video, hears the instructor’s lecture, sees visual content provided by the instructor, and can chat with fellow classmates and the instructor throughout the duration of the class.”
Comment: This makes so much sense it hurts. Platforms like WebCT and Blackboard are in danger of trying to become everything to everyone – content management, learner management, presentation, testing, development, collaboration, file sharing…etc. It works in a young industry (which elearning still is), but as the industry matures, specialization is needed…or else we end up with a platform that has many mediocre tools.

In previous ERN editions, I’ve mentioned the need for integrating activities where students do not have to provide 100% of the motivation (as they do in asynchronous learning). A platform like HorizonLive (or Centra) allow instructors to provide some motivation for students…and it mimics the classroom – which is helpful for new online students. Oh yeah…and it results in better learning and increased student satisfaction. For more information on synchronous learning, see elearnspace’s synchronous resource.