The purposes of LMS Virtual Classroom integration are different though they all come under the same umbrella named eLearning. LMS Platform is meant for systematic delivery of eLearning & Training Content with all requisite Control, Monitoring and Reporting capabilities whereas Virtual Classroom is meant for substituting the Physical Classroom with Online Classroom, letting the Users do almost all the things that would typically be done in a Classroom (Lecture, Notes, White Board, Voting, Raise Hand, …). So, they are meant for different purposes, and so they cannot be compared with one another. Rather LMS and Virtual Classroom platforms complement one another, and if these complementing capabilities are combined with the technology integration, the best of both the worlds can be accomplished.
How does the Integration of Virtual Classroom with LMS works?
The integration of LMS and Virtual Classroom enables the LMS Administrator setup Virtual Classroom sessions on the LMS side. The Virtual Classroom sessions can be setup as LMS Activities and can be made part of the respective Courses. Without LMS and Virtual Classroom integration, the Learners need to leave the LMS Environment and attend the Virtual Classroom session and come back to the LMS Environment for the continuity, If this Activity is linked to any Grading or any such Course Activity Completion rewards etc, this data has to be manually added by the Instructor or the Administrator. With LMS Virtual Classroom integration, a Virtual Classroom session can be made parr of a Course on LMS, the Classroom session can be launched from within the LMS and accessed by the Learners from within LMS. The Single Sign On or SSO between LMS and Virtual Classroom allows the Users (Teachers or Students) to login to Virtual Classroom without the need for an additional login activity. The Learning Tools Interoperability defines the standards for the integration of Virtual Classroom and LMS platform, for that matter inter-operability standards to integrate any two Learning Tools.
For example, Moodle and BigBlueButton top the OpenSource LMS and OpenSource Virtual Classroom spaces respectively. The integration of Moodle and BigBlueButton brings in the best from these two platforms. Moodle acts as a LTI Consumer and BigBlueButton acts as a LTI Provider. Moodle and BigBlueButton integration is possible through installation and configuration of the required extensions to setup and launch BigBlueButton from Moodle. Moodle integration with other Virtual Classroom softwares may also be possible without LTI standards. But, without LTI standards, the integration would not function seamlessly. The Learner may instead need to launch the Desktop client provided by the Virtual Classroom provider. Similarly BigBlueButton integration with other LMS platforms can be accomplished. In fact there are number of extensions available (for FREE or Paid) for integrating BigBlueButton with proprietary or OpenSource LMS platforms. The respective LMS Platform providers provide these extensions for Free of cost.
In the OpenSource world, with Moodle as the leading LMS platform, the following Moodle and Virtual Classroom or Video Conferencing Platform integrations are possible
What is in LMS Virtual Classroom Integration?
- Moodle and BigBlueButton
- Moodle and WizIQ
- Moodle and JITSI
- Moodle and Microsoft Teams
- Moodle and G-Suite
- Moodle and Google Hangout
- Moodle and Zoom
The choice depends on the technical feasibility, cost and the fact if you are already using one or the other Virtual Classroom or the Video Conferencing Platform and if it would be worth to integrate the same with Moodle to leverage existing investments.
Why is Moodle BigBlueButton Integration special and where does it stand out compared to other similar integrations?
The BigBlueButton and Moodle integration stands out as it offers a comprehensive and superior platform combing the power of leading and probably the best OpenSource Virtual Classroom and OpenSource LMS platforms. If OpenSource is the mantra of your organization, and eLearning delivery too need to fall under the same Mantra, bringing in Moodle and BigBlueButton platforms together would do the job for you.
On a concluding note, only one of LMS or Virtual Classroom may exist in an Institution (academic or corporate) and they do the best for what they have been brought in for (assuming the best platform was chosen to suit their needs). They may co-exist without integration too doing their jobs right. But, if they have to co-exist for the same objective, they better brought in together through technology integration.
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