One Year Post-Pandemic: Re-Examining What You Need in an Online Learning Platform

By Kris Wood

Prior to 2020, the majority of teaching and instruction happened while people gathered together in classrooms, training rooms, or meeting rooms to discuss ideas and learn about new subjects. Virtual classrooms and digital learning were options in some environments, but they weren’t at the forefront of how we taught and studied.

Fast forward to March 2020: The pandemic’s sudden onset left no choice but to move education to an online format—and to do so quickly. There wasn’t time to think about which platform to deploy, how to engage learners, or which tools teachers could use to share captivating lessons. Everyone was in a hurry; as a result, corners were understandably cut in an effort to achieve what some now call “emergency remote teaching.”

Now, in 2021, education is still predominantly online for many: K-12 students, college students, and adults in corporate learning and professional development programs.

Research from Fosway Group reveals that the majority—95%—of learning leaders believe learning and development have changed forever as a result of COVID-19. K-12 institutions, colleges and universities, and workplaces will continue to offer virtual learning as an option even after we recover from the pandemic.

We know it’s here to stay, so now’s the time to consider the online learning tools you’re using. The best way to approach online education isn’t by simply pushing in-person learning onto any virtual platform.

While many have been limping along using tools like Zoom, Teams, Skype, or Google Meet, those platforms weren’t designed to support interactive learning. Instead, they were created as conferencing tools for online meetings. No one would’ve guessed that, eventually, they’d also be the foundation of education in 2020 and 2021.

As a result of our experiences, the past year has also taught us what these tools lacked—and what’s needed to create appealing online learning environments.

For starters, conferencing tools make it difficult for teachers and leaders to engage in meaningful conversations with students rather than talking “at” them. There’s not a lot of eye contact or facetime between teachers and students—or among students themselves. And these types of interactions can be difficult to scale onto a virtual platform, often requiring careful orchestration and direction.

Conferencing platforms also make it challenging for teachers to see all students and their work at all times so they can gauge how the lesson is going. 

Ideally, a virtual classroom environment needs to be just as engaging and fulfilling as attending an on-site class. And the tool needs to be designed with all users in mind: students, teachers, and IT.

This means that an online learning platform should offer:

  • The ability to effortlessly interact and collaborate
  • Easy groupwork and screensharing
  • Ways to encourage active participation via polls and quizzes
  • A seamless user experience with no difficult apps, software, or updates to manage
  • Reliability without the need for constant support from IT to prevent problems or hiccups

Through our partnership with Barco, CEC offers a solution called weConnect. This technology fills the gaps created by using conferencing platforms for online learning.

*Images courtesy of Barco


weConnect brings students into an environment where they can all see and hear each other, share content, collaborate, and feel included. The application of this solution has wide reach, from K-12 and higher education to corporate and healthcare environments.

The technology is also available as part of our Managed Systems Program. This allows you to pay monthly only for what you need—without impacting your capital budget.

Kris Wood joined CEC in 2014, bringing with him more than 14 years of AV experience. Today he serves as our director of AV, using his tremendous knowledge of and passion for AV to help attract AV talent, seek out new AV solutions, and build better processes for our customers.


Want to experience Barco weConnect for yourself? We have a short demo to show you. It’s a great way to get an inside look at the technology. Send us an email; we’d be happy to show you how it works!



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