Microsoft Teams Breakout Rooms: Improving the Remote Learning Experience
Over the past 12 months, learning and development and training teams have had to move quickly to find a virtual replacement for face to face training. This has forced us to rethink how we create and cultivate connections that were previously captured easily in the classroom. Microsoft Teams has proven to be a popular choice amongst corporate and education sectors and is now offering a new feature to further enhance its potential as a virtual training delivery platform: Breakout Rooms
Making the Virtual a Bit More Personal
Creating meaningful and engaging online learning sessions can be difficult. Large virtual classrooms with multiple instructors or trainers are often hard to follow and confusing for the learners. The new Breakout Rooms feature in Microsoft Teams enables easier collaboration and individual learning success by allowing you to assign learners into sub-groups. Sub-groups provide an opportunity for quality facilitation and brainstorming as learners relax and discuss the content in a more informal space.
The Importance of Small Groups for Effective Learning
Regardless of whether learners are meeting in-person or online, small groups have been shown to provide a substantial boost to learner efficiency and potential. Small group learning sessions can be better than large group sessions at encouraging interaction, as people are more likely to participate and receive the focused guidance from instructors or trainers than in discussions with a larger number of people. In this way, small group instruction maximises the individual’s potential for learning, while also boosting that of their peers and group members.
Enhancing Microsoft Teams with the LMS365 Learning App
By combining Microsoft Teams with the Microsoft Preferred Solution for learning management integration - LMS365, you can offer your workforce a comprehensive and flexible learning experience that is accessible from anywhere, at any time. LMS365 allows instructors to integrate virtual instructor-led sessions delivered via Microsoft Teams into courses and training paths. Now, with the rollout of Microsoft Teams Breakout Rooms, LMS365 users can further customise their virtual learning experience.
Let’s dive deeper into the new Breakout room features in the Microsoft Teams platform.
Expand Remote Learning with Microsoft Teams Breakout Rooms
Microsoft Teams Breakout Rooms allow training instructors to break a larger session into multiple, smaller ‘rooms’ and then bring all learners back after the breakout sessions have ended. The feature makes remote learning facilitation more seamless for instructors and more intimate for learners.
As a meeting organiser, you can begin a Breakout Room setup through the icon featured on your meeting toolbar. Once this is selected, the Breakout Room box will be displayed and you can begin customising your rooms.
1. Create and Customise Breakout Rooms for Learning
When you start to create your Breakout Rooms, you will have options to select the number of ‘rooms’ you need and how you want to assign learners into the rooms. You can choose to either have learners automatically assigned to rooms or you can assign the Breakout Rooms manually if you want specific delegates in certain rooms.
2. Edit, Add and Join Breakout Rooms with Ease
After your Breakout Rooms have been created, you can edit the room names, add or switch learners into new groups, and even join Breakout sessions to check in on group progress. Once the Breakout Rooms are made, meeting organisers will see options for room editing in the right-hand tab and can access the meeting tools from there.
3. Send Reminders and Make Announcements
Within the meeting organiser panel in Breakout Rooms, you can manage and facilitate multiple group sessions at once. For example, send discussion prompts and group announcements to one group or all of them, check in with Breakout Room collaboration and alert delegates when the sessions are coming to a close.
4. Share, Save and Protect Documents
All the good work done in Breakout Rooms isn’t lost when the sessions end. Any files or documents sent within Breakout sessions can be accessed, saved and shared by all delegates through the meeting chat.
5. Enrich Learning further with MS 365 Tools
Because Breakout Rooms are mini Teams meetings, delegates in your virtual training sessions will still have access to the range of inclusive tools available through the communication platform. For instance, you can add in the Whiteboard feature to make Breakout brainstorming more interactive, or create a deeper sense of community by turning on Together Mode and having your Breakout session in a virtual office space or coffee shop.