How to Utilize Hybrid Learning

The concept of hybrid learning has been around for some time but has accelerated over the last few years. With most educational institutions and global organizations now adopting a hybrid learning approach we wanted to share our experience on how to provide learners with an engaging, innovative hybrid learning experience.

  1. Preparation is key – use hybrid sessions for more interactive learning and discussions by providing core materials and content before a session so they can prepare and come to a lesson focused and motivated. The hybrid sessions can then be used to develop their knowledge with more hands-on activities, group work and discussion to explore the topic further.
  2. Bring people together – use a hybrid learning solution that facilitates group work and create an environment where you bring students learning remotely together with those present in the classroom to exchange ideas and deepen their knowledge and understanding.
  3. Interactive learning – engaging students with interactive tools such as interactive whiteboards, online quizzes/polls and other digital resources not only helps foster learning but also engages their long term memory and increases engagement with their peers.
  4. Together we can do so much – working together and providing a forum for communication and collaboration enables not only the sharing of ideas but also helps learners develop their listening and problem solving skills and gives them the opportunity to develop their confidence and self esteem. 
  5. Offer flexibility – give learners the option to attend a session in real-life in a classroom, or to join remotely. By giving them the resources and support to make a decision that works for them will help eradicate any barriers to learning and help them succeed.
  6. Variety is the spice of life – create new and interesting learning experiences by providing different ways of learning. Don’t be afraid to try a mix of visual aids, simulations, games, online resources and hands-on activities to drive participation and engagement in lessons 
  7. Personalized learning – learning analytics is key to better understand and improve learning. Use data to track not only attendance but attentiveness, participation, engagement and performance and identify where learners need more support
  8. Embrace new ways of work – the technology available to support hybrid learning is now extensive and provides learners with the mechanism to be more connected to a physical classroom even if they’re thousands of miles away. Using immersive learning environments and solutions to create hybrid and remote learning spaces provides new, engaging ways of learning 

The key to hybrid learning is to motivate learners, whether they are with you in person or joining remotely, and be open to trying new things to keep the learning environment dynamic. Every hybrid learning environment should provide an opportunity for learners to be engaged and create a positive learning environment where students feel supported, and the functionality to track the learner progress to evolve future learning strategies and teaching.

X2O OneRoom provides immersive hybrid learning environments that enable organizations to create engaging, creative places to learn. Using the latest technology OneRoom provides instructors and learners with one-to-one engagement and collaborative learning spaces that deliver equal experiences for those joining in-person or remotely. Get in touch to find out more about how OneRoom can help bring creativity into your hybrid learning approach. 

Benefits of Hybrid Learning

Key Benefits to Hybrid Learning and Technology in the Classroom

The evolution of hybrid learning in the classroom has been accelerated not only by the pandemic but by technological advancements.  This has resulted in the integration of online and digital resources into the traditional classroom setting. The concept of hybrid learning enables remote engagement and seamless collaboration to facilitate and complement face-to-face learning. As hybrid learning continues to transform traditional education into more dynamic, adaptable experiences, this blog will explore the key benefits of hybrid learning and technology in the classroom.

Introduction to Hybrid Learning

Hybrid learning, also known as blended learning, combines traditional in-person learning with online learning to create a flexible and dynamic learning experience. This blended approach allows students to engage face-to-face with an instructor or their peers while harnessing the benefits of digital resources and virtual platforms. 

In a hybrid learning environment, students can participate in discussions, collaborate on projects or tasks and join class either in a physical space or, as a remote student. Hybrid learning is increasingly being embraced in an educational setting by providing a flexible and adaptable approach to learning.

Five Benefits of Hybrid Learning

  1. Flexibility
  2. Personalized Learning
  3. Student Engagement
  4. Cost and Time Efficient
  5. Learner Analytics

Hybrid learning provides a flexible approach to learning and provides an environment that works for both students in the classroom as well as remote students. Discover the top five benefits of hybrid learning: 

  1. Flexibility – hybrid learning allows students to join classes in-person or online. The flexibility helps to accommodate diverse learning styles along with balancing other commitments and responsibilities ensuring continuity in learning despite physical absence from the classroom.
  2. Personalized Learning – with the integration of technology and digital tools, hybrid learning experiences can support a student’s pace of learning and style. These tools can also provide access to materials and resources to support their learning needs along with recommendations for future learning or development.
  3. Student Engagement – hybrid learning helps students engage and participate in discussions, collaborate with peers on projects and access resources all within a more dynamic learning environment.
  4. Cost and Time Efficient – hybrid learning can help reduce travel costs for students or instructors. With its flexibility, it can make it more accessible for learners who might be time-poor and unable to get to a physical classroom.  
  5. Learner Analytics – hybrid learning is also beneficial for gathering data and analytics with technology platforms that can be used to monitor student engagement, participation, understanding and progress. They can also enhance the quality of future learning programs and content.  

In addition, hybrid learning technology helps equip students with important digital literacy skills and prepares them for the demands of the modern workforce. 

Integrate Technology into the Classroom

Several types of technology are commonly used for hybrid learning in the classroom that help facilitate communication and learning for in-person and remote students.

  • Learning Management Systems (LMS)  – LMS platforms provide a centralized hub for institutions to manage content, provide assessments and discussion forums and provide students access to online resources.
  • Video Conferencing Tools – tools like Zoom, Teams or Google Meet help with virtual interactions and can be used for live lectures, office hours and collaborative meetings connecting remote and in-person learners. 
  • Online Collaboration Tools – tools like Slack and Trello alongside other collaborative technology exist to support teamwork and projects and provide a place to share files and communicate. 
  • Digital Content Creation Tools – platforms like PowerPoint, Google Slides or video editing software solutions exist to support the creation of engaging content for hybrid learning sessions whether it’s a presentation, video or the creation of an online resource for a class.
  • Learning Analytics Tools – tools are available which o provide insight and data into student progress and help make decisions about future courses or content based on student needs.

Empower Your Classroom Learning with X2O Media

X2O Media works with customers in the education and corporate learning world to support their hybrid learning needs. X2O OneRoom solution provides an immersive learning and training environment that enables learners and instructors to come together to learn new skills and enhance their knowledge in a consistent, engaging way. 

OneRoom takes learning to the next level with the use of spatial audio, perspective cameras, interactive collaboration tools and true content sharing bringing learners together wherever they are in the world. 

Get in touch if you would like to know more about hybrid learning and how OneRoom might help overcome your challenges. 

Types of Professional Learning & Development

Learning and development (L&D) is the foundation for professional development and growth that provides the opportunity for individuals and organizations to thrive in a constantly changing workplace. It focuses on fostering a culture of innovation and continuous learning that helps to shape employee potential into performance.

There are six approaches to learning and development that help to promote knowledge and skills development.

  1. Formal Learning – involves a traditional classroom setting, workshops and a more systematic approach  to learning.
  2. Experiential Learning – this approach to learning helps individuals learn through hands-on experiences using simulations or immersive activities that help transfer theory into practice.
  3. Social Learning – leverages group dynamics and social interaction by creating a community of learners to share knowledge and tips.
  4. Self-Directed Learning – empowers individuals to control their own development and encourages them to be independent learners choosing their path and pace.
  5. Blended Learning – harnesses the strengths of both traditional and digital learning and combines the best of both worlds offering a flexible approach to learning.

With the ever-evolving L&D landscape, organizations tend to use a blend of these approaches to create a diverse range of learning opportunities.

Professional Development Strategies

Organizations often provide a diverse program of Learning and Development opportunities for employees to help meet various needs. Below are some of the more common types of L&D programs:

  • Onboarding & Orientation – is used to introduce new employees to the organization to provide an overview of the company’s mission, values, policies and procedures. 
  • Technical Training – there are roles in an organization that require specific training to help employees with the right skills to carry out their role. This often includes training on software and dedicated equipment.
  • Soft Skills Development – often referred to as power skills, this training focuses on the development of interpersonal and communication skills with training that centers on teamwork, conflict resolution, negotiation, problem-solving and critical thinking. It promotes a positive working environment to enhance productivity and improve team dynamics. 
  • Leadership Development Programs- to sustain future growth, organizations need to create a flow of talent that will assume leadership roles. This training develops strategic thinking, team management and decision-making skills to thrive in leadership roles.
  • Sales Training Programs – focused on honing their selling skills and techniques to build customer relationships and product knowledge. This often involves role-playing and demonstrations to help develop their practical skills.
  • Customer Service Training Is used to improve customer service interactions with problem-solving and conflict resolutions to improve customer relations
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Training – organizations are increasingly aware of the need to foster diversity, ensure equity and promote a sense of belonging within a diverse workforce.
  • Compliance & Regulatory Training – training in this area is fundamental to ensure employees are adhering to industry regulations and standards and helps provide regular updates to employees on specific policies, regulations and procedures. 
  • Safety Training – prioritizing the well-being of employees and covering topics such as emergency procedures and workplace safety protocols is often a legal requirement.
  • Professional Certification – organizations can support employees  to obtain industry-related certifications for  enhanced skills and knowledge in a specific field. 
  • Change Management Programs – Tofoster adaptability and resilience during periods of transition in an organization, training is available to help prepare employees for organizational changes, mergers or restructuring.
  • Technology & Digital Skills Training – essential for keeping employees updated on the latest technology relevant to their role and often includes training about digital tools, solutions cybersecurity and data management. 
  • Continuous Learning Initiatives – to support a culture of continuous learning, organizations  often provide self-directed learning portals with online courses, webinars and workshops.
  • Wellness & Employee Assistance Programs – Individuals are encouraged to access employee assistance programs to support their well-being, stress management, mental health and work-life balance. 

Each of these learning and development programs is  customizable to meet  an organization’s unique needs and goals to create a better dynamic and productive workforce.

Learning and Development Channels

Learning and development teams can use a variety of channels to promote and deliver the appropriate training programs to employees. A combination of the above channels is used to create comprehensive and flexible learning environments that cater to the diverse needs of a workforce.

  • In-Person Training 
  • E-Learning Platforms
  • Microlearning
  • On-the-Job Training
  • Social Learning
  • Peer Learning
  • Leadership Development Programs
  • Simulation and Gamification
  • Podcasts and Video Content
  • Professional Conferences and Events
  • Certification Programs
  • Feedback and Performance Reviews
  • Knowledge Repositories
  • Blended Learning

Learning and Development with Digital Tools and a Displaced Workforce

Post-pandemic, learning and development teams have had to adopt digital tools to support the delivery of remote learning. Some of the fundamental tools use include:

  • Learning Management Systems (LMS) to support a learning culture, LMS platforms help to manage, deliver and track online courses and materials.
  • Video Conferencing Tools – help to facilitate discussions and provide training sessions. 
  • Webinar Platforms –  can host live or recorded webinars for large audiences
  • E-Learning Authoring Tools – are used to create interactive content and e-learning courses for those without programming skills. 
  • Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) Tools – simulate real-world scenarios for practical, immersive hands-on training.
  • Microlearning Platforms – deliver short, focused learning modules for on-the-go learning 
  • Mobile Learning Apps – enable employees to access learning content anytime, anywhere.
  • Collaboration and Communication Tools – facilitate conversations, collaborate and project manage remotely
  • Document Sharing and Collaboration Platforms – enable easy sharing and collaboration on documents, presentations, and learning resources.
  • Social Learning Platforms – foster a sense of community to encourage idea and knowledge transfer 
  • Podcast Platforms – deliver educational content for bite-size learning 
  • Gamification Platforms – integrate game elements into learning to drive engagement and improve outcomes. 
  • Feedback and Survey Tools – helps to collate feedback and assess training effectiveness
  • Digital Whiteboarding Tools –  helps to visually facilitate brainstorming and collaboration 
  • AI-Powered Personalization Tools – provides personalized learning experiences based on individual needs and preferences.
  • Employee Recognition Platforms – recognizes and rewards employees for completing a training milestone or achieving learning goals.
  • Knowledge Repositories and Wikis – a central hub to share knowledge, best practices and technical information.

Using a combination of these digital tools allows L&D professionals to create a dynamic and accessible learning environment for a remote and dispersed workforce in alignment with the organization’s goals and the employees’ training needs.

X2O Media supports global organizations by providing their remote and geographically dispersed workforce with a better way of working, learning and meeting.

Global organizations have implemented X2O OneRoom to bring people together in hybrid and remote spaces for an immersive experience. OneRoom creates a dynamic learning environment where everyone is equal and has the same human interaction as in a physical room. Combined with its integrated collaboration tools such as polls, quizzes, and hybrid breakout groups, individuals have an equal presence to collaborate and learn in the same productive, engaging space.

Contact us today to learn more about how X2O OneRoom can support your learning and development needs.

Essential Guide to Hybrid Classroom Technology

What is a Hybrid or a Hyflex Classroom?

A hybrid classroom is a learning environment that is designed to accommodate students for face-to-face learning in combination with online learners. It is also known as a blended classroom, hybrid learning environment or hyflex.  For a hybrid classroom to effectively bring participants together on the same level, hybrid classroom technology solutions need to be adopted to create an optimal learning experience for all. 

Learning that takes place in a hybrid classroom allows students the opportunity to attend class in a physical room or, join the same session using hybrid classroom technology. Hybrid learning is not to be confused with hybrid teaching which are the strategies and methods used to deliver learning in a hybrid environment. This often requires instructors to be flexible with their teaching style and facilitate lessons by bringing the remote students together with those in the room to learn at the same pace with the same content. 

To help with hybrid teaching, instructors can use hybrid learning technology to host live classes, deliver pre-recorded lectures, and provide a way of sharing materials that allow students to collaborate and interact. 

What Technology Do I Need for a Hybrid Classroom?

An innovative education model, hybrid classrooms are commonplace offering students flexibility, accessibility and personalized learning. To accommodate both in-class and remote students it is important to have the right environment and technology in place to deliver a high-quality learning experience.

Here are the top six technological considerations when setting up or optimizing your hybrid classroom experience:

  1. Audio: Ensure that all students can hear each other and the instructor. For this reason, it is important to invest in high-quality audio equipment including microphones, headphones and speakers.
  2. Cameras: As with audio, cameras need to be strategically positioned in a hybrid classroom so students can see each other and the instructor. Again investment in quality cameras is a must to deliver an enhanced learning experience.
  3. Internet connection: For students who join remotely it’s essential to have an internet connection that is reliable to connect seamlessly and participate in a class.
  4. Video conferencing: Another important consideration when creating your hybrid learning space, is the selection of a video conferencing solution to use. There are free options available including Zoom and Microsoft Teams along with paid-for hybrid classroom solutions such as X2O OneRoom. The right technology makes all the difference when connecting and engaging with remote students in a class and engaging their participation. 
  5. Learning Management Systems: Learning institutions often use an LMS to create and deliver online learning as well as, manage student grades and assignments. Popular options include Moodle, Canvas and Blackboard which often integrate with other video conferencing solutions to provide the ultimate hybrid learning environment.
  6. Interactive displays: To optimize your hybrid classroom, it is worth considering implementing interactive displays to keep students engaged with each other and lesson content. Again some technology solutions provide integrated options or plug-in solutions. 

Why Make the Switch to a Hybrid Environment?

Many factors are part of making the switch to a hybrid learning environment. The key is to consider the learning needs and goals that you are looking to achieve. To ensure a hybrid approach that is suitable, there needs to be consideration for the available resources, student population as well, and physical and technological infrastructure. 

Summarized below are the key motives and their benefits that may influence the decision to shift towards a hybrid environment.

  1. Flexibility: Hybrid learning gives institutions the flexibility to offer classes to students in a physical classroom or alongside remote students using the same teaching materials. It allows learners to join remotely regardless of their location and can help accommodate difficult schedules or commitments. 
  2. Broaden the learning opportunities: Providing the option of face-to-face learning and online, enables institutions to offer a wider range of guest presenters and provide a more diverse and engaging learning experience.
  3. Personalized learning experiences: A hybrid environment enables learning to be tailored to individual student needs and styles. It also provides a personalized way to track progress, and allows students to learn at their own pace or focus on interests, giving a more enriching learning process.
  4. Cost-effectiveness and scalability: Making the switch to hybrid learning provides cost-savings. By reducing the need for physical infrastructure, learning institutions can downsize teaching environments or optimize resources and still teach a large number of students. Hybrid learning environments can help facilitate scaling of learning making education accessible to a broader cohort of students.
  5. Technological skills: As the speed of technological development continues to advance it is important to integrate technology into learning and provide students with the digital skills they need in addition to collaboration skills which are invaluable in the modern workforce.
  6. Enhanced engagement and interaction: Hybrid learning encourages active student engagement and interaction through a combination of in-person and online activities. It provides opportunities for collaborative learning, discussion forums, virtual group projects, and real-time interactions with instructors and peers. These interactive elements can foster a sense of community, improve the student learning experience and promote a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

There are countless ways to evolve your hybrid learning and create effective hybrid teaching environments. At X2O Media we work with our global X2O OneRoom customers to support their switch to hybrid and remote learning. We provide guidance on how best to optimize learning spaces and demonstrate how OneRoom technology can bridge the transition from traditional in-person to online learning. Contact us to understand how we can help with your challenges and requirements. 


Training vs Development in the Workplace

Training and development in the workplace are crucial and a way of fostering growth and an excellent way to improve team performance. Training usually refers to the process of acquiring new skills or honing existing ones, often about a particular role or job. On the other hand, development focuses on a broader growth perspective and long-term career development which involves nurturing skills and qualities that extend beyond a particular job requirement and helps the employee prepare for future roles.

Both training and development are vital to creating a skilled, adaptable workforce that continues to contribute to the success of the organization. 

Training in the Workplace

Training equips employees with the skills and knowledge they need to do their jobs effectively. This is often done through training programs which are designed to address specific objectives and cover a wide range of topics from technical skills, to job-specific procedures, customer service, leadership, DEI and compliance with regulations or legislation.

Although, the objectives of training programs vary depending on the needs of the organization and the needs of the workplace but often include the:

  • Skills development – to enhance technical, operational and interpersonal skills required to do a job
  • Performance improvement – providing knowledge and tools to improve and excel in a role
  • Employee engagement – training often contributes to higher job satisfaction and engagement and provides opportunities for career development.
  • Adaptability – training helps provide employees with the ability to adapt quickly and be more efficient in the workplace.
  • Compliance and risk management – it is crucial employees comply with legal and regulatory requirements to minimize the organization’s exposure to risk or liability.

Training programs can be run by internal training departments, human resources teams or, via external training providers.

Types of Corporate Training

The types of corporate training that occurs varies based on industry and the needs of the organization. Corporate training includes the following:

  • Onboarding and orientation 
  • Soft skills, also known as power skills 
  • Sales, service, customer
  • Compliance training
  • Leadership training
  • Diversity and inclusion training
  • Professional development
  • Team building

Benefits of a Training Program

Training in the workplace brings many benefits for the organization and employees as well.  Some of these benefits include:

  • Improved performance – improving skills and knowledge increases productivity and provides a better quality of work
  • Enhanced satisfaction – demonstrating an investment in an employee fosters a high level of engagement and loyalty helping with employee retention 
  • Increased flexibility – with technological advances, training can help employees adapt to changes in the workplace allowing them them to be more adaptable
  • Reduced errors and risks – poor training leads to mistakes especially when compliance and regulations are involved. Training can reduce legal and regulatory risks, workplace accidents and errors protecting the organization and its employees.
  • Positive culture – a strong commitment creates a positive culture that promotes learning and growth which can be used to attract and retain talent and enhance the organization’s image and reputation.

Professional Development in the Workplace

Professional development in the workplace is aimed at enhancing the skills and knowledge of an individual and improving their personal growth. It often involves training programs, workshops, seminars, mentoring and continuous learning with the goal of expanding capabilities to achieve career goals.

The objectives of professional development in the workplace can vary however common goals include skills enhancement to enhance existing skills in a specific area, career advancement to acquire additional certifications or skills for higher level positions. Professional development also focuses on continuous learning and self-improvement and encourages individuals to broaden their knowledge and perspectives. Networking and relationship building is also an essential aspect of professional development as it can lead to new opportunities, knowledge sharing and career growth.

Types of Development Programs

There are various types of development programs that an organization can implement to support their employees. 

  1. Leadership development – this can include mentoring to cultivate leadership qualities, training and coaching in preparation for leadership roles.
  2. Mentoring programs – these programs pair experienced individuals with less experienced employees to support and guide them. Mentors can offer insight and advice to help mentees navigate their careers, develop specific skills and gain industry knowledge. 
  3. Succession planning – identifying high-potential employees within the organization and providing development opportunities can help prepare individuals for future leadership roles and maintain a pipeline of qualified employees.
  4. Cross-function programs – this type of program helps give employees insight and experience into different areas of the business to develop a holistic understanding of how the organization is run.
  5. Technical or job-specific development –  these programs focus on enhancing the skills and competencies with training, certifications and skills improvement relevant to a specific position.
  6. Diversity and inclusion programs – these help foster an inclusive workplace culture and may include training on how to create an inclusive workplace, unconscious bias and inclusive leadership.
  7. Career development- this path supports employees with their career development and includes goal setting, career planning, and opportunities to acquire new skills.
  8. Personal development – these programs focus on enhancing personal effectiveness and well-being and cover areas such as time management, stress management, emotional intelligence and work-life balance as well as personal goal setting. 

The benefits of a development program range from skill enhancement, career advancement, personal growth and network/relationship building. It can also bring employees other advantages from resilience to navigating new challenges for increased productivity and job satisfaction.

Key Differences between Training and Development

The key differences between training and development lie in their focus, scope and timeframe. 


Training focuses on acquiring new skills and knowledge and aims to enhance and further existing knowledge. Development on the other hand emphasizes a more holistic approach to personal and professional growth by focusing on nurturing skills and qualities that extend beyond immediate job requirements or needs with attention on preparing for future roles and career development.


With scope, training tends to be more job-specific and designed to address an immediate skills gap. Whereas, development has a broader scope and aims to foster growth and potential. Development usually involves a wider range of competencies from leadership and problem solving to strategic thinking. 


Typically, training programs are shorter than development programs and have a more immediate impact. Development is a longer-term process and involves continuous learning, self-reflection and growth. Some development activities can span a whole career as an individual acquires new skills, experiences and knowledge.


The purpose of training is to equip employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform a specific job effectively and help bridge the gap between skills. On the flip side development focuses on preparing individuals for future roles and responsibilities and advancing their career.


Training programs frequently have direct and immediate application in the workplace giving employees practical tools and resources to carry out their role. Development programs influence an individual’s mindset and approach to work which can be applied across various roles and contexts. 

How Training and Development Work Together

While both are essential for the individual and organization and both are connected, training provides the foundation of skills and knowledge and development evolves an individual’s growth and long-term success. Both in tandem help build a skilled, effective and capable workforce.

To deliver effective training and development programs and make them accessible to the workforce, some consideration about the tools and technology is needed to facilitate these programs.

Training and development programs can be delivered across many different channels from e-learning and virtual training platforms to webinars, virtual reality (VR), and interactive learning with gamification and collaboration tools. 

Incorporating technology and tools into training and development enhances the accessibility, engagement and effectiveness of learning experiences. The right technology and tools will enable remote learning and participation with real-time feedback to foster a culture of continuous learning. 

Are you curious to see how OneRoom enables remote participation, real-time feedback and engagement with its learners? Why not experience OneRoom for yourself? We host regular discovery sessions where you can explore and use the tools of an immersive learning environment – OneRoom. Register today and join us in the next demo.

Tips to Managing Your Video Conferencing Security

The concept of video conferencing dates back to the 19th century when inventors explored ways to transmit video signals over long distances. We’ve come a long way since then! 

The proliferation of smartphones sparked the development of video conferencing by making it possible to conduct a video call from virtually anywhere with an internet connection. Recently, the pandemic significantly accelerated the adoption and reliance of video conferencing solutions which led to a surge in usage and is now a common tool for organizations to communicate and connect across vast distances.  

However, with the growth of video conferencing technology comes some risks. This blog aims to help you understand the security risks and the best practices on how to mitigate them.


Understanding the Security Risks to Your Video Conferencing Software

First, it is important to understand the risks that come with using video conferencing software which can come in many guises. 

  1. Unauthorized access 
  2. Weak security (authentication / passwords)
  3. Software vulnerability 
  4. Malware & phishing
  5. Privacy
  6. Data breach
  7. Social engineering attacks 
  8. Third-party risks 

These risks can have detrimental effects on individuals and organizations with consequences as:

  • Unauthorized access to sensitive information – A serious consequence of a security breach is the unauthorized access to information which could include confidential business information, personally identifiable details (PII), financial information, and intellectual property. This can lead to identity theft, fraud and compromised sensitive data.
  • Privacy violations – If personal information or conversations are breached without consent it can lead to reputational damage and legal implications.
  • Disruption – A security breach with unauthorized users accessing content and information to cause disruption or technical problems can greatly impact productivity.
  • Damage to reputation – Whether it’s an organization or an individual, the trust is broken if sensitive data is compromised in a security breach. Stakeholders, customers or employees lose confidence in the organizations’ ability to protect secure information and damage reputations.

What Does Encryption Mean for Video Conferencing

Encryption with video conferencing is important as it makes the audio, video and data used during a video conference unintelligible to unauthorized individuals. When using video conferencing the data is encrypted and can only be decrypted by authorized recipients. 

This ensures that data can remain confidential to maintain the integrity of data exchanged and enables privacy protection. Securely transmitting data with encryption prevents potential attackers from accessing and using it.

End-to-end encryption is a stronger form of encryption and this is where it’s encrypted on the sender’s device, remains encrypted during transmission and then is decrypted only on the recipient’s device. This ensures that even the service provider or any intermediaries cannot access the content. 

Not all video conferencing solutions provide end-to-end encryption and some only encrypt data during transmission. If you are choosing a video conferencing solution this should be top of mind as a fundamental security feature. 


Potential Data Privacy Risks for Video Conferencing

Individuals and organizations need to be aware of the data privacy risks when using video conferencing. These include:

  • Unauthorized access to meetings – weak security or authentication can lead to unwanted visitors during meetings which is not only disruptive but also breaches sensitive information.
  • Data interception – without high-level encryption, there is the possibility of confidential data and PII being intercepted.
  • Recording and storage – a nice feature of video conferencing is to offer recording but be aware if recordings are not securely stored there is a risk of an unauthorized person accessing the content leading to privacy violations. 
  • Metadata – inadequate protection of this can lead to the video conferencing platform collecting data including participant names, IP addresses which in the wrong hands can lead to malicious behavior.
  • Third-party sharing – there are risks that data shared with third parties could be compromised without proper consent or knowledge.
  • Data retention – video conferencing platforms may retain participant data and recordings for a determined time. It is important to understand these timeframes and ensure data is purged once no longer needed.
  • International data transfer – there may be different policies and ways of processing data in different jurisdictions and international data transfer may carry different and additional risks if safeguards are not put in place.

The best way to mitigate some of these risks is to use a platform that offers strong security measures, data encryption and data protection.


How to Secure Your Video Conferencing Platform

Below you will find some tips and guidance on how you can secure your video conferencing platform:

  • To start, select a reputable service provider or solution and ensure that it prioritizes security with a good track record of addressing issues and vulnerabilities.
  • Look for a solution that provides end-to-end encryption to ensure any communication between your attendees cannot be intercepted by unauthorized users.
  • Use strong passwords and unique meeting IDs. Avoid using any default passwords or setup credentials and make sure any details are shared securely with invited participants.
  • Enable waiting rooms. This helps the host see who is waiting to join a session and they can verify the participants’ identity before giving them access.
  • Ensure the software used is the most current version and any security updates have been made. Also, encourage invited participants to download the latest version before joining a meeting. 
  • Use the lock feature if available to secure your meeting. Once everyone has joined, lock the meeting to ensure no unauthorized participants join.
  • Control any sharing permissions during a meeting. Restrict privileges to those participants who need them otherwise, it can be disruptive and a security risk.
  • Be conscious when recording sessions that participants are aware a meeting is being recorded, and have given their consent. Make sure to store any recordings securely and limit access.
  • Use virtual background with caution. Although pretty and engaging avoid using personal or sensitive images to prevent confidential information from unknowingly being shared.
  • Use a secure network. This sounds obvious but when using a video conferencing solution you connect to a trusted network. Where possible also use a private wifi network to join as public wifi can be less secure. 
  • Disable any unnecessary features or integrations that might pose a security risk.
  • Protect against any unauthorized access by using two-factor authentication where possible to add an extra layer of security.

These measures and staying updated on the latest security recommendations can help protect and secure your video conferencing sessions. It is also important to regularly review the privacy and security policies of your chosen solution to ensure they align with your requirements.


X2O Media Security Features

X2O Media understands the importance of security and confidentiality to process our customers’ data. To show our ongoing commitment to safeguarding data we have completed the Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 Type II audit examination of X2O Platform. The X2O Platform is the platform that is the foundation for our digital signage solutions and our immersive learning and training environment, X2O OneRoom. 

The SOC 2 accreditation gives our customers the assurance that all critical system requirements are in place and data is secure the the implementation of standardized controls including security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy. 

For more information about X2O Platform and the security measures please contact us.


4 Strategies to Improve Remote Learner Engagement

Article published by Training Industry on August 26, 2022

Learning and development (L&D) is incredibly important to today’s workforce. The millennial generation prizes growth and development as their top priorities in a job position, much more so than prior generations. Employers also want a workforce that is constantly upskilling and reskilling in their fields so that the organization can learn and adapt to its changing environment.

In this increasingly digital workforce, L&D has never been more challenging. It is difficult for instructors to create genuine bonds, relationships and engagement in hybrid and virtual training rooms. The nature of these environments in many organizations today is disengaging due to the need to adapt better to hybrid and virtual participation.

We cannot put the genie back in the bottle, so the question is instead, how can L&D leaders create virtual environments that bring back the humanity of face-to-face communication?

Understanding the Problem: Trust and Productivity

Employee engagement is the buzzword, but another and more human-centered way to think of the same issue is trust. We all know what trust feels like, and we can tell when we are in a group or an atmosphere of trust or distrust. That sense in your gut has a direct result on productivity.

We are motivated by people, specifically people whom we trust. A number of influential studies have shown repeatedly how companies with high-trust cultures outperform low-trust companies. Engagement is a large piece of the formula: “Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 40% less burnout.”

It stands to reason that any group or class operates under similar subtextual rules. Just as with workplaces, we have all been in atmospheres where we felt connected and those where we were distracted. In groups with high trust, participants experience better outcomes, feeling more connected with their jobs and in control of their careers. The goal is to use technology that is designed to bring trust and engagement back into hybrid and virtual training.

Solutions to Drive Engagement in Virtual and Hybrid Meetings

Great leaders have empathy for the people they work with, but it’s hard to show empathy in a meaningful way with a communications tool where feedback is limited. Communications platforms need to recreate the human experience as much as possible. Here are four ways to improve engagement in a virtual environment:

1. Provide opportunities for feedback.
To bring our best to any activity, we need a sense of challenge and immediate feedback regarding how we are doing. Great instructors can gauge the room to receive instant feedback on their performance, helping adjust to their audience and increase engagement over time.

In a virtual classroom, it’s difficult to “read” the audience. Even if you enforce webcams, it is still difficult to read faces that are one-tenth life-size. Those same faces are constantly shifting locations on the screen. Using communications platforms and processes that allow instructors to gauge level of interest and engagement can help to create an environment that enables connection between instructors and learners.

2. Incorporate frictionless collaboration methods.
Think about the last great presentation you saw. The group leader was most likely not tethered to their laptop, stuck at the desk, merely driving a presentation. They walked around the room, free to talk and engage people. They walked up to the whiteboard and annotated on it without thinking about the tools. Likewise, virtual collaboration tools should allow instructors and learners to be at ease, brainstorm, discuss and collaborate frictionlessly. Ultimately, these tools should add value to the program and stimulate collaboration in a seamless way.

The goal is to use technology that is designed to bring trust and engagement back into hybrid and virtual training.

3. Use plug and play tools.
When it comes to effective engagement, communication tools should enhance, not interfere, with this exchange. To achieve that frictionless collaboration, the tools we use need to be simple and intuitive.

However, there is a drawback to simple. For example, when selecting a whiteboard tool, you should consider an instructor’s level of knowledge, not just the tools to deliver the presentation when deciding. Oftentimes, the best tools do not require upfront learning to function effectively in a digital learning environment. These tools can include calling a poll that’s contextual to a brainstorming discussion, or simply starting a breakout group based on advantages or disadvantages of an idea with just a click. Consider the tools’ impact on the session’s success for both instructors and learning.

4. Make meetings equitable.
In today’s hybrid training sessions and meetings, it often seems that the pendulum has swung in favor of virtual members. When virtual participants speak, they have dedicated video and audio. Their voice and image come in loud and clear for everyone.

However, in the classroom, instead of a dedicated camera, participants are one person at a table, and it can be difficult to hear them depending on microphone location. It’s not ideal for anyone, especially instructors.

Meeting equity means people in the room and remote participants have the same ability to interact, be present and have their presence known. Both must have the same opportunity to be heard and seen by others, raise hands and ask questions, reply to a poll, be part of a mix mode group in breakouts, chat, access the same content, as well as participate in ideations and discussion.

To achieve meeting equity, both in-person and remote participants must share the same learning experience. This critical concept is fundamental to providing instructors and all participants with an engaging environment.

Making Hybrid More Human

Now, more than ever, leaders are focused on navigating the territory of hybrid work and searching for ways to create a positive, productive workplace and sense of belonging for employees. This means taking steps to ensure that everyone has a similar meeting experience with equal opportunities to contribute and make an impact regardless of where they are joining their meeting from.

We need to accept that hybrid training delivery is more complicated than its fully in person or virtual delivery counterparts. It requires more thought, more planning and better tools to be able to create an environment that’s equitable both for virtual and face-to-face participants.

Current virtual communication is lacking the humanity of face-to-face conversations. Standard videoconferencing tools allow you to communicate virtually, but they don’t come close to the full range of human experiences that face-to-face interactions provide. Learning leaders must focus on emulating the human experience in a virtual environment to foster trust and drive better outcomes for both the learners and organization.

When it comes to effective engagement, communication tools should enhance, not interfere, with this exchange.

View this article and more at Training Industry.

Overcoming Employee Hybrid Learning Challenges

Organizations have been transitioning to hybrid working now for several years, trying to reap the benefits it brings with a more engaged and productive workforce.

63% of high-growth companies have already adopted a “productive anywhere” workforce model where they are optimizing the resources to ensure a healthy and productive workforce regardless of physical location.

However, there are challenges that need to be overcome to be able to provide effective workplace environments, as well as support the “productive anywhere” initiatives to ensure employees working both from an office and remotely are performing and fulfilling their objectives.

For learning and development (L&D) teams, these workplace challenges can seem overwhelming, and understanding on how to approach and overcome them is becoming a top priority.

Hybrid learning challenges for Learning and Development teams

  1. Stakeholder support
    Stakeholder support goes beyond getting buy-in from other areas of the business to support you in delivering learning and development strategies. Hybrid learning has evolved, and L&D teams must ensure their business has the systems and capabilities in place to deliver hybrid learning programs at scale — something which was nice to have is now a necessity. The challenge is to provide business with plans to justify return on investment, and the investment to support ongoing development of those hybrid learning programmes. Successful hybrid learning needs upfront support to bring the systems online combined with continuous support to evangelize the use and growth of the program.
  2. Coordination
    Hosting a hybrid training session has added complexities over delivering an exclusively online or in-person session. Hybrid is hard as you juggle both sets of participants and coordination requires double the effort to make sure everyone has the same communication and expectations before a session.
  3. Creativity
    Most employees find organized creativity off-putting and, from a business perspective, it isn’t a productive use of time. Having people join a hybrid session and take part in a collective creative ideation session can work. But, to get the creative juices flowing and think outside of the box, consider the opportunity to kick around ideas as part of smaller groups, break-out sessions or even giving individuals time to think.
  4. Engagement levels
    The larger the session, the harder it is to manage engagement with all participants. For instance, facilitators can find it hard to engage with people who join remotely and have their cameras off. The training and course materials that once worked for in-person sessions does not keep remote learners engaged. Adapting a hybrid learning environment often will make people feel more engaged during a session and more likely to turn on their cameras.
  5. Learner progress
    Another challenge with hybrid learning is tracking learner progress and understanding if individuals have grasped the course outcomes and objectives of a session. Within a hybrid session, tracking remote learners’ progress becomes complex and relies on real-time assessment, but with the right technology polls and analytics data can be used to monitor engagement and participation levels.
  6. Human connection
    For most L&D professionals human connection is crucial to overcome for successful hybrid learning. Hybrid learning makes it significantly difficult to establish and maintain a human connection with learners, which in turn impacts engagement. How do you create the balance between those physically in front of you and those virtually in the room? Vital non-verbal cues help create engagement and drive participation levels in a session, but it’s a struggle for facilitators to manage the balance and pick up on those cues within a hybrid session.
  7. Course materials
    Long gone are the days where you can provide physical handouts to a team. Adapting course materials and course design to work in both a digital and hybrid space is a shift. It requires more time and effort to blend the pedagogy with the technology. Technology needs to enable your in-room learners to have their own individual experience of the session in the same fashion as the remote participant and be able to make their own unique notes.
  8. Technical issues
    Technical issues can take many different forms, and with hybrid learning this opportunity for something to go awry is doubled — you have both people in the room and those joining remotely, and any tech issues disrupt the learning and teaching. Hybrid learning creates a connection between virtual and in-room participants is great progress, but what happens when the technology fails? For hybrid learning to be effective it needs to work seamlessly.

A guide to overcoming hybrid learning challenges

Equality is paramount for hybrid learning. Everyone who joins a hybrid learning session needs to have an equal learning experience, whether they’re in the room or remote. How do you overcome the fundamental challenges to provide a productive learning environment and deliver a consistent learning experience?

A seat in the room
Whether it’s a physical chair or a virtual seat, each learner needs a dedicated place in the room to be given the best opportunity to participate and engage during a session. This makes it easy for everyone to see and speak to each other and it is important for the host that everyone has a consistent place in the room. Similar to an in-room attendee, the virtual participant’s screen should not move around. But rather, have a dedicated position so they can be addressed directly and called upon when needed to reinforce their understanding and humanize the learning experience. Training solutions where people move around based on who spoke last rarely consider this feature and don’t provide the same level of engagement and learning consistency.

Consistency is key
Learners — irrelevant of their location — should be given the same tasks and course materials for a session, be able to make their own individual notes and collaborate with their peers as needed. Functionality to record a session or access content after a session has finished is also valuable to ensure inclusivity. This is ideal for those who need to catch up or spend additional time on a specific area or task.

Cameras on
In a group setting connecting and communicating with eye contact helps to build trust and emotional connection. You can pick out non verbal cues such as a smile, a disagreeable face or an inquisitive pose. For hybrid learning it’s not about recreating the interactions as in person, rather it’s about creating other meaningful moments in the session that engage with everyone in the room, whether that’s virtual or physical.

A great example of how this doesn’t work is with a gallery view, where in most circumstances people turn their cameras off to avoid people seeing them when they’re not talking. Using technology in the right way can help with this – for example only showing the last four speakers helps reduce the tension so, while everyone has their cameras on they aren’t visible in a gallery view to everyone and allows facilitators and participants to see each other.

Learning spaces
Having a room that is set up in a way that works for both in-room and remote learners is vital to the success of your session and learning. You might need to move things around to create the optimal learning space, and consider moving screens with remote learners so they are behind the in-room learners. This will help the host see everyone participating in the session, and pick up on the critical non verbal cues.

Focus time
Communication of the session expectations is important for success, and all learners should be encouraged to be present and feel as though they’re in the room. Those joining remotely should be asked to close other browsers and software for their undivided attention. Those in the room should have their phones away and be ready to learn. To make this easier, interact with people as they enter the session, whether that’s in-room or virtual.

The technology in a hybrid learning environment should enable the host to know if a remote learner is being attentive. This way if someone is not paying attention they can draw them back into the conversation, just like they would with someone in the room.

Use breakout groups
Breakout sessions are a valuable way to allow participants to chat and exchange points of views and opinions in a more comfortable and intimate space. These sessions also require a defined learning objective. They are impactful if used correctly and can generate more ideas and contributions as people have the time and environment to speak freely. Creating breakout groups with hybrid participants can be complicated, and difficult to achieve, but is key to running a seamless session. The right technology can help bridge this gap by ensuring participants can communicate and collaborate together, and by giving the facilitator the opportunity to see each group’s work and share it back to the wider group.

Preparation is key
Tech issues will always be unpredictable but there are certain things that can be done to mitigate issues. This includes recommending that remote learners have a strong internet connection and checking the technology in the physical room works as expected. A good idea is to do a dry-run before each session to alleviate any issues and get comfortable with the technology. It helps to think of hybrid sessions as live broadcast environments like a tv show with a live audience. You wouldn’t just turn up and present, you would rehearse and be prepared. This doesn’t mean the technology needs to be complicated, but preparation is key to the success of your hybrid sessions.



A Hybrid Learning Software Helps Solve for Learning and Development Team Challenges

X2O OneRoom provides hybrid learning environments that give remote users an equal seat in the room with their own unique perspective and audio stream along with an intuitive UI for an immersive learning experience.

With an integrated whiteboard and content repository learners can contribute and annotate on assets together or individually. OneRoom includes content sharing capabilities that visually bring to life training for learners, whether that’s using external devices or using smart annotations that can be revisited in subsequent sessions are powerful and increase engagement. All session content should be accessible to everyone, regardless of where they are.

OneRoom enables you to deliver engaging sessions using interactive tools such as polls and breakout groups including creating smaller breakout groups with a blend of in-room and remote participants.With the support of the analytics dashboard instructors can also track learner engagement and see how learners have contributed.

At X2O Media we work and support you and your team to conceptualize and create the hybrid learning experience that is right for your organization. Talk to a representative about solving your hybrid learning challenges, or download our Engaging Hybrid Whitepaper which shares some of the best practices L&D Managers have learnt as they adapt to hybrid learning.

5 Ways to Engage in Hybrid Training Sessions

In 2019, if you had polled businesses on whether they would use hybrid training, you would have received a chorus of noes. Three years later, in 2022, learning and development departments are singing a different tune.

A recent report uncovered that almost half of businesses (44%) intend to rely on hybrid training consistently from now on. Almost the same percentage (42%) plan to upgrade or purchase learning technology as a result of the pandemic (Brandon Hall Group, “The Hybrid Learning Revolution | Webinar”).

These findings suggest that there is a gap between where companies are and where they want to be with virtual employee engagement. The transition from in-person, Instructor Led Training (ILT) to virtual ILT (vILT) is not simple, and hybrid training adds a full range of unique challenges. However, the benefit of employee engagement tools has proven to be holding strong.

Here are 5 recommendations to help your business meet and exceed the challenges.

1. Think Outside the Room

Technology tools can help learning and development teams enhance experiences with capabilities such as repositories for shared digital files, digital white boards and collaboration software tools. These features make many elements of teaching easier than they would be in an exclusively physical setting. Hybrid is exciting because it can open up participation to employees from anywhere in the world. Additionally, it is also exciting because of these shared tools and communications, which can further drive productivity and engagement. There’s a reason that “The Hybrid Learning Revolution” report showed intent toward sustained usage and investment in hybrid training and learning — it’s important for effective employee engagement in physical and virtual classrooms alike. It is important to consider what hybrid training can add, not only what it can replace.

2. Facilitate Digital Tools with Dedicated Session Coordinators

Hybrid training courses benefit from a session coordinator who can help with the digital execution of the session; this is particularly true when technology is new to users and instructors.

The need to dive into administrative tasks related to technology can divert instructors from the purpose of hybrid training. Even the best instructors will need to take extra time away from facilitating so that they can turn up the volume, or help Elsa with granting her web browser access to her microphone. This role can be appointed informally, provided that the tools chosen are intuitive and nontechnical to use. Instructors can choose participants to help out if that is appropriate. The hybrid learning experience will run as seamlessly as an in-person session, while also delivering on added features of the hybrid training environment.

3. Educate Instructors on Digital Tools That Support Collaboration

Every topic is different, but Learning & Development teams should look at cloud tools that support many different types of collaboration, increasing productivity dramatically. Everything from collaborative word processing to virtual whiteboards and real-time communication and collaboration tools can lower the divide between in-room and virtual participants. Every teaching style is unique, and the technology is capable of supporting and even enhancing virtual learning. Instructors might be unaware of cloud tools that would be ideal for any class modality, so be sure to discuss the options available through your business’ tech stack.

4. Extra Resources for Hybrid Training

This piece of advice is more for the sanity of your Learning & Development department than your learners. Many L&D departments are accustomed to organizing ILT sessions through a motley of tools. These might be capable of supporting a hybrid mode, but at the very least the process and structure of administrative tools and processes will need to be shaped around hybrid capabilities. Take a deep dive with your IT department and develop a new blueprint. A solid, experienced technology partner can help guide L&D and IT through this discussion.

5. Hybrid-Native Communications Technology

Currently about one in every three businesses plan on implementing new communications hardware to support hybrid upskilling. But, we believe this number will continue to grow as more businesses face hybrid training and learning head-on. There are certain facets to hybrid communication that traditionally tend to discourage collaboration. The lack of eye contact, the lack of spatial awareness, seeing yourself on camera — these are critical differences that, without the right technology, make communications a bit more challenging and prone to “Zoom Fatigue.” There are communications technologies out there that address these difficulties, like X2O Media’s OneRoom. These comprehensive solutions can be more costly to implement, but they are an investment in the best quality hybrid training experience possible, making an appreciable difference in the quality of every session.

Where Zoom Falls Short for Education & Deep Learning

In the past years, higher education institutions have merged traditional and virtual classrooms, a process that has been met with challenges and successes.

Traditional web conferencing has played an integral role during this transitional period. While instructors have acknowledged the platform’s failings, platforms like Zoom and Teams are not going away anytime soon.

Still, more instructors are choosing to offer their courses pass-fail as it is simply more difficult to teach on web conferencing platforms like Zoom, Teams and Google Meet. Students cannot be expected to maintain the same level of retention, motivation and ability to learn on a deep level.

These platforms limit learning in several ways.

__“….having to engage in a “constant gaze” makes us uncomfortable — and tired. In person, we are able to use our peripheral vision to glance out the window or look at others in the room. On a video call, because we are all sitting in different homes, if we turn to look out the window, we worry it might seem like we’re not paying attention.” __         — Harvard Business Review, “How to Combat Zoom Fatigue”

But where exactly does traditional web conferencing fall short in terms of demonstrable outcomes?

Dynamic tasks — like group discussions, collaborative problem solving, and debate — experience significant productivity loss when conducted over a flat communications platform. These deep learning activities have always relied on kinesthetic experiences to give new shape to minds, mentalities, and drive behavioral change.

Retention almost doubles when we provide an environment that facilitates discussion as opposed to demonstration.

Kinesthetic experiences rely on give-and-take interactions that are afforded in traditional classrooms, where eye movements and non-verbal cues — including individual facial expressions, gestures, and personal attention — are naturally present.

Traditional web conferencing solutions cannot easily replicate these more natural, kinesthetic behaviors, which explains why they are ineffective.

Higher education institutions are able to accommodate the kinesthetic challenge with two interventions.

Organize class sessions with specific intent to communicate material audio-visually or kinesthetically
Invest in a sophisticated virtual or hybrid classroom platform specifically designed to create an immersive and interactive experience for both in-room and remote students wherever they are located.

Read about how OneRoom technology offers a better approach to learning to support student success with an interactive, hybrid learning experience for both in-room and remote students wherever they are located.

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