Adobe Acrobat Connect is produced by Adobe (www.adobe.com or visit the Canadian site at www.adobe.com/ca), a large company that offers a number of products for different technology needs. Many computer users are familiar with another of Adobe's products, Acrobat Reader – free downloadable software that allows PDF documents to be read on virtually any computer.
Adobe Acrobat Connect (also sometimes known simply as Adobe Connect) is software that can be used for online learning or for online meetings. It is available in three different versions, depending on how many people will be participating in the e-learning session or the online meeting:
Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro (for more than 15 participants)
Connect Pro can be used for either online learning or for web conferencing. It offers the ability for participants to share the same screen, which can be helpful if you are trying to demonstrate a software application or a specific task. It also offers a whiteboard, a chat feature and both streaming audio and video. Connect Pro requires a web browser (e.g. Explorer, Navigator, Firefox) and Adobe Flash Player (available as a free download at www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/).
For more information about Connect Pro's web conferencing capabilities, please refer to Adobe's fact sheet.
Connect Pro can be used for self-paced learning by setting up a classroom that participants can access at their convenience. It can also be used for synchronous (live) virtual classes. Live events can be recorded for later playback and review.
For more information about Connect Pro's e-learning capabilities, please refer to Adobe's fact sheet available from its website.
Adobe has created a demonstration of a Connect Pro session on its website.
Adobe Acrobat Connect (for up to 15 participants)
Connect can be used to set up a meeting space or an e-learning site for up to 15 people. It also provides the ability to screen share, and it features a whiteboard, chat function and audio conferencing. Like Connect Pro, it can be used for either synchronous or asynchronous events. The major difference between the two products is the number of people that can participate at one time.
Adobe has created a demonstration of a Connect session on its website.
Adobe Connect Now (up to three participants, currently available as a Beta [i.e. test] version only)
Like Connect Pro and Connect, Connect Now is accessed through an Internet browser and also requires Flash Player. Because it only allows three people to be online at one time, it is mostly used as a virtual meeting space.
GO researchers heard from an interview participant who uses Adobe Connect Pro for both e-learning and for online staff meetings. He described the platform as being highly user-friendly with a full range of features including audio, video, webcam feed, text chat, podcasts, polls, games, e-mail distribution lists, the ability to record and archive sessions.
All versions of Adobe Connect are available for companies to license, by annual subscription or on a pay-per-use basis. Free trial versions are also available. Contact Adobe for more information on pricing.
Technology in Action
A provincial literacy network could use Acrobat Connect to deliver professional development workshops to its members. Individual participants could log in from wherever they are located and actively participate in a live workshop by asking questions of the facilitator or engaging in training activities. The facilitator could present the workshop content using a combination of slides and video presentations. The workshop could be recorded and reviewed later by participants. It could also be made available for playback to anyone who was unable to attend the live session.
Additional Resources about Adobe Acrobat Connect
For more information, be sure to read a product review from The eLearning Guild: www.e-learningguild.com/showfile.cfm?id=2642.
There is an online forum for users of Acrobat Connect at: www.connectusers.com.
Penn State University also has an online forum for Adobe Connect users: http://meeting.psu.edu.
E-Learning Weekly has an article called “Using Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional for e-learning”.