Reflecting on LearnTec 2016
This week I’ve been at the LearnTec 2016 convention in Karlsruhe, Germany, talking about the role video can play in enhancing teaching and learning. This was the 24th annual LearnTec event, and each year the convention brings together around 7,000 visitors – all of us interested in how to use technology to improve the learning experience at their organisations. This year’s visitors included learning technologists from educational institutions, as well as IT and HR professionals from leading businesses.
This year the overall theme was ‘Future Learning: Digital learning culture’ and some of the key topics that were discussed included:
- supporting effective mobile learning,
- mining learning analytics for insights into how best to deliver knowledge and skills to learners,
- and the intersection of collaborative learning and individual learning.
How we use video to enhance the learning experience today.
I expanded on some of these key themes in my talk on Anytime, anywhere learning – the use of video to enhance the learning experience. Over 20 minutes, I shared with the LeanTec audience how the rise of internet-enabled devices and the commodification of hardware and computing power have combined to create the ideal conditions for video to thrive as a learning and communications medium.
I went on to talk about the impact of video in education – focusing on lecture capture and the flipped classroom – and in business, looking at companies that are embracing online video training and social learning programmes which are underpinned by video technologies like ours. I finished up by talking about the importance of putting in place a robust video platform to help organisations realise the true potential of video for learning.
Sparking ideas for improving the way organizations learn.
Throughout the event in my conversations with the people who attended, it was clear to see that the idea of offering on-demand video to learners is of great interest to all sorts of organisations. The delegates were keen to discuss the possibilities that are opened up when you can deliver on-demand video to students or staff. Ideas sparked ranged from achieving greater consistency by ensuring everyone in an organization is shown the same induction video, to utilizing on-demand access to learning materials in order to help learners absorb complex material at a pace that suits their own individual needs.
Convenience, flexibility and scalability were all things that came up when delegates were considering the impact on-demand video might have at their own organisations. Of course, a common related concern was how to make this on-demand video available through familiar platforms – namely the Virtual Learning Environment. Many questions centred around how organisations can create a seamless experience for their learners by ensuring the video solutions they put in place will fully integrate.
Finding information — the importance of searching video content.
Another topic that recurred throughout my time at LearnTec was the importance of inside-video search. Delegates who were thinking of scaling up video use were acutely aware that the material had to be discoverable — and were worried that without the right tools in place, they risked creating lots of content with no clear way for the learner to navigate to what they were most interested in.
Concerns around what video content could or couldn’t be indexed opened up a number of conversations about Panopto’s Smart Search functionality, which enables viewers to find any word spoken or shown on-screen in any video. This comprehensive searchability, coupled with the overarching idea of on-demand video, puts the learner fully in control of the material — able to access any content they need whenever they need it, find the specific topic they need to review, and then consume that specific piece of content using a device of their choice.
Whether delegates were from a university, or from a business, there was a widespread view that empowering learners in these ways could only have a positive impact on the learning experience.