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Taming the Beast: Adding Video to Your Saba Learning Programs

Video is a unique beast. It provides an engaging format to help employees learn, but too often it’s time consuming and costly to produce. It helps you scale your training initiatives worldwide, but it can bog down your corporate network. It’s a great solution for mobile learning — except when it’s incompatible with your employees’ devices. And it would be ideal for just-in-time learning — if only it could be effectively searched.

saba-ctaFor decades, the traditional challenges of working with video limited its adoption among learning and development teams even as demand for video grew.

Then, in just last half-decade or so, video became too big to ignore.

The launch of YouTube and the iPhone brought simple video creation and sharing to the masses. Sites like Khan Academy and Lynda introduced consumer-friendly video learning portals. In academia, the rise of the flipped classroom and lecture capture technologies made video a critical part of student learning. And as Millennials have overtaken Boomers as the largest age demographic in the workforce, the demand for easy-to-use video learning technologies has surged.

Overcoming Traditional Video Challenges

Fortunately, the most pressing challenges of working with video have largely been overcome during this same short period. A relatively new category of enterprise software called the video content management system — abbreviated Video CMS, or simply VCMS — has dramatically reduced the barrier to entry for enterprise video.

Specifically, the video CMS simplifies the way in which videos are created, managed, delivered, and searched. As a result, L&D professionals can more easily and cost-effectively incorporate video into their formal and informal learning initiatives, regardless of their prior experience with video.

Creation Tools

Included with nearly every VCMS is video capture software that runs on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. The software makes it easy to record instructor-led training and video presentations, capture simple screencasts, and stream live events to audiences around the world.

Management at Scale

As the name implies, video content management systems are built for the unique requirements of managing multimedia at scale. For example, video files are massive compared to every other type of learning content. Even a 10-minute video recorded on an iPhone 6 takes up 1.75 gigabytes of disk space. To meet this unique requirement, VCMSs don’t restrict the size of the video files uploaded into the system. This provides L&D teams with a repository that can easily host their multi-gigabyte videos files, and that can elastically scale to multiple terabytes in size as the video collection grows.

Efficient Delivery

VCMSs have two built-in capabilities that allow videos to be delivered more efficiently employees, partners, and customers. First, VCMSs automatically convert videos into formats that are universally compatible with web browsers, tablets, and smartphones—a process called transcoding. Second, they minimize the network impact of video using a variety of bandwidth optimization techniques, including adaptive bitrate streaming, caching, and content pre-positioning.

Search Inside Videos

Many of the learning videos we create are long-form content, ranging from 15-60 minutes in length. Most of the time, though, employees don’t need to watch the entire video. Instead, they simply need to watch the 2-3 minute segment that helps them accomplish the current task at hand. Through the use of technologies like automatic speech recognition (ASR) and optical character recognition (OCR), video CMSs make videos as searchable as text-based learning materials. For example, with a video CMS, your employees could search for 401k plan, then find and fast forward to the precise moments in your annual enrollment training videos where the term was either mentioned by the trainer or shown on their screen.

Integrating Video into the LMS

All of the recent advances in video usability would be for naught if it weren’t also possible to integrate video with the existing learning infrastructure. Specifically, the videos hosted in a VCMS should feel like a core part of the corporate elearning experience, which for many organizations, resides within the LMS.

Typically, the integration of a video CMS and an LMS consists of three parts:

  • Single sign-on: The username and password that employees use to sign in to the corporate LMS should also automatically sign them into the VCMS. This ensures that employees can access videos without the need to remember and enter another set of credentials. It also simplifies access management for IT administrators.
  • Video embedding: Learning and development teams should be able to easily embed individual videos as well as video playlists into formal and informal learning activities throughout the LMS.
  • SCORM: To track viewing and completion rates of learning videos, the VCMS should automatically pass the SCORM manifest to the LMS.

Integrating Panopto into Saba

Recently, Saba released an update that enables companies to integrate Saba Cloud with Panopto’s video content management system. The integration provides single sign-on between the systems, and enables teams to bring video content to the Saba Cloud activity stream, informal learning modules, and formal courses. Future releases of Saba Cloud will introduce SCORM exchange and other capabilities to the integration.

By bringing together the broad elearning capabilities of the LMS with the video-specific functionality of the VCMS, L&D teams have the tools they need to make video a central part of their employees’ professional development. This opens new opportunities to use video at scale for both formal and informal learning activities:

  • Recording every ILT session for on-demand, anytime access
  • Live streaming training events to remote offices and employees
  • Creating onboarding videos for new hires
  • Capturing offboarding videos to preserve the knowledge of exiting employees
  • Training sales reps through the use of recorded role-play exercises
  • Exchanging employee insights through video-based social learning

More importantly, by integrating video into the core learning experience, learning professionals can provide employees with what they increasingly want—a more engaging medium to develop new skills, share best practices, and access learning content at the time of need from any device.

This post first appeared on the Saba blog.

Published: November 17, 2016