A Learning Management System (LMS) is a critical part of any organization’s learning and development programs, and a key element for enabling eLearning at scale. But your LMS can’t do it all — particularly when it comes to supporting the increasingly important role of video in your learning environment.
In the past decade, video platforms and learning management systems have each enabled organizational learning and development teams to scale their activities, teach and share more information, drive down costs, and help their staff become more skilled, more savvy, and more productive. Video-based eLearning has proven an invaluable tool for expanding your training activities, scaling your talent management programs, reducing learning and development costs, and helping your people learn and remember more.
Today, however, many organizations haven’t done enough to leverage the value of both these technologies — allowing their LMS to fall short on delivering the full potential value of eLearning.
A modern VCMS is designed to complement your LMS — making the management of all your learning materials easier than ever and allowing you to focus on expanding and improving your programs, rather than dwell on the technical details of managing video. Together, a VCMS and an LMS can help your organization get the most out of your training materials — and continue to scale and enhance the value they deliver in the future.
Insufficient support for video may sound at first like a single problem. However, the versatility of video as a tool supporting learning means that its omission from your LMS isn’t just one missed opportunity — it’s ten.
Without comprehensive support for video, your organization won’t be able to tap into the full potential value of eLearning. To see why, let’s look into ten areas where most LMS solutions aren’t designed to manage video, and see how adding a complementary VCMS can help you achieve better learning outcomes.
Video files are by nature significantly larger than text documents. A simple 7-10 minute “how-to” video recorded on an employee’s laptop may exceed Cornerstone’s default maximum file size of 500MB. Thirty to sixty-minute video presentations, like those used when recording instructor-led training and company town hall events, almost always surpass even SharePoint’s maximum file size of 2GB.
A video platform, however, is designed with video in mind. Modern VCMS solutions offer far greater storage capacity for video files, ensuring that even massive multi-gigabyte files will easily upload into your video library. This means that, with a VCMS, you no longer need to worry about whether your 8-hour technical training seminar is too big to upload and share, or whether your half-day company town hall event needs to be manually split into smaller parts in order to share with co-workers.
Along with scalable storage, a modern VCMS automatically manages many of the unique delivery challenges of video as well. For example, because video files are typically much larger than other documents shared within your company, they can put a strain on your corporate network. VCMSs address this challenge by efficiently “streaming” video at multiple bitrates (a process known as adaptive bitrate streaming) and by caching videos at various point in your network. The result? Faster, more reliable video playback with minimal buffering that won’t overwhelm your corporate network capacity.
By now, it’s common knowledge that not every video can be played on every device. Flash videos, for instance, famously cannot be played on Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices. The fact is that video technology is built on a host of file types, codecs, containers, and standards.
In the past, a team of AV specialists would have been charged with managing these technical compatibility details. Unfortunately, today’s LMS solutions don’t have an answer to these problems, meaning that your organization has been left with two poor choices:
A video platform, however, offers a much better solution. Today’s video content management systems offer automatic transcoding capabilities — meaning they can accept a range of video and audio file types and automatically convert them to formats that can be viewed on mobile devices. Many video platforms can even go a step further, automatically recognizing the viewer’s device and connection quality and delivering an ideal playback experience for that specific user at that specific moment.
Video is notoriously difficult to search. Unlike documents and email, the actual content inside videos — the words spoken and shown on-screen — has been nearly impossible to search until recently. As a result, no LMS currently on the market can search inside video content. Most are limited to searching manually-added data about the video like title, creator, and description tags. That may be just enough for all those 2 minute videos on YouTube, but it’s not nearly sufficient for organizational training and communications videos, which often run 30-60 minutes or longer.
Perhaps even more problematic, most of the time when your people are searching your informational and training videos, they aren’t looking to re-watch an entire half-day session. They just want to find a specific 2-minute segment on a topic that’s highly relevant to them at that moment. In those cases, just returning the video isn’t particularly helpful because the viewer is still forced to hunt and peck through the timeline for however long it takes to find the specific moments they need.
Here too a video platform can offer a much-improved solution. Inside video search has become a key element of the modern VCMS, and Panopto’s Smart Search today leads the way. Smart Search indexes every word spoken, every word shown on-screen, and every word included in your presentation slides, for every video across your entire library. Better still, Smart Search time stamps all that information, enabling your team to instantly fast-forward to the exact moment they were searching for.
While most learning management systems allow trainers to create and manage documents and presentations, only a small subset offer even a limited solution for recording video. At best, your LMS may offer the ability to record standard-definition video from a webcam.
While webcam video can certainly be a valuable part of your eLearning materials, it only scratches the surface of what your team will want to record. Whether it’s HD camcorders needed to capture a traditional instructor-led training session, specialty recording devices designed for medical or technical video capture, tablets or mobile phones creating on-location video in the field, or even a simple recording of your presenter’s PC screen during a process walk-through, ideally you’ll want to be able to record anything and ensure it can be quickly made available for your team’s benefit.
That kind of recording flexibility isn’t available in an LMS. Recording any of the more complex scenarios above would require professional assistance from an AV team, as well as a considerable amount of post-production to ensure proper playback and compatibility.
A VCMS, however, can make creating each of those videos as easy as clicking “record”. That’s because modern video platforms take care of the technical details automatically — accommodating virtually any recording device (even multiple devices recording simultaneously), optimizing recording quality for playback, uploading completed videos almost instantly to a central library, and transcoding every file (new or old) for compatibility with just about every viewer.
A video platform makes it easy to produce an entire library of informational presentations, formal ILT sessions, remote field demonstrations, town hall events, and almost anything else you can imagine — all right from your PC, with no AV expertise required.
Some information is too important not to make available in real time. Training conferences, executive town halls, compliance updates, and dozens of other examples are all materials that would be ideal to live stream to your teams as they happen.
Unfortunately, none of the big names in the LMS market were built to support live broadcast capabilities. Most, in fact, specifically state they require an integration with a capable video platform in order to facilitate sharing live video.
A VCMS can be a perfect solution for broadcasting. Panopto’s video platform enables teams to offer a live webcast with just one additional click as part of making any video recording. You can webcast anything you can record with a Windows laptop — and stream it live over your corporate intranet or the web, to an audience of thousands or even tens of thousands. Webcasting is the perfect solution for scaling your on-location events, enabling those who couldn’t be there in-person to get a next-best-thing experience.
Compared to entertainment and marketing videos, most learning videos don’t require much post-production work. That, however, shouldn’t prohibit learning and development teams from making some basic edits to their videos, such as cutting content from the top, tail, or middle of the video, and adding in a bumper video at the beginning or end.
Yet even simple video editing is outside the scope of most LMS systems. Which means today, when your team produces a video to share, even if your LMS does accommodate video files, you’ll still need to find another way to edit the video before you make it available. Of course, there’s no shortage of specialized video editing software available today — but investing here only means buying another point solution, and creating yet one more step in your workflow that requires specialized expertise. As your organization continues to produce more and more video in the coming years, it means one more bottleneck between recording information and sharing it.
A VCMS, however, often includes simple video editing tools as part of its solution. With a VCMS, making simple edits and splicing in other videos becomes just an option in the normal workflow — available and easy for any video creator to do. A VCMS will even enable editing for videos recorded outside the system — so you can update existing videos, trim videos shot on location with mobile devices, and even go back and update slides from past training events so that up-to-date information is always ready for your employees to find.
One of the features that helped learning management systems become an essential part of organizational learning and development programs was the ability to offer detailed reports on learner activities and performance. Today those analytics capabilities have become robust for just about every learning activity an LMS might manage — every one except video, where at best your LMS can tell you whether or not an employee clicked “play”.
A video platform helps you understand how your people are interacting with your video resources. For each video in your library, a VCMS can help you see how often it’s been watched and by whom, as well as viewership trends like when your audience closes the window to stop watching. All together, it’s the kind of essential video analytics information that can help you better understand what information learners are looking for, and what types of videos they prefer.
Video platforms also provide insights at an individual viewer level. Using single sign-on from your LMS or identity management system, you can see which videos each of your team members has been watching — and not only if they clicked play, but whether they watched the video in full or stopped short.
For many organizations, SCORM standards now govern how eLearning content is packaged and delivered. To date, it hasn’t always been possible to easily include video content in LMS courses. A video platform, however, allows users to access and view rich media courses while still providing the essential course completion-tracking SCORM manifest.
Interactivity has become an important part of just about every eLearning strategy. People learn more information and retain the details better when they are challenged to actively participate in educational content, rather than simply passively consume it.
For the most part, your LMS does a fantastic job of building interactivity into your eLearning content. Enabling quizzes and assessments to be conducted online, allowing for peer- and instructor-interactions via instant message, providing secure messaging space for input from learners — the LMS can even make classroom-based learning more interactive. Except of course, when it comes to video-based eLearning content — where your best hope is to create an interactive element outside the video and set up requirements that students work through both activities separately.
A video platform makes building interactivity into your video eLearning content much simpler. With a video platform like Panopto, you can embed anything that appears on a web page directly into your videos — tests and quizzes, interactive features from tools like Articulate, Adobe Captivate, Top Hat, SurveyMonkey, Zoomerang, Google Forms and others — even allow users to contribute to documents and spreadsheets with tools like Google Drive, all without leaving your video learning experience.
Industry reports contend that user-generated content is the fastest-growing type of learning content — but that’s not quite true. Colleagues and peers have been sharing tips and best practices since time immemorial. What’s growing faster than anything else today isn’t the quantity of information being shared; it’s the amount of this information that’s become documented.
Today, many learning management systems offer basic tools to help organizations curate and share their internal knowledge. Some providers create space for a company forum where your people can post questions and requests for one another. Other systems enable corporate wikis where learning and development teams can highlight selected expertise for others to read. The issue, however, is that these are fairly limiting options. While forums and wikis still exist on the broader web today, their use as a means for finding and sharing information is decidedly overshadowed by a more engaging platform — YouTube.
As video becomes easier and more convenient to create, it’s quickly becoming the preferred way to share ideas and information. YouTube reports that already today, 100 hours of video is uploaded to its platform every minute of every day. Even Facebook — built around text-based posts — now expects the majority of its content to be video within 5 years. That same growth is happening inside organizations as well. As video becomes easier to produce, more and more employees are turning away from text-heavy wikis and forums and doing what they already do at home — turning on a webcam or setting up a screen capture tool, and clicking record.
Today your LMS can’t support this new, easier way to produce and share social learning content. But a VCMS can. With an enterprise video platform, your employees can instantly record any information they like — be it from their laptop screen, webcam, mobile device, specialty video recorders like document cameras, or just about anything else — upload it to a familiar, “Corporate YouTube” environment, and make it searchable and shareable in minutes. The well-known 70:20:10 model already asserts your employees learn 70% of what they know on-the-job. With a video platform, your training and development teams can help create a formal social learning program around all that informal information exchange that’s been going on within your office since your business opened.
As the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age, many organizations are facing a serious challenge — how to capture all the institutional knowledge and insider expertise your soon-to-be retiring workforce has before it walks out the door?
Managing your organization’s expertise is a challenge for every business because every one of your employees is a specialist in something. When that person isn’t available (regardless of whether they’ve left for lunch, for the night, or for a new job elsewhere), the rest of your team may not have any other way to access the information they need to get things done. This is especially the case when organizations rely on technical specialists to manage entire IT processes or to own key billing programs. Losing access to these people’s expertise even for a short time may lead to critical problems.
Much like social learning, most LMS products offer few if any modern solutions for preserving internal knowledge. Subject matter experts may be able to contribute to wikis or forums — but those options are rarely able to fully capture all the details others may need to see when troubleshooting systems, building new code on top of legacy systems, or other complex tasks.
With a VCMS, however, your subject matter experts can record their tips, techniques, and best practices in high-definition — allowing anyone searching for that resource to see every detail and ensure everything can be matched up to work properly. And because it’s saved as video, your expert’s wisdom can be accessed on-demand whenever it’s needed — and even preserved for use long after your expert has moved on.
Look deeper into the modern eLearning environment in our latest white paper, 10 Ways Your LMS Falls Short When It Comes To Video.
Along with discussing the 10 aspects of video that LMS solutions were not built to support, we’ll also examine how a video content management system, or VCMS, can address each of those shortcomings — and why pairing a VCMS with your LMS may be the ideal solution for maximizing the potential of your learning programs.