The 5 Biggest Challenges To Training With Video
Chances are if you have ever had to do training sessions, the best way to captivate your audience is the use of videos. It’s more engaging than a training manual and it helps scale training across large organizations. The major shortfall of this method is organizing the videos and delivering them to your employees. Traditional systems that organizations are accustomed to using for sharing knowledge at work such as a content management systems (CMS), learning management systems (LMS), or even your corporate file sharing network were not designed for video-based training.
The team at Flixout on average has 20 years’ experience in integrating video content management systems for enterprises, small businesses, and universities of all different sizes. Throughout our years of experience, we have learned from the challenges posed by each organization’s unique need and created a video content management system that solves the biggest hurdles organizations face when training with videos.
Challenge 1: Storing Video Files
One thing most people know about video files is they are extremely large, much larger than most files that organizations traditionally manage on existing infrastructure. This poses many unique problems in handling videos that many organizations are not accustomed to solving.
A real-world example is a one-minute long video recorded using a mobile phone at 1080p resolution. The size of this video would be roughly 175MB. The average Microsoft Word document is 100KB. It would take roughly 1,750 of the same Microsoft Word documents to equal one of these videos. That is a lot of data. Considering the length of a training video is much longer than a minute and an organization may have hundreds of training videos, the amount of space used for videos becomes the size of the standard hard drive very quickly.
The sheer size and number of these videos becomes a major problem for most CMS and LMS platforms as they were never designed to store such data. Most CMS or LMS platforms have a maximum file size between 50MB and 100MB. SharePoint, out-of-the-box, has a maximum size of 50MB. This creates a problem for sharing these videos as the one-minute video mentioned before already exceeds this constraint by a lot.
Storage constraints aren’t the only problem organizations face with videos. Most CMS or LMS software, if you do manage to get over the storage constraint issue, will require compression of longer videos and the modification of the frame rate and resolution to properly adapt to playing on the platform. This requires someone to edit each individual video so that it can be properly uploaded to the platform, a very time-consuming task done with expensive hardware and a skilled technician.
Some organizations may give up trying to upload their videos to an LMS or CMS system and try to upload it to their network LAN drives or a video sharing system. This may solve the storage limitations posed with a CMS or LMS but doing so usually comes with additional challenges such as video discovery, supported formats, and the inability to track metrics and analytical data.
Challenge 2: Video File Formats
The explosive growth in digital video has led to a new type of problem as well, different formats. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to making video files and as such, the world as been awash in different formats, AVI, MP4, FLV, MPG, WMV, MOV, QT, ASF, 3GP, WMA, and M4V to name some of the most common formats. These different formats might work great on one device but on another, they won’t work at all. By just looking at the format, it is impossible to tell what devices will play what format.
This is because video formats are made up of two parts: containers and codecs. Think of it this way, the container holds two things together, a video codec and an audio codec. These codecs within the container determine their compatibility with a certain device but by simply looking at the format of the container, you would have no way of knowing what type of codecs are contained within. Just because a particular codec works with your device doesn’t mean it will work with all of your audience’s devices, a major pitfall most organizations fail to realize until it’s too late.
To ensure compatibility with different devices, it is therefore important to transcode each video which is the process of taking the codecs within the container and converting them into many different codecs to cover all devices that could possibly view the video. Not an easy, fast, or cheap task as it requires the expertise of a video technician with expensive software to do so.
Challenge 3: Delivering Video
The challenges don’t just stop with the size and format of the videos. The next major challenge the do-it-yourself IT department guru will face is the actual delivery of the video to the audience.
With more and more employees working off-site and away from a centralized, controlled network space, many variables crop up that are outside an organization’s control and will influence the viewability of these videos. Whether your people are watching remotely or on-site, and whether they’re using their desktops, laptops, or mobile devices, delivering video can be a serious challenge to corporate networks. The culprit, often, isn’t the video itself — it’s the system where you’ve chosen to store your videos.
CMS, LMS and file sharing solutions all share one thing in common and that is how they deliver the content being requested. When content is requested from one of these platforms, it is downloaded entirely. This isn’t a problem for small files such as a training manual but when it comes to videos, just as you had storage problems, your audience will have storage problems too if they download just a few of your videos.
Even if you manage to get your LMS or CMS system to play the video while it’s downloading, most of the time, viewers will be faced with the dreaded buffering message at one point or another regardless of their internet speed. Buffering causes your video to stop playing while the download catches up to the viewers location in the video, this can take a couple of seconds or longer depending on the speed of the viewer’s internet connection and cause frustration along the way. When users get frustrated, they tend to get distracted doing something else or worse, abandon what they were watching completely. This is something management wants to avoid when it comes to something as important as training videos.
The solution to this is to deploy a streaming server which has special capabilities to reduce or eliminate buffering completely. It does this in a variety of ways, but the main point is, there are usually multiple different streams to chose from and the streaming server monitors the playback of the user. The goal is to always deliver the highest resolution video a viewer’s device and connection can handle but if it detects a delay, it switches to another stream of lesser quality without the intervention of the user and usually without them even noticing. Once the streaming server detects it can send a higher quality stream, it will do so again. Streaming servers are notoriously difficult to work with due to their complexity and extremely expensive. It’s simply a piece of hardware that most companies would rather do without since they only serve one purpose which may not make them cost effective.
Challenge 4: Organizing Videos
Most organizations have large video libraries covering a range of topics that are targeted for specific audiences. The problem with a CMS/LMS/file sharing system is there is no good way to organize videos in a way that is intuitive for a viewer to navigate. Trying to figure out which video to go to after another can become a chore in of itself and if your users weren’t frustrated with buffering, they will be frustrated when they spend 10 minutes looking for the next correct training video.
A properly designed video content management system solves this dilemma as it was specially designed for usability and intuitiveness in mind. Viewers should be able to find what they need in only a few clicks and if they need to pause and come back later, they should be able to pick up right where they left off. Traditional CMS/LMS/file sharing systems lack this capability and are unfriendly for those that are needing to stop and continue their training progress multiple times.
The ability to restrict access based on groups is also non-existent meaning if one user has access to the system, they usually have access to all the content as well. If you wish to restrict content, a standard CMS/LMS/file sharing system is not the solution for you. This is because these systems again are not designed for videos.
Challenge 5: Tracking Video-Based Learning
It’s easy to see who attended or not when training in person. Either you see the person, or you don’t. Training exclusively with videos makes that difficult unless you have a way of tracking analytics and metrics about your viewers. Although some CMS/LMS systems will provide you with basic metrics, seldom do they have the capabilities to narrow down who did what when. Even less likely is the ability of these systems to track if a viewer watched the video in its entirety, they weren’t designed for video as you are well aware by now.
Without the ability to track this important information, your employees could be missing out on critical information they need to accomplish their job successfully. Ensuring that your employees have watched the training videos in their entirety and all the required videos reduces workplace mishaps, increases knowledge, and puts everyone within the organization on the same page. There is nothing worse than having an employee cause an accident because they didn’t watch a safety video completely and you were unaware of it. This could open the door to possible litigation which everyone wants to avoid (unless you’re a litigator).
Of course, one could argue that an employee could just hit play on the video and walk away, never actually watching the video, but having it shown as watched in the analytics. How do you ensure they watched the video then? Excellent question. It’s the same way you would test a student to ensure they studied; you can give them a quiz! One of the most effective ways of reinforcing important ideas is by testing the viewer on the concepts watched. This subliminally tells the employee that the content is important, and they are more likely to remember what they learned longer term.
Additionally, the results of the quiz should be viewable by management to ensure what was taught what was learned and if there are gaps in knowledge, that the employee can get the additional help they may need to fully understand what they watched. These types of features are not readily available in a CMS/LMS/file sharing system and it’s important before an organization begins its video library journey to ensure the platform chosen is the right one for them.
Luckily, Flixout was designed for enterprises in mind. All the problems outlined above are solved with our platform. Flixout makes it easy to upload, store, organize and monitor the videos organizations upload at a fraction of the cost it would take to incorporate all the features needed for a successful video library. We even take care of the transcoding aspect for you, simply upload a video and our platform will do all the hard work of ensuring it can be played on any device without buffering. Our platform is the most comprehensive video content management system on the market today, with more features being added every day. Come check it out with a no hassle, no credit card needed, free trial where you can begin using your new video content management system in 5 minutes (no need to talk to a sales person unless you want to, awesome!).