What Equipment and Software Do I Need for Lecture Capture?

Welcome to the third and final part of our special question-and-answer session with Steve Rozillis, head of Customer Evangelism at Panopto. Yesterday we looked at the value of online storage and streaming. Today we’ll look at what kinds of specialized equipment and software is needed to record and store educational training sessions.

L&D Daily Advisor: Do you need specialized software and equipment to record and store educational or training sessions?
Rozillis: When it comes to recording, the best camera is often the one you have on you. Whether that happens to be a professional-grade 4K HD camcorder or simply your smartphone’s webcam, you’ll be able to produce a quality video. With instructional content, there’s no need to aspire to Hollywood-level production values—as long as you have good content and good audio (and inexpensive USB microphones can help there, too), you’ll have no trouble creating a useful video.
When it comes to storing and sharing, what you can do will depend on what kind of library you choose for your video files. In the early days of online video, most businesses turned to consumer-grade services like YouTube and DropBox to share internal recordings. But these tools weren’t designed for business use, and among the many challenges they present, privacy is a top concern. Videos are public by default on YouTube, and setting a recording to “private” only means it will be unlisted in search — it will still be viewable to anyone who is given the link. Considering the confidential nature of much of what’s shared in internal training and events, that’s just not secure enough for most businesses.
Instead, a number of organizations are adopting secure video platforms intended for internal audiences, often called a “corporate YouTube.” Videos stored on an enterprise video platform can be made public or can require users to log in before they can view. These platforms take much of the work out of managing video—they can automatically index content for search, compress and transcode files for optimal playback on any device, and even automate workflow and approvals management. And on top of covering storage and sharing, many of today’s enterprise video platforms natively support recording and live streaming, giving businesses a single tool for all things video.
L&D Daily Advisor: This all sounds expensive. Is that the major obstacle preventing companies and institutions from implementing lecture capture?
Rozillis: Most modern video platforms today are software-based and priced per user on subscription models that can be as little as a few dollars per user per month, a fraction of what most companies pay for Web conferencing software. Of course, cost is a factor in every business purchase, but a video platform will often be one of the most affordable solutions in any IT ecosystem.
Instead, the big obstacle to adoption today is simple awareness. Until very recently, video could only be created and shared by managing a complex and expensive web of point solutions and technical consultants. Lecture capture may have existed in higher education for 1 decade or more, but most corporate learning and development (L&D) teams are only now discovering what’s possible with a video platform.
Fortunately, while it can be hard to overcome the inertia of the way things have always been done, the good news for L&D teams is this: after 1 decade of experience recording university classrooms, most video platforms are now plug-and-play. A new video platform can be integrated into your learning management system (LMS), content management system (CMS), and single sign-on (SSO) identity management system in less than 1 hour—so whenever you’re ready, it will be easy to get started.
L&D Daily Advisor: What advice do you have for a company or institution that knows it wants to record training sessions?
Rozillis: Start now, and keep going. As with any new process, there will be a learning curve. Clearly capturing all the details of everything presented with professional-level video and audio quality are skills like any other, and will improve with practice. Just remember, you don’t need to deliver a Hollywood-style video—as long as the information you’re presenting is useful and you’ve made sure your voice comes through clearly, your people will value the recording.
And when it comes time to store your videos, look for the options that make your videos searchable. After all, if information was worth recording, it will be worth finding—look for video platforms that include support for speech and character recognition, which will help more of your people find and view more of the presentations you capture.
L&D Daily Advisor: What are some of the limitations of lecture capture?
Rozillis: In higher education, lecture capture was never intended to replace the classroom experience—only to record it for students who either couldn’t attend or wanted to revisit the information covered later. There is still no substitute for active participation in a classroom lecture.
The same holds true for training in the workplace. Video can help you share information with employees who may not have otherwise been able to attend, and it can help you reach audiences in remote locations that you’d never otherwise be able to visit. It can even help you extend the life of a onetime event and make it part of a searchable treasure trove of institutional knowledge. But it can’t fully replicate the in-class experience, where real time questions, feedback, and interaction all serve to help reinforce the lesson with attendees.
The good news is that lecture capture technologies aren’t changing the fundamentals of corporate learning. Video simply serves as a tool for improving employee learning efficiency and supporting and scaling training initiatives: giving employees anytime access to job-specific training, making learning materials more compelling than a handbook, encouraging social learning through simplified recording and sharing, and offering a more cost-effective option than on-location events and seminars. Many of today’s video platforms even go further, boasting interactive quizzing and analytics that instructors can use to test comprehension and identify strengths and gaps in their learning material, which helps them better serve the learning needs of employees.

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