Training News, Training Technology

What Is Lecture Capture?

Today we are embarking on a special three-part question and answer session with Steve Rozillis, head of Customer Evangelism at Panopto. We will be discussing how technology has transformed the ability to capture lectures for later training.

L&D Daily Advisor: Can you describe what you mean when you say “lecture capture”?

Rozillis: Over the last 10 years or so, the term “lecture capture” has become common in academia. Here, lecture capture refers to recording a classroom lecture so that students can watch it later on-demand. Recorded lectures are a valuable resource for students who weren’t able to attend due to illness or travel or who just want to rewatch a key point in preparation for exams. Today, about 80% of universities now record their classroom lectures.

Of course, lectures exist in the workplace as well. We just call them by another name—“instructor-led training.” And it’s here where the concept of lecture capture is now at the cutting edge, enabling companies to scale the reach and frequency of employee training activities.

Already, businesses like Qualcomm, New York Life, VMware, Kimberly Clark, Partners Healthcare, and hundreds of others are tapping the same video tools that universities use to capture lectures. Simply recording in-person training sessions eliminates any need to repeat the training and also enables employees anywhere around the world to attend training as well—watching either a live stream in real time or the completed recording later on-demand.

Along with recording and sharing instructor-led training activities, there is a lot of buzz around the possibilities for expanding the use of “lecture capture” in the workplace. Companies are experimenting with using video-based lecture capture tools for improving social knowledge sharing, speeding up onboarding, improving executive transparency, eliminating brain drain due to departing employees, and strategically reducing costs of both internal and external training initiatives. Recording this content is now easier than ever, and thanks to new advances in video search technology, these types of videos can now be as easy to search as any text-based document.

L&D Daily Advisor: What are some of the traditional methods of capturing lectures?

Rozillis: Looking way back, the history of lecture capture really began with learners manually taking notes on paper in order to remember key points of a given class. Over time, the number of options available for capturing lectures expanded with the increased adoption of recording technologies, such as personal tape players, digital voice recorders, laptops, and video recorders.

But whereas capturing the key points of a lecture was once a task for the individual learner, organizations and instructors have now taken the lead in recording lectures for students. In doing so, they can provide every student with equal access to a resource for study and review that is far more comprehensive than could ever be captured manually. This, in turn, helps to free learners from passively scribbling notes and, instead, allows them to actively engage and participate in lessons.

Over the past 10 years, video has become the standard technology used for lecture capture—although even compared to 1 decade ago, much has changed. Early video-based recording solutions were built around proprietary hardware installed on-site (often in dedicated studios or large conference rooms), and relied heavily on dedicated audio visual (AV) teams. Now, as lecture capture solutions are built into leading all-in-one enterprise video platforms, there is quite a bit more flexibility available in terms of what can be recorded, where, and by whom.

L&D Daily Advisor: What do these traditional methods leave to be desired?

Rozillis: The earlier solutions for recording met the need to produce sharp, high-quality videos. The trouble is, organizations can generally only produce a very small number of those videos. And once those video files are made available, they’re still usually quite difficult to find.

Relying on dedicated recording studios or professional AV teams limits the amount of recording an organization can do. Both options tend to be expensive and complex, with little availability to record anything other than high-visibility events and activities. When it comes to capturing more day-to-day instruction, these traditional options aren’t flexible enough to record every classroom activity, every how-to presentation, and every informal knowledge sharing opportunity.

Moreover, even when studios and AV teams can be scheduled to record a lecture or other instructional content, the resulting files often are of little value for on-demand learning. Final videos may take weeks to produce and may be stored in any of 1 dozen locations depending on file size and format—meaning employees who don’t already know the videos exist seldom ever find them.

This effect is only made worse by traditional file management systems that aren’t designed to store and search video files. Historically, video content has been a black box, impossible for even sophisticated search engines to index—even YouTube, which is owned by Google, can only look to manually entered information like titles and tags when it searches its libraries. And while that might be enough to help someone find the short 1–3 minute videos common to YouTube, when it comes to recordings of 1-hour-long town halls, half-day training courses, and all the other kinds of lengthy, information-rich video content businesses produce, it’s nearly impossible to add enough detail in tags, descriptions, and other types of “metadata” about the video to make it possible for others to effectively search.

Join us for tomorrow’s Advisor where we will hear more from Rozillis on the topics of the importance of storing lectures and how streaming and online services have transformed training.