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BYOT: Bring your own training


Matt Pierce discusses how to keep content accessible when training a workforce using an array of their own devices.
Bring your own device (BYOD) is the concept of employees using their personal devices as part of their job function, instead of their employer providing it as standard. BYOD can range from traditional working devices, such as personal laptops, to more modern devices, such as tablets and smartphones.
BYOD has been a hot topic for some time, and its popularity is likely to continue as tablet and smartphones become more commonplace. As many as half of employees may be using their own devices at work, according to a survey by Cisco [1]. With BYOD gaining in popularity, trainers have an opportunity to better engage employees with training and learning resources.

Training opportunities with BYOD

BYOD brings many positives to the workplace. Using personal devices can improve employee job satisfaction, and also improve productivity due to a high level of familiarly with a device. The inherent preference for these devices provides a new medium for trainers to deliver training content.
"Using personal devices can improve employee job satisfaction, and also improve productivity due to a high level of familiarly with a device."
Mobile learning, also referred to as M-learning, has been a discussion point in the learning and development sector for several years. The increasing use of personal devices means there is more opportunity for trainers to develop mobile learning content. 
We've discussed in the past how video can be an effective medium for mobile learning [2]. As devices are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with more technical capabilities and connection technologies, video is an even more appealing training medium. Trainers also need to consider how they deliver a single piece of training content to numerous users with a array of different devices, all with their own screen sizes and format requirements.   

One video, a multitude of devices

Screencasting has been discussed before as a useful method of creating video learning content, especially for use on mobile devices. Screencasting, also referred to as screen recording, is a video recording of all on-screen computer activity alongside an audio commentary from the presenter. These videos are generally created using screencasting software, which literally lets a trainer hit 'record' to start capturing their screen's content. Screencasts can be created for any on-screen computer activity and can be used for several training practises; software demonstrations, recording a presentation, tutorial videos and providing flipped content [3]. 
Screencasts can remove the need to create several videos optimised for specific devices, as screencasting software allows trainers to create the same video in multiple file formats or outputs. This means the same training video or tutorial can then be played on any device.

Output options

Before selecting an output for a recorded screencast, it's important to consider your audience. The device they're using will have the highest impact on output choice, so don't create a video file that doesn't work on Apple devices if you know most of your trainees use iPhones.
There are a few other considerations before deciding on a format. If you don't know which devices your trainees will be using, consider a file format that is widely compatible. MP4 is a good choice, and means any video you create can also be uploaded to YouTube or other video hosting sites. In this case, users should be able to access the video provided their device has an Internet connection. The vast majority of devices come with a YouTube application pre-installed.
If you want the video to be downloaded to devices, from a company intranet for example, you should consider the quality of video and audio. If the video is recorded in HD the file size will be much larger, so takes up more space on a device and will take longer to download. Consider if the video needs to be high quality, or if a medium quality picture will suffice. While this is more complex, it is the best way to keep videos private and also ensures they can be accessed anything without an Internet connection.
"The users' inherent like of their own devices means they are more likely to engage with training content."

BYOD benefits

The advent of the BYOD trend provides similar benefits to the M-learning concept, allowing training content to be carried and accessed anywhere, anytime on a mobile device. The users' inherent like of their own devices means they are more likely to engage with training content.
The ability to re-use and re-format the same training video is also highly beneficial, as the reach of any training resource is greatly extended. It also makes it easier for trainees to use the learning content. For example, if a trainee wanted to learn how to post on a company's blog platform, he or she could watch the tutorial video on their tablet and follow the video on their computer.
As devices become more sophisticated, the use cases in training will continue to develop. Keeping up to date on the latest devices and capabilities will ensure training programmes are taking full advantage to engage with the training audience.
Matt Pierce is customer engagement manager at TechSmith Corporation. For more information please visit He can be found tweeting on @piercemr

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