Leveraging BYOD Training

Keep content accessible when training a workforce on its own devices.

By Matt Pierce, Customer Engagement Manager, TechSmith Corporation

Bring your own device—or BYOD—is growing trend in offices across the country; in fact, by the end of this year, 65 percent of companies expect to have some type of BYOD policy in place.

BYOD is accelerating the smart phone and tablet markets as it is becoming more commonplace in today’s work environment. Along with many other perks, BYOD provides a unique opportunity for trainers to better engage employees with learning resources and training.

Training Opportunities with BYOD

BYOD brings many positives to the workplace. Using personal devices can improve employee job satisfaction and improve productivity due to a high level of familiarity with a device. The inherent preference for these devices provides a new medium for trainers to deliver training content.

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.

Clearly, video can be an effective medium for mobile learning. As devices become 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 an array of different devices, all with their own screen sizes and format requirements.

One Video, a Multitude of 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. Screencasting is a useful method of creating video learning content, especially for use on mobile devices. These videos generally are created using screencasting software, which lets a trainer hit “record” to start capturing his or her screen’s content. The screencasts can be created for any on-screen computer activity and can be used for training practices, software demonstrations, recording a presentation, tutorial videos, and providing flipped content.

Screencasts remove the need to create several different videos, each optimized for specific devices, as the software allows trainers to create the same video in multiple file formats or outputs. This means the same training video or tutorial then can 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 also can 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 need to consider the quality of video and audio. If the video is recorded in high definition (HD), the file size will be much larger, so it will take 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 anywhere without an Internet connection.

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 reuse and reformat the same training video is also beneficial, as the reach of any training resource is greatly extended. This also makes it easier for trainees to use the learning content. For example, if trainees wanted to learn how to post on a company’s blog platform, they 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 programs are able to fully engage with the training audience.

Matt Pierce is customer engagement manager at TechSmith Corporation. For more information, visit www.techsmith.com. He can be found tweeting on @piercemr.

Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.