Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Ideal communications app for improving training and education

By Andrew Atkin

We all have smartphones now. So making a training video can be done on the spot, by nearly anyone.

But we have yet to exploit this technology because there doesn't seems to be an app yet available to properly facilitate smartphones for their training and communications potential. We still use smartphones like toys - not tools.

I would like to make a structural suggestion for the development of an app that can greatly enhance workplace training, and communications and education in general.

The idea, is that you shoot a video from your phone using a master-app that takes care of all the associated fuss. A recorded video is later uploaded to a prescribed online server (internet or intranet) as soon as you hit 'send'. You can wait until you're at a WiFi point before uploading. There's no fuss.

However, because your video is meant for communications (not pretty visual effects) you can choose to greatly compress the video for efficiency, during the post-edit and before uploading.

This can be done with what I call 'spotlight compression' which should be integrated with the app.

-With your fingers on the touchscreen, you create and control (meaning control the position and size) of a low-compression (and therefore high-definition) bubble inside a later high-compression (and therefore low-definition) full-sized image. This is to ensure that the definition is only preserved which is specifically necessary for meaningful clarity. This can drastically reduce the file size of any training video. You can also choose to make the videos simple colours, or black and white, etc.

-Also desirable for communications videos, is a freeze-frame function. So, you press a point on the touchscreen and it holds to a single picture-frame, while still recording voice as a normal-running video. This of course gets rid of a lot of unnecessary data for a training video.

-Another thing educational videos should have is easy referencing for within each video. Basically, you apply an instant jump-to function.

In the post edit, you would want to apply chapters to each video. So, you make a list of integrated links, accessible just below the video, which click to the points within the video that are directly applicable to what you want to see. Obviously this is most important for longer videos, so people are not wasting much time searching.

-And finally, fast access tags (printable) for videos should be included. Using a simple number code, and also QR-codes for immediate video access from a cellphone. The QR-reader should be integrated with the app.

If it's an all-in-one app, then it will be easy to use which is critical. The videos can be made without prior organisation, and quickly. That is key.

A company can set up a professional account with the app-based server, so all videos are uploaded to a secure point that can then only be downloaded by others with a pass. Again, it should all be streamlined into one app, including video recording, uploading and downloading, and file organisation, etc, because it can and should be dead easy to use. People should be using it as a communication medium all the time, especially in practical hands-on professions.

Another function to integrate with the app is a screen-cast recorder, that records everything on your computer screen. This is extremely useful for all kinds of training, and obviously computer training.

Imagine if everyone at work (or home) can access any training video on anything, for work or school, that is specifically correct for their learning and immediately accessible from their phones. It would prove to be a powerful tool for rapid on-the-job training, and help to resist the never-ending problem of communication breakdowns.

You can't beat monkey-see/monkey-do for fighting ambiguities and making everything instantly clear. Why 'describe' when you can just 'show'?

Can someone please hurry up and develop this app? I want it.

Thank you.


Note: Creating professional videos?

I can only speak from experience, but I believe that creating professional training videos (by using a slick outside source) is nearly always a bad idea. They look great, but are actually harder to receive and learn from as compared to a conscientiously composed in-house 'amateur' video. Not to mention that slick, professional-looking videos are extremely expensive to make.

I think it's the same dynamic when comparing talking naturally to reading from text. Reading from text is always harder for your audience to receive because it's not natural. In-house training videos, also, are more naturally expressed.


Ideal headsets:

The ideal headset for recording would be a duplicate screen mounted on your head, connected to your cellphone with Bluetooth. This way you can get your cellphone into any position and see exactly what it's recording, with ease. This would make sense for a significant investment in training videos.

1 comment:

  1. Cellphones are brilliant for training videos on practical thing because they are not stuck to your head, so can get to tight spaces easily. Also to say I suggest using an audio headset because they make all the difference for clarity and ease of use.

    -Andrew Atkin