The advantages of video embedding over self-hosting
Communicating content via video is a great way of reaching a wider audience and provides an alternative and practical way of learning that benefits employees and customers alike. But why is video embedding the best way of getting this great content to your learners?
Adapt and Totara video options
Currently, in both Adapt and Totara, we offer our customers the options to embed video and self-host it. Embedding a video means that you upload it to a third party service (such as Vimeo), and then copy a link or embed code to your course; the content itself is streamed from the third party service’s servers.
Self-hosting means that the video is uploaded to the course via a built-in file uploader (such as Adapt Builder’s ‘Asset Manager’) and is viewed live from the course.
On Adapt Builder, videos can be included via the Intro/Outro extension, the Media component and the Brightcove component.
The Intro/Outro extension allows course creators to upload a video via Vimeo, Brightcove or via the builder’s Asset Manager. The Media component allows course creators to upload a video via YouTube, Vimeo, or Adapt Builder’s Asset Manager.
On Totara Learn, videos can be uploaded from your network or embedded via an embed code from any hosting service in a block or course page.
No to self-hosting!
In any of the circumstances mentioned above, we would always recommend embedding videos instead of uploading from your own networks. Why?
Longer upload time than a hosting service
A video hosting service such as Vimeo is built specifically for the purpose of hosting video, so it stands to reason that it would be quite good at quickly and efficiently uploading video. The same is not true of Adapt or Totara – although great at what they do, it may take a bit longer to upload video content.
Limits on storage space and file sizes
Depending on your subscription, your chosen video hosting service may have a limit on how much you can upload per week/per year, but realistically, it’ll be more than enough (eg, Vimeo’s free plan allows 500mb per week, whereas YouTube allows videos up to 15 minutes long to be uploaded). Adapt Builder allows video files of 30mb or less to be uploaded, whilst Totara allows up to 250mb.
As expected, video hosting services are prepared for a greater demand on their servers than the servers that host your LMS or e-learning courses. As a result, multiple people watching the same video live from a course may experience playback issues, as opposed to multiple people streaming from a video hosting service that can handle the demand.
An uploaded video may not play on all browsers…
Depending on the video format, some browsers may have difficulty playing certain videos back (especially older videos), leading to the possibility of videos having to be converted prior to uploading – and it may also affect the quality of the playback. Uploading your video to a dedicated hosting service will remove any such problems, as most (if not all) video formats are supported.
Larger course sizes
If you upload multiple videos to a course, this will increase the size of the course, meaning slower loading times between pages and possible network disruption if multiple users are accessing the course.
Yes to embedding!
We’ve laid out the problems that could be encountered if videos are self-hosted, but what are the advantages of using a third party hosting service?
No bandwidth issues
As mentioned in the previous section, uploading your videos to a hosting service would eliminate any possible playback issues relating to bandwidth issues.
Small course sizes
Uploading a video to an external hosting service will reduce the size of a course, meaning pages will load much quicker.
Mobile device friendly
Third party hosting services are already equipped to deal with videos should they be viewed on mobile devices, not to mention the familiarity of viewing a mobile video hosted by Vimeo or YouTube.
Easy to use
Uploading a video via the Asset Manager on Adapt Builder or via a file upload on Totara isn’t exactly difficult, but there should be no fear involved in using any Brightcove, Vimeo, YouTube or any other hosting service – they make the process of uploading and embedding simple.
Vimeo allows the use of custom colours and logos to be displayed on a video.
Easy to add transcripts and subtitles
Whatever video hosting service you choose to use, adding transcripts or subtitles is a quick and easy process – have the file ready and upload in the video settings.
No technical knowledge required
As previously mentioned, sometimes when self-hosting videos a bit of technical knowledge may be required – no such knowledge is required when uploading to a video hosting service.
Using or embedding a link couldn’t be easier. Upload your video to your third-party hosting service, and then copy the unique embed code to your Adapt course or LMS. That’s it in a nutshell.
What we recommend
As mentioned earlier, Adapt Builder supports the use of Brightcove player, Vimeo and YouTube and Totara supports the use of any video hosting service.
Any of the aforementioned hosting services would suit whatever e-learning needs you have, each with its own advantages.
is the most business-oriented of the three services recommended, and as such provides a wide variety of tools to help businesses with marketing, social media, training, etc.
Depending on the nature of your business, these additional features could be excellent or not very useful. Brightcove doesn’t come free (it’s the most expensive of the three we’re highlighting, but that’s not to say it wouldn’t be useful for your business).
find out more https://www.brightcove.com/en/why-brightcove
YouTube really needs no introduction. Although the most popular video hosting service on the web, it may not be suitable for all of your e-learning needs (although great for social media and marketing). The biggest pro is that it’s free – which is great, but it is fairly limited in its output options and any video embedded from YouTube will attach on some recommended watching at the end, potentially leading your learners down a rabbit hole of content that may not be related to the original content they were looking at. Another big pro is its upload limit – YouTube’s free plan allows videos of up to 15 minutes to be uploaded.
Vimeo, albeit quite similar to YouTube is more geared towards professional video hosting. Vimeo does have a free option, but its paid subscription plans offer greater customisation, superior privacy controls and greater upload limits. The cheapest plan is £6 per month and represents great value, with some useful tools. Compare plans by clicking the link below. https://vimeo.com/upgrade
Note: by default, some businesses may block services such as Vimeo or YouTube to control web usage and of course, prevent any possible time lost to watching the ‘Baby Shark’ song.
But these services can be whitelisted by your technical team, so make sure to discuss the issue with them before deciding on what service to use.
In summary, Brightcove player is best if you want a video hosting service that also offers a lot of other features besides hosting, YouTube is ideal if you’re on a fairly strict budget, but in our view Vimeo ticks most of the boxes needed for embedding e-learning videos, and is available on a flexible budget.
Matthew McAleer, Academy Manager, Learning Pool
Matthew leads our online resource, Learning Pool Academy, giving our team and customers a fantastic and easy way to access engaging and comprehensive training on our product set.
A tech enthusiast and a qualified teacher, Matthew guides the programme of highly interactive resources that support the route to product expertise.
Passionate about providing people with the best learning experience possible, Matthew is responsible for continually evolving our training programme and direction, making sure the material we create helps clients get the very most out of the service we provide.