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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Video Ratings

I received a question today and thought I'd ask blog readers if they can help with answers. The question comes from a blog reader who captures a lot of different videos within their organization. They have "over a couple of thousand of video and audio clips that new hires and tenured employees are currently using for on-boarding and training."

What they want to do is to help employees better access the video content. They've seen viddler which allows people to tag specific sections within the video. They are interested in that capability, but also in rating the videos, and especially rating portions of the videos.

That makes me wonder ...

To me it seems that having video rating and/or video tagging for the video as a whole would make sense, but I'm not convinced that it makes sense for portions of the video. Do you think it makes sense to rate / tag specific sections of video? Will it distract learners?

What tools or solutions would you recommend they consider as part of their solution?

Any other thoughts on video ratings or video tagging?

6 comments:

technogenii said...

Depending on the size of the videos, yes. Either that, or chunk them up.

To quote Jay Cross "life’s too short for linear video"(ref: http://informl.com/2008/06/30/informal-learning-web-20-the-mash-up/)

Wendy said...

I'm going to agree with technogenii. The fact that they are even asking about tagging sections of a video tells me that the videos need to be chunked better.

Steve Flowers said...

Imagine being able to search and having one of those search returns be a tag within a video that takes you right to that context within a longer sequence.

The beauty of tagging is that a longer sequence can now be accessed in smaller pieces, artificial chunking that doesn't break something up into a stilted or disconnected pile of stuff.

So a tagged section in essence IS chunking the videos. But in the case of Vimeo it's user chunked.

The beauty of a stream is that you aren't downloading the ENTIRE video to see a small piece that is contained within. If a tag is indicated (or discovered through search) it is entirely possible to view just a section of that video. And if you are interested, easily access the sections that surround it.

Tagging also makes possible a true mash-up. If I am easily able to tag a section of a video, reference it externally and pull that stream through some type of API on call / on cue -- wow.

I'm thinking we need to get out of the mindset of cubby-holing everything in neatly organized boxes. Once we get it stored in this manner, it's notoriously hard to re-employ in any way other than prescribed by the method of organization.

Discovery is bliss. The whole idea of Trend2.0 is some semblence of system self organization and a whole lot of self service.

steve flowers said...

On to the original question... Would a visible rating system distract learners?

Some, yes. Others would use the observations of other folks to glean focus. Another consideration is the type of learning. For example, if you were running a leadership course or human interactions soft skills course, there's a lot to be learned by the observations and comments of other students.

I think it's possible to appease both by folding away the depth.

For example - I'm a learner. I come to a video presentation. Instead of immediately displaying the tag markers on the timeline, show an indicator onscreen in a subtle way to tell the user that other users have tagged the video. A tagging or sectioning can also be a helpful learning mechanism.

For example, I see a video onscreen with some simple controls / indicators (play/pause, scrub bar). Underneith the player I see 'You can play through the entire 10 minute video or use the tag selector to quickly navigate to sections we've selected for you'.

The section selector appears when I select the control, at the top is a list of selections (similar to the way a DVD is broken into scenes) and below that a list of user tagged sections.

This gives ME the choice to play through, scrub through, jump to, or explore the comments of others. If I don't care to be bothered with any of that, I don't bring up the tag selector.

Paul said...

I think rating for sections of a video is good, and would help the IDs to better understand what they are doing right versus what is not working or is problematic. I see the rating of sections as no big deal. You can like part of a movie without having to like the whole thing. Further, if you just rate the entire thing and it gathers a low rating over time, then people are far less apt to view it. Now granted, this would not necessarily be a bad thing, but I think it's possible to do some things right even if other things may be wrong.

Tagging is great because the user can more readily find only what they need. Just in my own use of sites like YouTube, I advance through videos often to locate the piece I'm interested in.

shealy said...

To add to what technogenii and Steve Flowers said about the benefits of "chunked" video, especially with respect to searching... Clearly, few viewers are going to watch 10 minutes of video to see 30 second of relevant material. There has to be better, more surgical ways, of accessing discrete sections of video quickly. I've spend quite a bit of time developing solutions around this problem. There are many ways to approach the actual chunking of a video sequence into semantic segments, but I've found that MPEG-7 is an effective way to tag the segments with metadata so that they can be searched and retrieved.

MPEG-7 is a multimedia description standard. The MPEG-7 files themselves are nothing more than XML. These XML files can be loaded into a native XML database such as eXist (open source) and, walla, the search criteria is located and a reference to the segment opens the segment for viewing.

You can read more about this process and MPEG-7 in an article on The Content Wrangler entitled The Rise of Topic-Based Video in Task-Based Documentation: Is It Time For DITA and Video?(http://www.thecontentwrangler.com/article/the_rise_of_topic_based_video_in_task_based_documentation/).