eLearning best practices: Share on Office 365 Video

Creating training videos is only half the fun. After you create them, you have to share them. If you are lucky enough to work at a company that has an eLearning software platform in place, that is great news, and I recommend you use that. If you don’t and your business happens to have Office 365, then you can make use of Office 365 Video.

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What is Office 365 Video?

When most people think Microsoft Office, they think Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Office 365 is much more than that. You can use Office 365 to host your company email, run SharePoint, collaborate on teams, and much more. A lesser-known product available in many Office 365 plans is Office 365 Video (from here on in, I will call it Video with a capital V.)

The Video service is similar to YouTube. You create channels that contain lists of videos. Think of each channel as a folder you can use to store videos that cover a particular topic.

If you are used to sharing your training in shared network folders, a SharePoint site, or just uploading them to an FTP area, you know that the student will essentially be downloading each file to their device first, and then playing it locally on their computer.

With Office 365 Video, you just upload your training, and the videos will stream to any device, from a computer to a tablet, and even a phone.

Prepare for upload

Before you can upload your training, you need to convert the files to MP4 format. You can select other formats, but I recommend MP4 since it is a very popular format. Your training software will usually have a shareexport, or produce menu item that will let you select the MP4 format. Make sure you output the files in the same resolution you recorded them for the best quality video.

Performing the upload

When you visit the Video site, you will create a channel for your training. Don’t call the channel something like Training because then there is an expectation all training will appear there. Be specific with the channel name, calling it something (that hopefully) no one else will use, like Microsoft PowerPoint Training for Beginners.

Once you create the channel, Video presents you with an interface to upload all your MP4 files. Just select them and begin the upload process. Since MP4 videos can be quite large, I recommend you only upload two-six at a time. This way if something goes wrong, you are not waiting hours to learn about it.

After you upload the files, you can give each one a title and description. Since the user interface is very similar to YouTube, be sure not to use long titles. Long titles may be cut off and difficult to read. For example:

  • Poor title: How to create a new slide in PowerPoint
  • Good title: Create a new slide

Even after you upload the files, they may not be readily accessible. Not only does Video need to upload the files, but it also needs to process and prepare them for streaming. That processing time could be minutes or hours.

Additional steps

Once the videos are available, you can take some other steps, such as:

  • Modify the permissions for the channel.
  • Use the channel settings to define Spotlight videos.
  • Enable (or disable) Yammer conversations for the channel.
  • If needed, modify the title and description for individual videos.
  • Select the preview image that users will see before watching the video.
  • Add people related to each video.

Sharing your videos

Once you have completed all the activities I list in this article, you can share the channel, but (there’s always a but, isn’t there?) you should be aware the training will not always be in order. The reason for this is Video displays your files based on relevance, not a sort order. If you want people to watch the training in a specific order, I suggest you create a SharePoint site to list the videos and link to them.

There is rarely a reason you would not share the Channel because some people might want to take a quick refresher course on a particular topic, so there is no harm in going to Video and searching for it. For this reason, I suggest you share the Channel and also create a Spotlight video that shows at the top of the page informing the student how to access the list of courses sorted in order.

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