Including videos in eLearning courses is an effective way to make the courses engaging and informative. However, if video files are large, downloading them would be problematic and videos do not run smoothly. This in turn may result in a poor viewing experience for the learners. So, what is the best option to ensure smooth video output?
As discussed in my last blog, there are 3 options for delivering videos using Flash.
- We can import the FLA files into the flash file and play them using timeline
- We can progressively download and playback the video, or
- We can deliver the video using a streaming server.
To know how to embed a video file into a flash file you can refer to my earlier blog.
In this blog, I will talk about streaming video using Adobe Flash Media Server.
What is Flash Media Server?
Flash Media Server is no longer a simple streaming server, but has the ability to stream video files of various formats and is compatible with latest devices such as tablets, mobile devices, desktops and so on. It detects the bandwidth available to the learner with the help of bandwidth detection and delivers the video accordingly. It also streams media in real-time to Flash Player and AIR.
Why stream videos using Flash Media Server?
Streaming video provides many benefits over the other 2 video methods of delivering videos. Let us see what they are:
- Video playback is faster when compared to the other methods. Streaming uses less memory and disk space as learners don’t have to download the entire file.
- As streaming doesn’t need the entire video file to make the video play, parts of the video can be sent to the learner when needed.
- The media delivered doesn’t get saved to the learner’s cache when streamed.
- Streaming ensures improved tracking, logging and reporting of the course.
- It allows you to deliver audio along with video presentations and capture videos using a webcam or a camera.
- This option supports multiple ways and multiple users streaming for assisting video conferencing applications.
- With the help of server-side scripting we can manage the video streaming. We can also develop play lists and ensure better delivery depending on the learner’s internet speed.
To summarize, delivering videos using Flash Media Server provides distinct benefits when videos are included in an eLearning course and hosted on an LMS. It supports multiple video delivery methods via Flash player, AIR, Android and iOS devices. It allows live and on-demand streaming and enables better tracking and logging.
Hope you find this blog informative. How do you use Flash Media Server. Do share your experiences.