Category Archives: E-learning

Read more about designing a great E-learning course while using VdoCipher for secure video hosting.

Using Tin Can API in video: Complete Documentation

Tin Can API is a specification for learning technologies that enables Learning Management Systems to collect data from various learning activities that a student may undertake. Tin Can API has succeeded SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) as the new standard for learner analytics.

tin can api in video

Requirements for Tin Can API

In Tin Can API any learner activity on the web may be integrated and logged to the LMS. This includes activities such as reading a blog and watching a video online. For Tin Can API to succeed, all learning activities that a learner performs should be able to transmit learning data to the LMS.

Statements in the Tin Can API are rendered in the form Noun Verb Activity. For example if Learner A has completed watching a video on “Machine Learning: Supervised Learning Part 1”, the corresponding Tin Can API statement would be:

  • Learner A completed Machine Learning: Supervised Learning Part 1

Tin Can API with videos

The motive of Tin Can API is to have maximum feedback for user experience and act on to improve the key metrics. As in case with video, fetching in side video data becomes quite tricky owing to the variety and scale of actions performed by viewers on a video.

VdoCipher as a part of its secure video hosting service,  currently provides viewer data points on all the relevant analytics requirement for Tin Can API

Below are some of the prominent actions of viewers on video (start, pause, end, seek, progress, repeat, load, buffer, view) which are a part of Tin Can API and VdoCipher provides direct JavaScript codes for them.

It is interesting to note that there is always a debate amongst content creators and marketers on what should be taken as a view for the video ? Should just clicking on the play button be considered sufficient to be counted as a view ? Some times it is decided to take say 10 seconds of playback or 2 mins of playback as a view. With the information collected by VdoCipher’s start and progress event trackers you can easily collect viewer information for your particular definition of a video view.

Start, End, Pause, Mute, Unmute events on video player

Please check this javascript code to capture the play and pause events from the embedded video player:
<script>		
function onVdoCipherAPIReady(){
    console.log("VdoCipher API init");
    var videoObjects = vdo.getObjects();
    var video_ = videoObjects[videoObjects - 1];
    video_.addEventListener("resume", function(){
        console.log("ready event called" , video_.time);
    });
    video_.addEventListener("pause", function(data){
        // document.getElementById('totalPlayed').value = video_.totalPlayed;
    });
    }
</script>
You can similarly listen for “start”, “end” and “mute”, “unmute”.

Time Calculation per video playback

<div id="vdo<?= $OTP ?>" style="height: 300px; width: 520px;"></div>
<input type="text" id="totalPlayed" value="" />

/// this is the embed code

<script>
    (function(v,i,d,e,o){v[o]={}; v[o].a = v[o].a || function V(a){ (v[o].d=v[o].d||[]).push(a);};
    if(!v[o].l) { v[o].l=1*new Date(); a=i.createElement(d), m=i.getElementsByTagName(d)[0];
    a.async=1; a.src=e; m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m);}
    })(window,document,'script','//de122v0opjemw.cloudfront.net/vdo.js','vdo');
    vdo.a({
        o: "<?= $OTP ?>",
    });
</script>

/// this is the script

<script>		
function onVdoCipherAPIReady(){
    console.log("VdoCipher API init");
    var videoObjects = vdo.getObjects();
    var video_ = videoObjects[0];
    video_.addEventListener("ready", function(data){
        console.log("ready event called" , data);
    });
    video_.addEventListener("progress", function(data){
        document.getElementById('totalPlayed').value = data.totalPlayed;
    });
    }
</script>
 
Note: The function wrapper with onVdoCipherAPIReady is needed only when it is part of the document load. If this script is to be run after document load, you can run it directly.
Let us know for any custom tracking functionality you require. Most of them are possible with a combination of the above scripts.

Complete Guide to Creating Your Online Video Course

You feel you have a unique understanding of a subject domain. You also feel that you can effectively communicate your expert knowledge through an online video course. But, however, you do not quite know how and where to get started.

Here at VdoCipher we assist E-learning video providers to securely host their online video course. We bring for you a step-by-step guideline on how to conceptualize and produce your E-learning course.

Pre-Production

Production

Pre-Production in Online Video Course

The steps in the pre-production process are:

  • Identifying the course goal
  • Gathering content – At this stage of storyboarding, you consult Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to create basic content
  • Defining objectives – This step involves creating a course outline, specifically to decide how you are going to present the content towards achieving the course goal.
  • Creating assessment criteria – How does the course align with the different targets that an e-learning course must satisfy. Learner assessment criteria include knowledge retention, attitude towards newer material in the discipline, and problem-solving skills. Understanding the importance of each of these three targets is critical to design of your online video course. For example if the course objective is to enhance workplace collaboration, the assessment criteria should be target based.
  • Using Storyboard template – At this stage organize your content into chunks using a storyboarding template
  • Picking design model – Choose which elearning theory to prioritize. Some of the widely prevalent design models currently in use are: ADDIE, Knirk and Gustafson, SAM, Action Mapping Process, Gagne’s 9 Principles
  • Choosing design elements – Images, videos, interactions, quizzes
  • Selecting an authoring tool – Articulate Storyline, Lectora, Adobe Captivate, Moodle, Claro, Udutu

1. Online Video Course Outline

It is very important to first develop a course outline before beginning production on your online video course. The course outline is very important in bringing all stakeholders involved in the course production on the same level. This ensures that all the scripting and production efforts go smoothly subsequently. The course outline may get updated multiple times, as more feedback is received from people involved in your course. The process of storyboarding involves considerable time and effort, and sketching an outline is necessary to ensure that this process goes smoothly.

Course Outline for Online Video Course

Communicate your Course Outline to your colleagues to ensure agreement in course outline

2. Storyboarding

Storyboarding is the process of graphically organizing your video content for the purpose of pre-visualizing the e-learning video. Storyboarding is a great way to organize ideas, and to ensure that the visual and audio forms you use will be effective in communicating your course in a logical manner.

The term storyboard comes from movie production, and the process was most prominently used by Walt Disney in the 1930s. It is a great way for you to organize your ideas, and to make sure that your ideas are communicated to your audience in a logical manner. For this reason having a carefully designed is crucial to making a quality online course video.

Storyboarding for Online Video Course

Use storyboarding to sketch your online video course.

Storyboarding is distinct from a script in that it is a graphic sketch of the course progression. During the storyboarding stage you decide the visuals for your online course video, and accordingly write your final script to correspond to the visual sequence designed. Storyboarding is essential for scriptwriting in that it decides the visual sequence that the script has to be in sync with.

Using storyboarding, as a course designer you can evaluate multiple scenarios for creating your online course video. Through this means they can understand better at what points during their content creation they should be adding interactive features for a more active response from learners. Storyboarding is the first step in creating a simulation of your course, so that everybody in the development team can come together on board. You can sequence instructions, and document changes conveniently using this method.

One tip when you start your course creation with storyboarding is that you should show the most engaging part of your video course first to the learner. This is useful in hooking their attention. This may be an illustration of the course objective, or could as well be interesting applications of the course. Showing the learners highly relevant and interesting content at the outset is a great way to ensure active learning on the part of learners.

3. Authoring Tools

Online Authoring Tools enable you to integrate different media to bring together content for training and education. A good authoring tool would give you a means for creating your online video course, ensuring that you succeed in making engaging and interactive e-learning content. Authoring tools provide a comprehensive solution for the different stages of online video course creation. These stages of course creation include storyboarding, making video block diagrams, and in editing of video content. Authoring tools also offer a variety of templates to follow in the course creation, using which you can better organize your multimedia content.

Use Authoring Tools such as Articulate Storyline for your Online Video Course. Opt for VdoCipher secure video hosting.

Articulate Storyline is a popular authoring tool for online video courses

A major utility of authoring tools is that they enable custom design of the online video course. Creation of increasingly complex training solutions is facilitated by authoring tools such as Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate and Elucidat. Rapid E-Learning is the process of high-speed deployment of training content in response to fast-evolving training requirements. Courses produced in the Rapid E-Learning paradigm are relevant for a short period of time, and speed of course creation is therefore very important. For this particular requirement of rapid course deployment a good E-learning tool is very important.

Production in Online Video Course

1. Lighting

Lighting is the most critical element of the E-learning course creation process. Three-point lighting is the most commonly used method for shooting of E-learning videos. This lighting system comprises of a bright light on one side, and another more gentle light on the other side, with less brightness. This creates a more three-dimensional effect. The third light shining on the backdrop helps make you stand out from the backdrop, and to eliminate shadow.

Use Three-point lighting effectively for uniform illumination

Key Light – This is the main light, placed to the side of the camera. This light is usually the strongest and influences the look of the stage the most. One side is more well lit whereas the second side has some shadow.

Fill Light – Secondary light, placed on the opposite side of the key light. Used to fill shadows created by the key light. This light is necessarily softer and more distant than the fill light. A reflector can be also be used in place of fill light to achieve the same softer, subtle effect.

Back Light – This light is placed behind the subject, and lights the subject from the rear. Its purpose it to provide definition and highlight the subject’s outlines. This provides depth to the video, separating the subject from the background, and providing a three-dimensional look.

In a four-point lighting system, a fourth light is used to lit up the background. This eliminates any shadows from the background, and also adds depth to the video. The three-dimensional effect more significantly separates the subject from the background.

2. White Balance

Achieve right white balance

Credit: Klara Plicanic, Peachpit.com

Every different light setting indoors or outdoors has an associated light temperature. Achieving white balance is the process of identifying the appropriate light temperature at which to do the filming in a particular location. This is useful in designing of lighting systems for shooting indoors, when you are using different indoor locations for your course video. Essentially it is the process of removing color casts, so that an object that appears white in person appears white in camera. Digital Cameras in indoor lighting can create blue, orange or green color casts, giving a white colored object these shades. White Balancing ensures that in the process of post-production they are appropriately edited out. A slate with color chart can be very useful in this.

3. Video Block Diagram

This is the process of making block diagrams of your video shooting space. Shot Designer is a a very good software used for drawing video blocks.

Video Block Diagram, using Shot Designer

Credit: Shot Designer

Blocking is a concept derived from theatre, and is used to figure out the positioning of actors and props on the stage, so that the performance is never obstructed. Block diagrams enable video producers to map potential obstructions on set, camera and actor movement, and lighting, to ensure that placement of all elements on the production stage is optimal.

4. Slate and Clapboard

Video slates are used during the production process to help in editing video shots being taken. During production, scenes are shot incoherently. The production slate is used to help make sense of all the shooting using a visual cue. The production slate includes details for:

  • Roll Number (or SD Card Number)
  • Scene Name
  • Scene Take number
  • Production Working Title
  • Director
  • Camera
  • Camera Number (for multi-camera production)
  • FPS (Frames Per Second)
  • Date of shooting
Use Production Slate for your Online Video Course

Production slate, with a clapboard on top

Because these details are immediately visible when the slate is placed before the video film, any shot can be uniquely identified, even when fast forwarding the video. Essentially when the video is ready for editing, editors can conveniently refer to the information recorded on the slate for easy sorting. In the absence of a production slate you may use other visual cues to identify a successful take, for example covering the camera with your hand at the end of a successful take.

The production slate and the clapboard are often combined. The clapboard is used primarily to sync the audio and video. This is particularly useful in the case wherein the audio mic does not feed directly to the camera, and the two streams are out of sync. During the stage of video editing, there is a large spike in audio at the point when the clapboard is shut, which can be matched to the same point in the video where the clapboard can be seen to be shut. Matching the two becomes very easy once the two time points in audio and video recording are matched. Even when the audio mic feeds directly to the camera, editing using clapboard can be used to eliminate any lag in either audio or video.

Another addition to the production slates is a set of colored stripes. This is used for color grading. Using this it can be ensured that the video is color-correct, so that white, black and all other colors come out in the same color in the video as on the slate.

5. Microphones

A lapel mic placed on the inside of the shirt can be used for recording audio. For higher quality, boom mics may be used. This mic is placed on a boom pole, which can be wired to the camera. This microphone is mostly placed over the speaker, but mostly out of frame of the shot. The microphone may be above or below the frame, but should always be placed in front of the speaker.

Boom mic for audio in online video course

Credit: George Black, https://goo.gl/gUk3Tw

Headphones should be connected to the microphone as well, so that the audio recorded can be monitored live, as the recording actually takes place. This is necessary for ensuring that no ambient noises sneak into the audio. Finding noises in the recording during the stage of editing and post-production is a very nasty surprise, as background noises considerably decrease the overall video quality.

You can also opt for audio recording in a studio for sections of video over a screencast, or in cases of long monologues that do not require a visual performance from the presenter. There is a shift in sound quality between stage audio and studio-recorded sound, but this is not a major problem, as the gains in audio quality during audio-important sections offsets the discontinuity. Better voiceover quality in certain sections will definitely improve the overall quality of your video course.

Headset vs mounted mics – Headset are better when the speaker is moving within the recording. Otherwise mounted mics offer much better quality.

6. Background Audio

It is recommended that light background music is played. This is because only using voiceover narration becomes monotonic after a while, leading to audio fatigue in learners. To modulate the background music so that it does not interfere with the narration you may opt for the following techniques:

Ducking is a technique offered by video editing software Camtasia. This is the process of lowering volume of background track when narration is happening, and raising the volume it when there is no narration.

Use Camtasia for audio editing

Notching is a technique offered by the (free) audio editor Audacity. The frequencies in the background music may overlap with the those of the narrator’s voice. It is important to remove the frequencies from background music that match the majority frequencies in the voice of the narrator. This means that when narrating those frequencies are used exclusively by the narrator, and the brain does not confuse the two. Background music is mainly used to avoid audio fatigue.

7. Using Screencasting

Screencasting is the process of recording a video of your desktop or mobile screen. The recorded video can be edited for using in your online video course. Screencasting is very useful in e-Learning courses that explain use of software tools and coding. Custom screencasting softwares such as Screenflow and Camtasia let you add voiceovers, text and animations. This makes screencasting a very powerful tool in your online video course. Screencasts are combined with subject narrating to offer variety within the video. This makes the video more engaging, and prevents it from becoming monotonous. Articulate Replay works well for integrating webcam video with the screen recording.

There are more basic screencasting tools available for free. Some recommended screencasting tools are Ezvid, Screenr and Rylstim Screen Recorder.

8. Using Whiteboard

Whiteboard presentations are a great way to communicate complex concepts. A whiteboard allows an easy overview of your course content, using which you can then unpack specific elements of the online course. Whiteboards are a great way to walk the audience through complicated steps, as during the process the narrator is providing active commentary on how the problem is solved.

 

Use Whiteboard for effective communication

This is a very easy to use tool, and features both the presenter and the whiteboard. With this additional element in your e-learning video, you also need to manage lighting for the whiteboard so that it is not obstructed by shadows and is uniformly lighted.

For this purpose, a four-point lighting system should be used. This comprises of a key and fill light in front of the presenter, either side of the camera. These 2 lights should be at a height above the presenter, and at the same distance as the camera.

The remaining two lights are to be covered by flatboards to eliminate glare, and should therefore provide uniform illumination of the whiteboard. These 2 fill lights will essentially eliminate shadows and continue the focus on the whiteboard.

9. Whiteboard animation

Whiteboard animations are videos that use the concept of the whiteboard to show the learner a series of concepts, using hand-drawn figures. Whiteboard animation essentially eliminates the physical whiteboard, to be replaced by a digital whiteboard, used by a software such VideoScribe and Adobe AfterEffects. A whiteboard animation video can be made for the duration of 30 seconds to 5 minutes, and is very useful in presenting an information-heavy message effectively.

Use Adobe After Effects for video editing, and use VdoCipher for secure video hosting

Make Your Online Video Course More Engaging with these tips

Making your online video course engaging to students is a very important part of creating quality E-Learning courses. Engaging site design ensures that students are motivated to continue your online course, and ensures better results in terms of course completion and knowledge retention.

We have learnt considerably about E-Learning design through working with online video course creators. Here we bring our insights on how to make your online course more engaging.
This is combined with insights collected from leading E-Learning experts – Christopher Pappas (of elearningindustry.com), Tom Kuhlmann (Chief Learning Architect at Articulate LMS) and Connie Malamed (the eLearning Coach).

E-Learning Design Checklist for Your Online Video Course

checklist for online video course

A checklist for you to consider when designing any activity to make your online course more engaging would be:

  • Activity should be relevant to the online course content
  • Activity should be directly linked to the course objectives and outcomes
  • Encourages students’ active involvement
  • Increases student retention of key concepts
  • Activity should be fun and rewarding

Ideas to keep in mind for E-Learning design

1. Gamify your Online Course

Gamification for online video course

Gamification is the process of using elements from game design to help create an immersive environment for your online video course. This comprises of creating a social element to the game, in which users are given a sense of competition. Rewarding points, leaderboards, badges, and user progress levels are elements that can be used to create an environment in which students can immediately sense their progress in the course. Essentially gamification leverages people’s desire for socializing, competition, achievement and status for achieving greater engagement.

2. Create Learner Personas for Online Course

During the stage of online course design it is highly recommended that you create a learner persona, which would serve as an effective prototype of your learners.Having this well-defined learner persona would help the educator design the course keeping in mind the requirements of the target audience, helping ensure sustained learner engagement. This learner persona would share attributes with your learners, which would include training goals, education background, and skill level.

Create Learner Persona for your online video course

To create an effective learner persona, we suggest that you interview a sample of your target audience. This is to ensure that the learner persona you create for your online video course accurately maps to the real audience. Interviews and conversations would help you develop actionable insights into understanding your learners.

3. Simplify Complex Concepts

Simplifying your online course video to communicate complex concepts effectively is very important to sustain learner engagement. Online video courses offer a great solution through chunking content – that is creating short (say 2-3 minute long) videos, explaining a particular element to the concept. Shorter videos ensure higher knowledge retention, and do not demand much attention span from students. Processing and communicating knowledge piece-wise is an effective method increasingly being used by instructors and designers.

4. Use Quizzes Optimally

It is generally advised that a syllabus quiz is incorporated at the outset of the course. Having a syllabus quiz immediately after the introduction to the course ensures that the learners are aware of the course contents and the desired outcomes of the course, and have successfully create a mental scheme about how the course will progress. An ability to map the course structure helps in reinforcing the eventual desired outcome of the course.

5. Engage Students Directly Through Discussion Boards and Feedbacks

discussion board for online course

The level of activity in discussion boards is a good metric for how much students are engaged in the course. A vibrant discussion board ensures that your students find the course interesting and are willing to share ideas and knowledge on related subjects. Student collaboration can be further encouraged by designing group projects. Group projects encourage teamwork, and need to be actively supervised to ensure its success in increasing student engagement.

Creating an online video course requires a great one-time effort in terms of creation of online course content and website. However there is the possibility that this content may become dated over time. You can create a blog to post additional new information on course topics. Blogs complement the online video course by providing relevant current information, and are more authoritative than discussion boards. Blogs can also be used as a forum for discussion, and for engaging students using an expert-learner method.

6. Use Characters for Online Video Course

From the perspective of instruction design, characters may be used to guide the learners through the course. With the objective of guiding learners, the three personas that a character can take are:

  1. Course Guide – Such a character would offer guidance and support for the learner throughout their progress in their course. The character can introduce them to the next activity, as well as remind them of their course progress.
  2. Peer – This is an E-Learning character that would be on the same level as the learner in the course, and is perceived by the learner as training alongside them. The peer is designed to be similar to the learner persona created by the E-Learning team, and would be used to create a sense of competition and socialization.
  3. Expert – This character would embody an expert in the field, serving as an authority figure. This character would offer tips throughout the course, and assist in the learner finding additional knowledge when they would like to go into the topic in more depth.

 7. Storytelling approach for engaging learners

Storytelling for online course

Characters can also be used in storytelling as the primary drivers of the narrative. You can make learner engagement in your course more effective by incorporating a character who would storify the content to be learnt. Well developed E-Learning characters help give your learners a way to emotionally engage with your content. This emotional engagement ensures that your learners remain absorbed in the course, and t
heir engagement is more meaningful, ensuring knowledge retention and better achievement of the objectives.

8. Encourage your learners to pick an Avatar

This would help in creating a more game-like E-Learning experience. Having the users represented by an avatar helps build a direct connection with the course environment, and helps build a personal connection for the learners with the environment.

9. Measuring Course Objectives through Commensurate Evaluation

In the use of E-Learning for workplace training, the objectives of the course are closely-tied to performance in the workplace. For this reason, designing corporate training solutions requires an understanding of the workplace, so that learners from your online video course are able to transfer their learning to the workplace scenario. Interview sessions with the target audience is again highly recommended.

In a corporate training environment an E-Learning course is used to augment a goal defined by the management. For the E-Learning course to be able to achieve the desired objective, it is important to define the desired results from the course in relation to the management’s objective. For example, if the objective of the course is to enhance workplace collaboration between colleagues, the parameter to gauge success should not just be performance in the course itself – a more accurate parameter would be a measurement of scale of collaboration between colleagues. Directly mapping the results of the course to the course objective is essential to maintain a result-oriented training paradigm.

Top 10 WordPress Plugins For eLearning

Starting out with creating your WordPress online course, but confused about which plugins for eLearning to choose from?

Not sure which functionalities are necessary and which functionalities are optional?

In this blogpost I walk you through the most important WordPress plugins for eLearning course developers to choose from.

First I proceed with how you should evaluate your requirements in designing the course.

Learning Management System (LMS) plugins for eLearning

The most significant features that an LMS must have is for you to be able to:

  • Give learner flexibility to pace their course as per their wish – self-paced course
  • What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get Interface, to put minimum effort into using the interface
  • Making complete course catalog, so that all the course information is collected at one location
  • Automated User Enrollment and Status of course progress – completion status
  • Course Reports for course creator to review how a course is progressing
  • Learner feedback – Course Surveys and System Announcements – These are essential for the instructor to continually improve the learning experience
  • Learner’s access to course transcript and course progress – Learners should have knowledge about their course progress as well
  • Learner access to changing profile

Apart from these there are a number of other features that you may wish for, which would include

  • Creating multiple course levels – so that there may be content-lite and content-heavy memberships
  • Creating certificates of completion for learners that complete their course – certificates are a strong motivation for learners, as they provide tangible proof of the skills learnt
  • Automating user access control – Restricting access to content and granting access to content depending on user level
  • Generating course and user reports for course administrator
  • Creating dripped content for controlling user progress in course – To control rate at which learner accesses the course, create dripped content tool

WooCommerce Sensei

Sensei Plugin for eLearning

Sensei comes from the stable of WooCommerce, who are experts in developing eCommerce WordPress Plugins. Sensei is priced at $129 for a single-site license. This WordPress plugin for eLearning is a simple and effective interface for making courses, as the course, module, lesson and quiz sections can all be created with a lot of ease. The interface is essentially What-You-See-is-What-You-Get. Because of its compatibility with all WooCommerce plugins, and because of an interface that gets most things done easily and quickly, Sensei is our top-rated Learning Management Solution plugin.

LearnDash

Learndash plugin for eLearning

Learndash specializes in E-Learning solutions, meaning that they have developed their LMS WordPress plugin for eLearning keeping in mind any features that an education LMS must require.

SCORM is a collection of standards for eLearning, which state how the LMS must package user learning content. SCORM standards ensure portability of learner information across different LMS. Tin Can API has now replaced SCORM as the new standard for educational content designed in a portable way. Learndash supports Tin Can API plugin.

Learndash have tried to make a complete marketing and product solution- they have their own membership solution, and have an integrated payment processing setup. The flip side of being an all-in-one solution is that this do not allow much scope for customization. On the other hand they have an active community support forum.

Essentially Learndash is optimal for developing detailed and academic-level eLearning solutions, where little customization is required.

WP CourseWare

WP Courseware plugin for eLearning

WP Courseware is a lightweight wordpress plugin for E-Learning, whose strong point is that it integrates fairly easily with other WP Plugins. Likewise with this WordPress plugin you get a large varieties of customization options. An important plugin that WP CourseWare can integrate with is Membership Pro, which is the most popular membership wordpress plugin.

LearnPress

LearnPress plugin for eLearning

LearnPress is offered as a free plugin, and includes both free features and premium add-ons.

Premium add-ons apply for:

  • Gamifying the course – adding points for learner activity
  • Generating certificate
  • For Integration with WooCommerce, PayPal and Stripe
  • Integrating with Membership 2 Pro

LifterLMS

LifterLMS plugin for eLearning

LifterLMS is another lightweight E-Learning solution, that is very easy to use. Key features include:

  • Integration with WooCommerce and BuddyPress support
  • Support for certificates
  • Supports both Stripe and PayPal
  • Supports course scheduling and prerequisites

Membership WordPress Plugins

Membership 2

Membership 2 WordPress Plugin

Membership 2 is the most widely used membership WordPress plugin. This is a free software, but has a paid pro version that offers added features.

Membership 2 is designed for ease-of-use for the beginner. It has a how-to guide to get you started with creating the course. Also Content access control and protection is made very easy with this plugin – for each lesson/ course you create you can select which membership levels to grant access to. Also Dripped content management is made very easy, and can be done on the same interface as the content protection. This makes managing your course much less complicated.

The pro version of Membership 2 integrates with both PayPal and Stripe payment solutions

WP eMember

WP eMember WordPress Plugin

Where Membership Pro relies on an easy-to-use interface and a free introductory membership plugin, WP eMember offers a robust membership WordPress plugin that offers both content protection and a large number of additional features, making this a great option for anyone looking for a complete WordPress membership plugin.

Using this wordpress plugin, it is easy to create multiple membership levels, and to grant differential access for different membership levels. Also in-page partial protection is available via easy to use shortcodes. Additional options include options to limit user access to minimize password sharing – effectively minimizing content piracy. Also there is support for Drip Content, which limits access to users based on their drip learning schedule.

eCommerce WordPress Plugins

eCommerce plugins can come quite handy for you in managing your course inventory, if you are selling multiple courses. An eCommerce plugin is not necessary for the new E-Learning developer, but if you wish to manage multiple courses, an integrated eCommerce plugin can come in quite handy for managing inventory.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce WordPress Plugin

WooCommerce wordpress plugin offers hundreds of extensions and themes, that make it quite easy to  available for WooCommerce, which makes it easy to add new features to your eLearning site. If you have worked on WordPress previously and are comfortable with the technical details of using WordPress, this WordPress Plugin is the best eCommerce solution for you.

Shopify

Shopify wordpress plugin

Shopify has a very easy interface, and is great for beginners who do not wish to go into technical details of using WP. It has a monthly subscription fees, but is worthwhile to use because of its hassle-free interface which allows you to get on with developing your course content without worrying about the technicalities. This WordPress plugin works with social networks such as Facebook Store, Buyable Pins and Twitter Buy buttons

WordPress Plugins for Videos

VdoCipher

Content security and smooth streaming are two integral features that any WordPress plugin for eLearning must offer. VdoCipher offers an easy to use shortcode, and is a complete video hosting solution. In VdoCipher one-time access is only granted to a fully encrypted stream after backend authentication from the host website, meaning that video security is maximized. VdoCipher has a 10 min install ready to go live plugin for all elearning video wordpress sites.

Custom Video Player

Package Video Streaming Solution

WP eMember as WordPress Membership Plugin: User Management Tutorial

In this post we will describe in detail one of the most popular WordPress membership plugins – WP eMember. Membership plugins are extremely useful in that each membership corresponds to an assigned role, that determines access to content and other features that you may offer as part of your eLearning course. Using this WordPress membership plugin would help you in deciding what content to provide to which category of learner. Control of access to content eventually determines that you are able to monetize the content that users access. Per user restriction on login time & preventing unauthorized access so that one paid member has maximum restrictions from sharing the credential is also discussed.  We have given the links to external plugins at end.

Specific case of protection for video membership site is also written in brief at end. Overall aim of the article is to ensure that maximum revenues from your content reaches you while you are able to continuously grow your subscriber base. 

WP eMember, WordPress membership plugin

WordPress user access management

Wordpress Membership plugin is one of the most popular free membership plugins. This is the wizard page in the plugin, and guides you about how to use your site.

WordPress Membership plugin is one of the most popular free membership plugins. This is the wizard page in the plugin, and guides you about how to set up your eLearning site.

WP eMember

WordPress eMember is a plugin that helps you manage memberships to your content. eMember offers various customizations – including integration with WordPress so that any account created for eMember would automatically make a corresponding WordPress account. You may make multiple membership levels depending on the level of access decided for the user. For example for a basic trial access to the site you may give users free access to a certain amount of content, or for a limited period of time. For this a free membership may be created. 

WP eMember plugin - a WordPress Membership Plugin

Selective content protection and access

To protect content you can use two methods

  • Enabling custom protection and access through dashboard
  • Using shortcodes
Custom Protection
  • To enable general protection, go to the “WP eMember” button on the WordPress sidebar, and in the drop down menu go to “Membership Level” button.
  • From here go to the “Manage Content Protection” tab. Click on “Custom Posts” to see all the posts that make up your content. To protect some or all of these posts, select them and click on the “General Protection” option in the drop down menu at the top of the page. General Protection restricts access to all the posts that you select (you can select all posts or pick specific posts for protection). 
  • After access restriction, the next step is to grant access according to the membership levels. For this go to the same drop down menu as the General Protection option, and select each membership levels. The resulting files will be files that are restricted from access.
  • You can select the files for which you want to grant access , and after selecting, click the “Grant Access” button. You can make various membership levels, each differentiated by the number of pages that access is granted to.
Using shortcodes

Alternatively, partial content protection may be implemented using this wordpress membership plugin. For this you can make use of shortcodes to grant partial access to pages. Suppose you have two membership levels, Membership Regular and Membership Lite. You might wish to grant access to only the Membership Regular users, having level id 4. For this you can use the shortcode:

“[emember_protected for=4]”

“[/emember_protected]”

Suppose that level id 3 corresponds to Membership Lite. You can grant access to a section to both Membership Regular and Lite users. To do that you can enclose it in this shortcode:

“[emember_protected for=3-4]”

Note that membership levels to which access is to be granted are added using the dashes. Without specifying the membership ids, ie “[emember_protected]” – content is limited to logged in users only, including free registered users.

General eMember settings

WP eMember offers multiple options using which you can customize membership experience of users. These include the option to:

  • Decide if you wish to grant free memberships
  • Offer attractive login page – so that a popup appears rather than redirecting to a login page
Limited muliple logins To Your WordPress Membership Plugin
  • Limiting number of IPs used from a membership per day, so as to discourage password sharing
  • Disabling simultaneous login, again to discourage password sharing
Encouraging Membership Renewals

eMember also has features that encourage memberships renewals upon expiry. These include

  • Triggering auto expiry email notifications shortly before account expiry date
  • Allowing expired memberships to move to free membership status, to protect continuity
  • Generating special renewal membership links.

Besides this, eMember offers options for integration into wordpress, so that logging in to eMember would automatically log you into wordpress. The very large number of customization options that WP eMember offers makes it one of the most useful WordPress membership plugin.

Drip Content

You can structure access to your learners so that the release of course material is done periodically. This method of releasing course material, called drip content management, limits the amount of information accessible at once to the user. This prevents your learners from being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the course. The auto-upgrade feature in this WordPress membership plugin allows for dripped content management, although this entails making multiple courses.

Auto-upgrade feature

According to this feature, using WP eMember you may upgrade a member taking Module 1 of your course to Module 2 automatically after a thirty day period (or a 7-day period, according to how you wish to structure your course). So, if there are say 5 modules to one course, each module to be accessed 30 days from the previous module, you may time the auto upgrade feature so that

Module 1 -> 2: 30 days from start of course
Module 2 -> 3: 60 days from start of course
Module 3 -> 4: 90 days from start of course
Module 4 -> 5: 120 days from start of course

Pros and Cons of Drip Content Management

There is a debate regarding the merits of drip content management policy – a negative of this approach is that it dictates that learners follow the particular pace with which you have structured the course. The other side of the coin is that you are ensuring that you do not overwhelm your learners with too much information.

Prevent Concurrent Login plugin with WordPress Membership Plugin

A major concern for eLearning site managers is the possibility that their content may be shared by multiple users using a single login. Password sharing is a problem that eMember does address, through the previously mentioned settings of limiting number of IPs and the option to disable concurrent login.

In case the WordPress membership plugin that you use does not have the option to prevent simultaneous logins, a plugin that that specifically prevents concurrent login is the “Prevent Concurrent Login” plugin. This is a plugin that you only need to activate, and store in the Must Use category of plugins, for it to run silently in the background. It then by default prevent access to your membership system from multiple systems at the same time. You may use this plugin with any wordpress membership plugin, including the widely used WordPress Membership 2 plugin, and Wishlist Member, both of which rival WP eMember in popularity.

Video Membership site with eMember

For many premium video businesses like elearning & media , the necessity to protect video content from piracy by so many free downloaders, plugins , hacks is a must. Most of video streaming providers like youtube, vimeo, or self hosting doesnot allow for any protection. To restrict the access of your video content to only only your subscribers on wordpress, VdoCipher has come up with a secure video streaming solution based on encryption and watermarking.

The plugin enables you to use a custom short code. You can use the plugin and the shortcode with any wordpress membership plugin. Also as explained in the eMember section protection code, you can design your course to allow free registered access to trial learners and paid membership for the video. For this you only need to place the VdoCipher shortcode inside the sectional protection shortcode.

Links:

WordPress page for the e-member plugin

Prevent concurrent Login plugin

VdoCipher secure video streaming account signup, 5 GB Free Trial

WordPress course plugin to make course website – Sensei tutorial

Building a course website in WordPress is a great way to monetize your education content. It is being done quite effectively by individuals and companies across the globe. In this blog post we shall walk you through the steps necessary to install the very useful Sensei wordpress course plugin. Using Sensei, you can set up WordPress to sell online courses. By using the plugins features and integrating them with secure Vdocipher player for videos, you can sell online courses to your target audience more effectively.

The quality and security of videos is the USP for most companies that wish to sell online courses. VdoCipher provides the required necessary offerings so that you may not lose customers to piracy and your students have a great experience.

Installing Sensei as a wordpress course plugin

It is assumed that you have WordPress already installed on your system. Sensei is a paid plugin. To buy the course plugin you would have to buy the course directly from their parent site WooCommerce here. Prices as of October 2016 for the Sensei plugin are $129 for the single site version.

makes Sensei to sell online courses, along with VdoCipher for secure video hosting

Use Sensei to sell online courses

On buying the Sensei WordPress course plugin you could download the plugin file in zip format. To activate the plugin you would need to copy the license key that you will find in your Woothemes account to the wordpress interface for activation. After activation you will get this:

wordpress course plugin for secure video hosting

List of wordpress plugins

Using Sensei – Courses, Modules and Lessons

Sensei allows for a layered structuring for courses – each course can be divided into multiple modules, which can contain the relevant lessons. A module can itself be divided into sub-modules, and therefore this LMS allows for considerable flexibility in how you might wish to structure and present your course.

The first step is to therefore create a course. After creating your course, you can create a module, and select the relevant course in which the module is to be integrated. Lessons can then be created within the modules, and you can easily integrate videos within lessons using the steps given below.

Lessons are easily designed to help sell online courses

Setting up a lesson

As shown above, the interface to create a lesson is quite straightforward in Sensei. The ease with which a multi-layered course can be built using Sensei is why we recommend that you use this LMS to sell online courses.

For managing learners, Sensei has tabs for Analysis, Grading and Learner Management. Using Sensei you can track the updates to the course through the Data Updates tab. The simplicity of these options mean that teachers and site administrators can easily manage learners taking their courses. Because of this as a site administrator you can improve your site more effectively using learner feedback.

Quiz implementation in Sensei

Quizzes for grading learners can be added onto the end of the respective lessons. Using Sensei’s interface you can make multiple questions, decide whether passing the quiz is necessary to complete the course and the passing criteria. You may add questions directly to the lesson or add questions from a question bank. Questions may also be presented in a random manner.

Customization offered by Sensei to sell online courses

Sensei offers an additional WordPress course plugin – the Sensei Course Progress plugin – free of cost for monitoring course progress by lessons within a course (or within a module)

Sensei offers you control over who to allow to access the course. Access can be limited to registered users through their wordpress accounts, otherwise if you are using another plugin such as eMember or eShop to control access the feature to restrict access directly on Sensei may be left unused. We recommend using eMember to control membership access because of it allows you to create multiple membership levels depending on level of access.

Further customization allows for private messages between learners and teachers – enabling this functionality may depend upon the targeted size of learners and the ability of teachers to participate.

Sensei offers Javascript functionality in terms of a dynamic bar providing information about percentage of course completed, while My Courses tab also uses Javascript. These functionalities may also be disabled.

Have a look at the following screenshots to learn about additional customization offered by Sensei.

sensei wordpress course plugin

Sensei Shortcodes

Sensei offers a number of shortcodes by which you can remind learners of all available courses, accessible by categories such as teachers. You may also add shortcodes for courses being taken by the learner, additional courses that the learner may take, and user messages.

All available courses [sensei_courses]

Courses per user [sensei_user_courses] (the previous shortcode [usercourses] is no longer supported)

Course page [sensei_course_page id = “123”]

Unpurchased courses [sensei_unpurchased_courses]

Secure Video Streaming in Sensei

To prevent illegal video download , sharing and provide best streaming experience to your viewers, we at VdoCipher provide ready to use video wordpress course plugin. The plugin runs at backend and allows encrypted streaming + viewer watermark player embed on your site. It is compatible with any other plugins you use in your wordpress. VdoCipher has education customers all across 6 continents using us. To install VdoCipher plugin on your wordpress account, you first need to create an account at VdoCipher.com. A trial account at VdoCipher can be made for free. You can upload & stream upto 5GB worth of content for secure video streaming. With each video that you would have uploaded you would have a corresponding video id.

The video can then be embedded onto the lesson by applying the following code: [vdo id="id_of_video"] For example: [vdo id="123abc4d56e7fg89shi12"]

User Registration, Analytics, Themes, Grading with Sensei

Sensei is a complete e-learning suite and involves easy to use management features to do the above implementation.

A note on Woocommerce

WooCommerce is an ecommerce wordpress plugin and necessarily works at backend of Sensei. So, first installation of Woocommerce is needed and then sensei. It is free and is compatible with all major plugins including ours.

Important Elearning blogs from VdoCipher

Why not to self host videos for your course web site?

How to make money from education videos: Some models & key considerations ?

Encrypted Video Streaming: How VdoCipher is far ahead of Others in Security ?

Watermark user/time specific dynamic variables on WordPress videos

For a free full version 5 GB  free trial at VdoCipher , Register.

3 Offline Encoder For Video Conversion: MAC & Windows

There are a lot of instances where the raw video file after camera recording is quite large in size. If it is not on a server or url, it becomes quite difficult to upload it to online sites like VdoCipher.  To solve this problem there are offline encoder or converters or transcoders which convert the huge video files into decent size without any visible lose in quality. Some of these tools can also be used to convert files into different formats for video and audio. Here are the details of top 3 offline encoder

Offline Encoder & Converters For Reducing Video Size & Formats

  1.  WinFF for Windows

    Please visit this link to donwload the software
    http://winff.org/html_new/

    1-  Add the videos using the tool button.
    2- Choose MPEG-4 in the Convert-to.
    3- Select MPEG-4 1080p as the preset.
    4- Click on options to show more tabs.
    5- Go to video tab.
    6- Enter 2500 as the video bitrate (units is 2500kbps).  This is the bitrate we have experienced high enough to be HD, Users can also try with 1500 or 2000 kbps. It shall also work fine for most of the cases , specially if the movement in the video is quite less.
    7- Tick the checkbox 2 pass below it.
    8- Click on convert tool button.
    9- Wait for the video to complete.
    10- This process might consume high CPU.

  2. VLC Media Player for MAC & Windows

    It is quite unknown fact that even VLC media player can be used as an offline encoder to convert and change videos. Here are the steps –

    • Go to Media > Convert/Save >  In file tab add your raw video or audio file.
    • Click on the  “down arrow” mark on the Convert/Save button and Select “Convert”.
    • Now, provide the format in the “Profile” drop down, also provide the destination source.
    • Click on “Start”,  the conversion will start and after the completion, the converted file will be available in the destination source.

http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html

3. Prism Video Converter for Windows & Mac

http://www.nchsoftware.com/prism/

It is quite easy to use software to convert and resize videos. There is both a free and commercial version available. The UI is quite clean and it is almost drag and drop.

For online encoding , VdoCipher has also a customized detailed UI + API trans-coding setup for enterprises. All popular video formats (more then 15 ) are supported , video size, bitrates , type of encoding all can be specified. By default VdoCipher converts videos to its own proprietary encrypted format but for large enterprise cases it does custom transcoding as well.

 

Video Streaming Hosting VdoCipher

All these things, VdoCipher handles for you. Launch Today.

Offline Encoder Online Transcoder

VdoCipher Transcoding

Register for a full version 5 GB Free trial at www.vdocipher.com

10 popular video downloaders: VdoCipher stops all

Whole of internet is filled with people looking and asking for popular video downloaders , plugins &  tools  to grab and pirate videos from sites like youtube, vimeo, netflix, dailymotion, and many more education and media sites. Any normal video hosted is generally easily downloaded by these tools.  If you are a content owner looking to prevent piracy from these downloaders , try out VdoCipher. It is a sure shot way to save your self from all theses nuisances. We are giving below here a review of all the video downloaders and some of their key points.

List of 10 Common Video Downloaders

  1. Video Download Helper

    It is a plugin on firefox and technically the most advanced one. We have seen it to be able to download most of the content on web (HLS, HTML5, MP4 streaming) . A uniqueness about this downloader is the frequency with which it is updated to keep hacking into any slight changes in common video streaming systems. Seems, a large community is behind this plugin trying best possible means to grab streaming video content.

  2.  Internet Download Manager (IDM)

    Another popular software to be installed on computer. Uniqueness is its beautiful UI to manage , pause, continue & categorize downloads. Also, it seems to provide the highest speed for downloads.

  3.  RTMP Dump

    A downloader (installable version) to download videos streamed through RTMP protocol, other wise not an easy to download protocol.

  4.  KeepViD

    A site which asks for the video url and detects and downloads video file on its own.

  5. Savevid

    Similar to Keepvid

  6.  ssyoutube

    A site specially made to download youtube videos.

  7.  Audials

    A software with high end technology. Like download helper, the detection of any video streaming technology and is grabbing is quite easy and advanced here. It can crack through some moderate level hacks implemented.

  8.  9. 10. VIDEO DOWNLOAD CAPTURE , CLIPGRAB, VIDEO GRABBER

    The last 3 are again a set of commonly found video downloaders & software, which can download videos from many common sites.

How to Prevent website videos from being downloaded ?

All the above mentioned tools are based on detecting the video url, and fetching it from server to download content. What if, there is no url to the video file, even more if the content being streamed is not a video but an encrypted file ? We do exactly the same at VdoCipher and help increase revenues for our e-learning and media customers by preventing video piracy.

VdoCipher restricts video downloaders

Common downloaders, VdoCipher stops them all

Check out a free 5 GB full version free trial at www.vdocipher.com

Why not to self host videos for your business site?

We have shared experiences with thousands of video primary businesses while our journey with VdoCipher. We see that in many cases, the first idea that came in the mind of the video business owner is to self host videos , i.e have an inhouse team to handle the video streaming + hosting technology. But soon they realise that it is technically and economically not feasible for them to handle it whole from their side.  This has been realization of many big IT services companies as well. The realization might come with few hours of google searching or few months of trial on self hosting & streaming.

We are listing out the primary reasons with some examples to reason out why not to self host videos ,even if you have a large budget.

5 Reasons Not to Self host Videos ,Why ?

  1.  Server, CDN, Scaling, Automation for streaming

    It is a lot different doing these for static sites & video stuff. Handling multiple cores of servers, implementing CDN, ensuring it goes well during peaks and scales well, is a tough job. Here is an example to explain better.

    A webpage getting 100 users in a minute, a 5 min video being streamed by 100 users who came in a minute. Sounds similar ? ,Well see this – The 100 users who came in a minute at a web page were in real loading the page and requesting objects from server at different milliseconds, there were never 100 simultaneous users, they had loaded the page at different milliseconds. While for a 5 minute video still playing, all the 100 users will be simultaneously fetching the content at same millisecond level from servers, That is why the optimization of infrastructure is quite different.

  2. Preventing Piracy

    If you choose to self host videos , you will tend to provide a direct video video url from server to the site. This can be easily downloaded by lot of free downloaders or plugins like IDM, Download Helper available on web, which cause a lot of piracy.  Using some body like vdocipher  will surely put an end to online video piracy.

  3. Encoding for multiple devices & bitrates

    Encoding is again a server + CPU intensive process and transcoding each video for desktop, ios, android, different bitrates, ensuring browser incompatibilities is again a hefty job.

  4. Video Player – Controls, Adaptive , Customization

    you will surely like to have a player with desired colors, theme, bitrates, sizes, adpativeness according to aspect ratio. This too should happen across multiple device and browsers.

  5. Large development team & time to launch of video business

    Even if you are looking to do all these in house and spend on a development team, it is good to have a look at the expected salary costs involved. I bet the total costs involved of hiring & implementing the setup will be much more then what vdocipher will offer. The time for launch with us can be like ranging from 10 minutes to 3 days. While full in house development will take some months to launch. VdoCipher uses AWS & Akamai at backend to ensure great cloud availability.

For a full version free trial of most secure and reliable streaming solution, register at  www.vdocipher.com

Not Self Host videos , Video Streaming Hosting VdoCipher

All these things, VdoCipher handles for you. Launch Today.

Setting desired bitrate for video playback for multiple devices

Different devices and internet speeds require different bitrate to be served. Based on device type and your viewer connection, some of you may opt to provide particular bitrates forcefully.  Often you like to provide playback at the certain quality or constrain the network data. Bitrate, Dimensions ,Quality thus can be configured. Below are the steps.

First, Send in an extra parameter while setting up the otp. Append a post parameter called “forcedBitrate”. This need to be an integer. During load time, the player obtains the list of available resolutions from the server. If the forcedBitrate is set, it starts playing the bitrate which is closest to that one.

Example

If you have a video with bitrates created at [300, 900, 1500, 2100].  By default, the player will try to guess the correct bitrate based on a number of factors. If you believe that the default rate should be 900, set the value of forcedBitrate to 900. If the forcedBitrate is set to 1100, then player will calculate the bitrate closest to it and play it. This will ensure that the player will continue playing inspire of any error.

Here is a sample curl command for the otp call with forcedBitrate included:

curl 'http://api.vdocipher.com/v2/otp?video=xxxxxxxxxxxxxx' -H 'Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded' --data 'clientSecretKey=CLIENT_SECRET_KEY&forcedBitrate=1100'

Check the Api page under /otp for more info and other APIs.