Discovering the Right Room for Live and On Demand Streaming: Seek and Ye Shall Find

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By: Alan D. Greenberg

Stopped by your local college anytime recently for a soda in the student union, or an adult learning seminar offered by local faculty?  If you have been on any educational campus recently but not looked around, you may have missed the quiet revolution taking place in on-demand tech, simply because you were in the wrong room.

Consider the results of the most recent Wainhouse Research survey of 228 respondents in Higher Education (HE), K-12, and not-for-profit / governmental service / content providers. Of those we surveyed 44% of the Higher Ed (HE) organizations report mainstream use of lecture capture, streaming and archive recording. Another 36% describe “some / informal use” of these capabilities.  This means that four out of five institutions of Higher Ed are using on-demand tech in some way or another – a combined adoption rate of 80% that is an all-time high in our five years of fielding this survey.

Higher Ed On-demand Tech Adoption

The problem is, you wouldn’t know about this revolution if you didn’t walk into the right program or department.  Adoption varies widely by discipline area.  Often it’s the Business or Engineering or Medical school that is the early adopter, and other disciplines follow suit over time.  But we know the pace of adoption is increasing because every year we conduct the survey, the number of institutions using on-demand tech increases.

For a variety of reasons, HE has always been the most advanced in adopting such technologies? Why?  This goes back to a combination of two aspects of HE: 1) often schools got into the habit of recording lecturers for the sake of posterity – after all, they are in the “thinking” business and what better thing to do than to record a visiting or prestigious local thinker; and 2) many schools began audiotaping lecturers in the “analog, pre-video” days as a matter of routine collection of Intellectual Property or as a means of then distributing those recordings to remote learners.

The rate of adoption in K-12 is far lower, as should be expected.  Traditionally, classrooms were closed universes, focused on acquisition of knowledge and skills that could be delivered locally. No one felt the need to open up the walls of the classroom.  Nonetheless, this is changing too, and a total of 29% of the K-12 schools we surveyed are using lecture capture and recording informally or in a mainstream fashion.  (And I can tell you what that is: either informal, “YouTube / TeacherTube” recordings, or more structured recording systems are used for everything from school events to learner-generated content.)

So why do we care?   

This is a vital trend because the actions all those teachers and learners are taking to quietly mainstream video now will impact the workplace for years to come.  Already the new generation of learners (post-Millennials?)  is engaged with more on-demand video than their Millennial predecessors. Their rate of video adoption now undoubtedly will color their expectations for video content as they graduate and move into the work force.

So on your next visit to a college campus, keep your eyes and ears open as you roll through the student union. Be sure to ask about what’s happening down the hall with on-demand technology and what students are watching on their desktops and tablets. Chances are good that you just may learn something new about the future of video on your trip back to school.

(As a note on our methodology: every year Wainhouse Research surveys a mix of Higher Ed, K-12, and content / service provider users of distance education and e-Learning technologies.  For classification purposes, we group lecture capture / streaming / archiving / recording together.  We count Content Management Systems separately as a category with Learning Management Systems.)

Alan D. Greenberg is a Senior Analyst and Partner with Wainhouse Research and can be reached at


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