How I Track Re-usable Video Assets In Online Learning Projects

I have a tracking problem with regard to my list of video assets



By using Bento, Filemaker’s personal database product (it’s Mac only, but Filemaker Pro  is their flagship multi-platform database product that will do the same thing–and more), I recently solved a growing problem I was having about tracking my ever growing list of video titles across the similarly growing list of online courses into which I embed those titles.  (By the way, here’s a link to the Bento template exchange site that I alluded to in the video above.  That’s where I submitted my database structure as a template you can download for free.  It has to go through a review process but, once approved, you should be able to find it with the title Video-Module-Course Inventory Tracker.)

Bento DB Template For Videos-Courses Assets Tracking (v-1.0)|580.32 kB|downloads: 699
This is the Bento DB template mentioned in the post about How I Track Re-usable Video Assets In Online Learning Projects. You must have Bento 4 installed for this to work. Simply doubleclick to extract the template from the zip file; then double-click the template to populate it into your Bento installation. I use this DB to associate video titles with course titles so I can quickly see what related courses and course modules need to be updated when a video changes. You can customize this for your needs. Keep in mind, Bento is Filemaker's personal DB for the Mac platform. If you need something for Windows, you may want to look into Filemaker's Filemaker Pro product.

Here was my problem in a nutshell:  As you know I make videos that show people how to do stuff with software.  That’s sort of my thing.  Some folks call these training videos.  (We can debate the merits of “training” vs. “information” another time, but suffice to say that I prefer to call these videos screencasts or “how to” videos.)

Each video can be — and often is — used in one or more course modules that I create for my company’s customers.  These modules can, in turn, be re-used in one or more courses.  The subject matter usually pertains to showing learners how to use some software or website.  The thing is, when that software or website undergoes a new release, it usually includes new feature sets.  Those new features usually trigger the need to change one or more screencast videos… which are related to course modules… and ultimately to courses.

With literally hundres of videos I’ve created over time, I needed a reliable way to quickly check which modules and courses were impacted by one or more videos.  The reverse was also true: if a course or module needed to be updated, I needed a way to quickly determine which video titles were involved.  It turns out, I wasn’t the only one who had this problem.

linkedin discussion about managing courses and modules

What software do you use to manage course updates?

After checking my network, I was surprised to find that there weren’t a lot of hosted or off-the-shelf software that was specifically designed to help with this.  There were some decent suggestions that included fancy spreadsheets, CMSs (Content Management Systems), LMSs (Learning Management Systems), Mindmaps and student grading/attendance software.  And, while helpful, they really were still short of that fingertip solution I needed.  So, I figured it was time to just make a custom solution from off-the-shelf database software.

I started with MS Access, but… well, crap.  It was a pain in the ass.  I spent more time thinking about the tool than the solution I was trying to design.

So, after a little time-off hobbling along again with my handy-dandy (increasingly unruly) spreadsheet, I took a look at Filemaker’s Bento personal database software.  At $50, the price was right, it was pretty much drag-and-drop (that’s more my speed for creating databases), and the moving parts were light enough that my feeble mind could wrap itself around key concepts:  libraries, collectionsfields, and related data.

The video above shows the general structure of my tracker database and how I use it on a day-to-day basis.  Depending on the size of your video titles, you may find that a more powerful database might be better suited, in which case you might want to take a look at Filemaker Pro.  In fact, my requirements may demand that soon.  But for now, Bento’s doing the job nicely.

Check out the video video and feel free to download my template; let me know if it ends up working out for a solution to a similar problem you might be having.