Related posts:No related photos. Digital investmentOn 1 Sep 2000 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Isdigital versatile disc worth the investment? With more players appearing on themarket, we help you decide whether to make the leap from videos to DVD. BySimon KentHavinghad a great impact on the consumer sector, DVD or digital versatile disc ispoised to take on the world of training. With players retailing at under £200and the latest film releases on shelves everywhere from Blockbusters toWoolworth’s, there is an expectation from employees that the technology andhigh quality playback they can experience at home should be utilised withintraining sessions.Certainlythe three major players currently working on DVD products see great potentialfor the medium. Given the incredible amount of information that can be storedon one disk, DVD not only offers high quality video footage played straight todesktop, laptop, TV or projection screen, but has space to spare for othertraining related information. “Notonly will users access videos, but we’ll also be able to offer course materialson the same disk,” says Martin Addison, marketing manager of Video Arts. “Therecould also be presentation slides for the trainer to use or a question andanswer course for use in the classroom.”CathAdamson of Fenman agrees. “Trainers will certainly find DVD a valuable tool. Itoffers a great deal of flexibility. Trainers can customise the material fordifferent individuals or courses by selecting the appropriate training sectionsfrom one disk. They can leave out parts of the course which may not beapplicable or replay sections they particularly like.”WhileVideo Arts is still at the development stage of DVD, Fenman has alreadyproduced The Learning Needs Interview on this format and believes DVD willslowly but surely replace VHS as the prime media for film training. TADShas also produced a DVD product. As managing director Jack Wills explains thecompany’s Creative Manager programme is now available on two DVDs. Not onlydoes this enable users to access both text and video portions of the coursefrom one source – including five 45-minute video programmes – but TADS can alsoprovide subtitles and audio tracks in French, German, Spanish and Italian onthe same disk, enabling international companies to share the resource. “You canstore up to 30 languages in caption form, including English for the hard ofhearing,” says Wills. This facility has led TADS to producing a single DVD todeliver product training for Bally Shoes in five languages.AsJack Wills points out, DVD is essentially a larger receptacle for informationthan the CD-Rom. Not only is it possible to get more information on one disk,but there is the potential to do more with that information once it is there.Well-designed DVD products could have links to vast reserves of storedinformation, exercises and even links to the Internet. “Ithink there will three main markets for DVD,” says Wills. “The first will befor material straight from video to benefit from enhanced picture quality. “There’salso a market for trainers who want to use DVD in an interactive educationsetting – selecting parts of a DVD course as and when they require them.However, the third application will exploit all areas of the DVD-Rom offering atruly multimedia, multi-application and multi-language training experience.”Atraining revolution, however, seems far from certain. At this point even if atrainer wanted to invest in a DVD library, they’d be hard pushed to find theproducts. “Video is a very established method of training delivery,” saysAddison. “There are cost implications for organisations getting into DVD, sothey’re looking for a good selection of available materials before they makethat investment.”Butsome potential users see more intransigent problems. “DVD has fantasticcapabilities, but it will only have a minor impact in training,” says VaughanWaller, chairman of the eLearning Network. “They have awesome capacity forstoring information, but why do you need that capacity?” Walleralso feels that the technology still delivers training in a passive way and cantherefore only act as a single element in a training programme rather than be aprogramme in itself. “Video can only be part of a training course,” he says.“Adding CBT elements to a video doesn’t mean you’ll get a better trainingproduct.”CathAdamson seems to agree with this view, explaining how Fenman perceives that DVDwill replace video use within the classroom. “Classroom training will remain,but the standard format will change to DVD rather than video,” she says. Inthis way, trainers can benefit from the enhanced picture quality of DVD –especially when blown up to screen size for large presentations – and stillensure the learning experience is an interactive one.“DVDswill gain in popularity as people discover more uses for them and trainers makenew demands on the technology,” says Adamson. “We see training moving toincorporate technology rather than losing the classroom environment entirely.”TheLearning Needs Interview from Fenman costs £875+VAT, as does the video version.TADS’ Creative Manager comes complete with 2 DVDs, audio cassettes, CD-Roms andbackground material at £895+VAT.Fivepoints to consider when investing in DVD1– There are two formats for DVD – DVD Playback and DVD-Rom. The former is usedby dedicated DVD players while DVD-Rom is computer based and offersinteraction. DVD-Rom disks will not play on simple DVD players, but straightDVD disks will play on DVD-Rom players.2– DVD disks come in three sizes – 3.95, 4.7 and 9.4 gigabytes. Larger disks donot play on all DVD players. Make sure your player has the capacity yourequire.3– What will DVD be used for? If only for playback/presentation then you needonly invest in a DVD player. If you want to facilitate interactive courses, youshould use DVD-Rom.4– Self-study DVD programmes should be easy to navigate for all users andinclude extensive interaction.5– Is the course worth having on DVD? Is this simply a direct switch from VHS toDVD? Are there enhanced or additional features to the DVD course?WHATIT COSTSDVDplayers start at around £200 – the Grundig GDV110 at £250. Players are usuallyabout the size of a video recorder, but portable models are available. ThePanasonic DVD-PV55EBS Micro DVD player (RRP £599.99) is 185x155x140mm and canstill be plugged into a TV screen, while the DVD-LV75 Portable DVD Player (RRP£1,199.99) comes with its own 7-inch widescreen LCD monitor.