Some time ago, we engaged with a client on a project that involves videos used as part of eLearning modules, and one of the questions the client asked me was “what format do you want us to give the videos in?”. Right in that spot I thought “Wow, that is actually a good question!”.
So, how do you answer that question if it’s ever asked to you?
Well, I would say, it depends on the tools you are using to develop your eLearning module, and the target devices on which you want the users to access the module (mobile or computer).
However, I think a very common video format to use, if you are using a rapid authoring tool like Adobe Captivate or Articulate Storyline, is the MP4 format. Why? Just like I said, nowadays it’s the most common video format and most rapid authoring tools that have to deal with video files, have already included the codec to allow developers to use MP4 files, and in any case, if you are publishing to Flash (which, by the way, shouldn’t be done anymore, but still some of our clients require it), the software will re-encode the video to make it playable.
If you are developing straight in HTML5, for example, the MP4 file should work without any modifications (unless you want to re-encode to reduce the file size, as stated on my previous article), but you can also use formats like WebM or OGG if you don’t want to make use of proprietary data formats (MP4 in this case). These video formats are supported by most browsers, but I suggest, if you use either WebM or OGG, to have the MP4 file also as a backup, in case the browser accessing the module doesn’t support video files created with open standards.