Brainshark Review

Do you need to develop, deliver and track learning content via mobile devices this week or even today?Then Brainshark may be just the solution you need.

Brainshark is a cloud based platform and we think it could fit the bill for many clients that need rapid e-learning solutions. We were impressed with the way it uses server based features especially the tracking features and the speed to both author and deliver.

The basic premise of Brainshark is an easy to use, cloud based platform to author, deliver and track mobile-ready content. It allows you to create content from PowerPoints, videos, photos, PDFs and other source materials. You can sequence and narrate content, you can record audio and you can add questions and surveys.

Other more traditional e-learning authoring tools will provide a greater range of screen interactivity options, but Brainshark is very fast and easy to use. One of the key advantages is the ability to deliver content instantly to a full range of mobile devices, and to track content in real time including scores, number of screens viewed, etc. Thus if you want to build, deliver and track content to staff across all forms of mobiles devices, for example, you can do this today. There is no separate content packaging or uploading to a Learning Management System.

No time to read? Have a look at the demo Kineo built in Brainshark. Open the following link in your mobile browser. To do the interactive questions download the free Brainshark app and this will open automatically when you click the link. Kineo Brainshark Demo.

Content Development

Brainshark is incredibly easy to use; the authoring interface is below. The things you can do are simply listed on the left-hand panel such as add audio, add video, or add a question. You can also embed, say, a Captivate movie as a full screen slide.

01 brainshark

The content is effectively created as a series of slides or screens as you can see in the screenshot below.

02 brainshark

You can hyperlink to specific slides to jump ahead or enable content branching. You can quickly reorder or record audio. There is a nice feature where you can actually dial in via phone or use a USN microphone and record your audio per slide. I was surprised how well this worked. You can click on the screen to activate PowerPoint animations as you go and you can override the timing of PowerPoint animations as you wish.

Kineo Demo

We put together a short Brainshark demo on objection handling, which you can launch and view (see link below). The content we developed started as PowerPoints and we used PowerPoint features such as animating bullet builds as shown in the screen below.

07 brainshark

We have used both survey questions and multiple choice questions with feedback in the assessment. For the demo we haven’t added in video but this is a simple task. You can also add in Captivate movies. Thus you can create a learning module with a variety of screen types including:

  • Animated/narrated PowerPoints
  • Videos
  • Captivates/screenshots
  • Survey questions
  • Quiz questions

The tool is very simple to use and you can easily produce content in a matter of minutes.

See the demo we put together: download the BrainShark app to your mobile device and open this link on your mobile phone or iPad. Kineo Brainshark Demo.

Content Delivery

The learner can view the content from mobile devices via the native browser, or use the Brainshark iOS or Android apps. The learner needs to use an app to complete interactive questions, polls and surveys.

Once your content is developed you can simply send your audience a link via an email. The user clicks on the link to open the module. If the user has the free app installed the content will automatically open in the app.

If the user hasn’t downloaded the free app the system recognises the type of mobile device they are using and automatically streams the presentation in the appropriate video format for that device. There is absolutely no additional work required to publish for different devices; it is a true 'publish once and deliver everywhere' model. Thus when I sent my colleagues the Brainshark content via an email link they were able to access it instantly using a variety of different devices. However, if a learner doesn’t have the app they can’t use the interactive questions.

If your company uses Brainshark the user just logs in to the app once and all their content then appears automatically in the app. Thus when they reopen the app they will see their latest list of learning modules.
You can also use a guestbook facility which requires users to enter their details so that you can track their usage, for example, if they are outside your company.

There are some nice uses of a server based environment such as being able to ask a question and instantly show the learner how many other people choose that option in your company. See the example below.

brainshark survey

Finally, learners can also view the content on a desktop as well as mobile devices where they can participate in all interactions and assessments. Below is an example of the content on a desktop.

03 brainshark

Tracking and assessments

Another nice part of Brainshark is the tracking; you can easily see which of your learners viewed the content and at which screen they stopped viewing. Whilst all tracking data is collected on the Brainshark server there is an integration option where the data can be passed back to your LMS, CRM and other supported applications.

Below is a sample reporting screenshot.

05 brainshark
You can set accreditation periods so that learners have to retake an assessment say, every year. There are some useful tracking reports such as a retention report, which shows how many people viewed each screen so you can see where you lose learners. An example report is set out below.

06 brainshark

A Rapid Solution

While you would not use Brainshark for all your e-learning, it is a great platform for both the rapid development and rapid delivery of content to mobile and desktops. Thus it meets a particular need incredibly well, if, for example, you want to:

  • Deliver content on new regulations or new products
  • Check understanding through an assessment
  • Deliver to multiple mobile devices
  • Track results in detail and integrate with your LMS

Importantly, it works really well if you want to do this today or this week.

While there are limitations in interactivity, with some good learning design and art direction you can produce robust content quickly and easily.

Free Webinar

We know that many of our clients and followers will love the functionality delivered by Brainshark so we have arranged a joint webinar with Brainshark. The webinar will take place on:

27 June 2012 at 4pm UK/11am Eastern US.

During the webinar we will demonstrate how you can develop, deliver and track content in the time that it takes to run the webinar and you will receive a personal link to the launch the content on a device of your choice. Why not take a look, we think you will be impressed.

Register for the webinar.


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