Learning with Experts offers a range of courses for enthusiasts through to professionals on topics like gardening, floristry, food and drink, photography, jewellery and antiques. What sets them apart is their strong belief that students learn better when they’re together. Learning with Experts fosters an interactive classroom dynamic connecting experts to passionate students around the world. The industry average for students dropping out of an online course is 80%. However, Learning with Experts flips that around and boasts an 80% completion rate of their courses.
When the company started out, they had a pretty rudimentary video playback system. Dan Rosewarne, CTO of Learning with Experts, said, “We were using an off-the-shelf player. We had MP4 files stored on Amazon S3 and we had to basically decide between having great quality whilst being able to stream properly, regardless of where you are in the world. However, we never had the time to give this enough attention while we were working on other parts of the business.”
As a consequence of not optimizing delivery, they started receiving consistent feedback on playback from customers, including buffering across different devices. Dan said, “We have customers in 80 countries. Some of our students were having a suboptimal experience in one way or another, depending on who was contacting us and the device they were using. This was not something we could live with as a customer centric business as it was affecting 20% of our customers. It felt like we were trying to please lots of different people in different scenarios.”
To remedy this, they started building their own solution. Dan said, “What became obvious pretty quickly was that we're not the experts in building video production pipelines and we’re not best placed to ensure that we have the right formats, the right bitrates, and the right infrastructure for playback. This isn’t and shouldn’t be our core competency. Our core competency is bringing together incredible experts with passionate students, uniting them in a classroom and making sure they have a great learning experience whilst producing high quality content to help that along.”
Dan began to research to find the actual experts in the space and found Mux. He was looking for “video infrastructure as a service” and Mux’s Video API checked all the boxes for what he needed:
Along with Mux Video, Learning with Experts is also using Mux Data, the video performance analytics platform. While all their new content is going through Mux, Dan’s team is currently in the process of migrating their sizable content library over from their old platform. Because they have Mux Data, they can compare the performance of their videos on the old platform vs. the ones on Mux and definitively know that performance has improved.
“Customers compliment us on the quality and usability of our videos now. For us as a team, we’re confident that we’re giving students and tutors a first class learning experience because of that,” said Dan. “We always knew because we weren't using HLS and we were just using MP4 files, that at the end of a shoot, we'd have to make a compromise between buffering and quality. We knew that meant some people would have a suboptimal experience. Now what we do is always go for great quality and we know that Mux will help whoever's watching have a great experience. When you consider we are a content production business, a video production house as well as an eCommerce business, not having to also worry about being a video distribution service is massively valuable to us. It’s taken the problem away.”
*Based on the last 7 days worth of data from 3/3/20.