Review of Brainshark - Overall awesome, except in a few areas
July 19, 2014

Review of Brainshark - Overall awesome, except in a few areas

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Brainshark

Currently, the organization is using Brainshark to enhance their Learning management system offering. It allows users and technical trainers the ability to add voice over to powerpoints, and recently they've upgraded their platform to include more enhanced metrics.

Personally, I am using Brainshark to create a series of "Institutional knowledge quizzes." These vary in length and questions, but I'm leveraging Brainsharks ability to inject quiz questions into the platform and we are essentially using it as a quiz tool. It addresses many problems, and has a lot of great features. The ability to update an existing presentation without the link changing that has been sent to users is a blessing. The metrics, reporting, and guestbook opt-in features are also very nice. It's definitely being used, at least from a consumption perspective, by the whole organization. I would consider myself the organization's foremost Brainshark expert and use the platform the most.
  • Ability to update presentations real-time, even ones that have been already distributed. In a normal LMS, you send out essentially a file and cannot update it without having to send out a new file. Being able to make modifications without changing the URL of the presentation is critical for large organizations who distribute the presentations on a 10,000+ employee basis.
  • Brainshark's platform is pretty easy to use - it's intuitive and built on PowerPoint, which most end-users are familiar with.
  • The metrics and ability to quickly see how which viewers have viewed the presentation, for how long, and how they score on assessment questions is excellent.
  • For us, using brainshark as a quiz distribution, it's certainly lacking in terms of how it handles an "incorrect" question. You're limited to a single-text, canned response to show the users the right answer if they got it wrong. They could certainly add some functionality to the assessment question portion to make it easier for that use case.
  • The system itself can be slow at times. Sometimes when editing a question property, it takes a few seconds to load. When building these on a large-scale, those few seconds can add a lot of time to creating and finishing a presentation.
  • The limited ability to change branding, look and feel is disappointing at times. Obviously being built on PowerPoint, you can make your slides look however you want. But in terms of the c-frame, or table of contents you are essentially stuck with what BrainShark has given you.
  • Positive - It's certainly an option for large-scale distribution. Being able to quickly create presentations and having a link to send out to employees, as opposed to a file is a major win for Brainshark.
  • Positive - we've received excellent engagement on our distribution of presentations, well into the thousands per presentations. So, something is working right for us. We're able to educate employees across the globe in a quick and consistent fashion, with the combination of Brainshark and large-scale employee email communication.
  • Negative - If your main job function is not to create and distribute quizzes, Brainshark can take some time. There's definitely a learning curve to all the little settings, and it can be a time drain for someone creating multiple, translated presentations in a repetitive fashion.
We're currently evaluating Articulate Online as an alternate method of distributing our presentations, again simply because Brainshark is lacking some functionality when it comes to creating quizzes. If Brainshark could bridge the gap between what it does extremely well (namely, reliability, scalability, sending out a URL instead of a file) with the areas that it doesn't do well (flexibility in look and feel, more enhanced assessment features) it would have an unbeatable technology stack. Overall it's impressive and the metrics and reporting shouldn't be understated how valuable that can be.
Honestly, there's a number of factors as to why I labeled "likely to renew" as a 7. For one, it's used across the organization and I don't think we have a great alternative. Also, it does a good job of fulfilling what the product offers. In the right hands, it can be a very powerful tool and one that should be given consideration when developing use cases for LMS.
For presentations, it's very appropriate. When distributing to a large number of employees, (25,000+ for us) it can handle that type of volume which is extremely beneficial.

Where it is not as appropriate, is for a novice user attempting to use Brainshark as simply a standalone quiz tool. While I understand the tool itself is not designed around quiz and assessment functionality, they do include it, but the lack of customization can be a detriment. If you're looking for flash and excitement in a quiz, or even something that can nicely display incorrect questions to help the user learn, Brainshark is not the right tool.