Videos in eLearning

A project I worked with in 2005 had a very specific client requirement. A video address from the company head. Mandatory for the induction program. Over the years, videos have grown from connecting with employees to delivering essential learning content.

Here’s why –

  • A video personalizes the training
  • A video by management allows it to communicate to all strata of staff
  • A video makes it realscrnshot1
  • A video has more recall value than text or image

Instructional designers have to keep the following in mind, while using videos –

  1.  Content – Relevance of the video to actual course content. What kind of content is best delivered as a video? Is the video supplementary to learning or essential to the learning delivered? Also, is the video replacing any chunk of learning or enhancing it?
  2. Length – Does the video  need editing? Are you using the video as a small chunk or to deliver most of the content?
  3. Placement  – Should you start the course with a video or use it midway? Should you use a video based summary for better retention?
  4. Other details – Does the video include close captioning? Does the video have large chunks of text displayed on screen or is an animated power point ? What kind of images are contained in the video – static or animated?

Once an ID is satisfied with all the above points, the video can be effectively included in an eLearning course.

Post this, close attention has to be paid to it

  1. Quality of video
  2. Format of video
  3. Embedding video into a player or carrying it as external link. External links should be avoided as it takes the user away from the course.
  4. Player controls for the video. This should be decided on by the ID in consultation with client and technical team. Sometimes, clients are particular about keeping a pause button or replay options. The content and length of the video are also determinants for using player controls.
  5. Testing in a published course.

A primary factor in using videos is whether the video is already available; has to be sourced or has to be created from scratch. If available, is it free of copyright issues? Has the client made the video or is it hosted on a commercial site, like YouTube or Vimeo? Does the client expect you to purchase a video available at video stock sites?
If the video has to be made from scratch, do you have to do a shoot? Or is it an animation based video or an image based video?
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Further, if your course consists of video based learning entirely; then, scripting the video from scratch is mandatory. ID’s require good language skills, esp. conversational language skills to make a good video.
Also, the ID needs to keep the content precise; in-flow and effective. Natural conversation style is a good option for scripting, yet it needs to be on topic and not include any off topic examples or anecdotes. The script should have an explanatory tone which makes the user familiar with the content.

While including video in eLearning and / or video based learning may seem an easier training option, there are many factors to be considered before opting for it. Most important of all are the learning needs of your audience.
Is the audience better suited to learning from videos? What are the learning styles most common among your audience? What kind of time does the learner have? What kind of technology does the user have access to?

Some good video based learning sites

  1. You Tube
  2. Vimeo
  3. eHow
  4. Ted Talks
  5. PBS ( limited to certain geographies)
  6. BBC Bitesize
  7. BrainPop
  8. Open Course universities
  9. Khan Academy

The above have excellent quality videos and can provide a guideline for you to create your video. You should also check the footage available at various stock video sites to use in your course.

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