Using Videos in E-learning Courses
Believe it or not, YouTube is filled with more than just videos of funny cats and laughing babies. If you’re interested in learning specific tasks, the site also features a wide variety of informative how-to videos. From DIY decor to learning a new language, chances are you can find a video online for just about anything you may want to learn about. And when you think about it, it makes sense: people learn better by example. Videos are a great way to present visual examples and enhance the learning experience, so it’s only reasonable that this should carry over into the corporate training world.
Videos are a great tool for teaching job tasks and behavioral skills used in the workplace. Behavioral skills, also known as "soft skills," are the skills employees use for interacting successfully in the workplace, such as asking for help or giving instruction. While text, images, and animation will likely make up the majority of your e-training content, videos are a smart addition that you will often find can paint a better picture for some of your course material.
Screens filled with only text and graphics can be monotonous to learners. Videos provide a nice break in between text to keep the course engaging. Videos also bring a human element to your training – which can be especially important for those users who are taking an online learning course for the very first time. If done effectively, a video will greatly improve your e-learning course and help you reach your objectives.
Whether your video is a success largely depends on the video itself. Keep these tips in mind when creating training videos in order to provide the best experience possible for learners.
Short and sweet
Similar to the way you want to pace the rest of your course, instructors should be aware of length when making training videos. A 10 minute video is on the long end of the spectrum, and any longer risks the user losing focus. Instead, learners work well with videos around five minutes each. Your e-learning videos should offer bite-sized chunks of information that users can quickly consume.
A low-quality video, whether it involves bad acting or jerky motion, will do more harm than good. Course users aren’t expecting a Hollywood-style film here; they understand that video e-learning is an inherently challenging task. That said, learners will have a hard time focusing on the information you are trying to present if they are instead noticing major flaws that detract from the message. Find a good balance that works for your course and budget. Even minor steps can make a huge difference – like investing in a tripod or a good microphone.
Include a transcript
When it comes time to post the completed video to your course, be sure to include a transcript for users to follow along with. This will be helpful for learners who may want to reference back to this content later on. Closed captions should also be considered, as it will assist users with hearing disabilities, as well as allow all viewers to follow along with what they are watching.
The actual day of production can be tricky for many first-time video producers. Make sure you plan ahead and take care of as much as possible before the shoot. This includes creating a storyboard and a script, and making sure you have all of the equipment necessary. Take some time before production to learn some beginner tips for setting up lighting and capturing sound. Know how many people will need to be there, and make sure you have a schedule in mind for everybody involved. Also, be prepared to make mistakes. Allow for more time than you may expect to give the team a little bit more breathing room. Multiple takes will certainly be required for some shots, but resist the urge to rush production. And lastly, remember to breathe. Video production can be tricky, but it can also be incredibly rewarding and valuable. It’s ok if the shoot isn’t professional-grade, but if your team is as prepared as possible, everything will be fine.