For consumers and many companies, gone are those days where low bandwidth and connection problems were an issue with accessing the internet. But because of those problems, elearning companies or developers are used to taking the ‘minimum’ approach to visual and animated assets when designing elearning experiences.
So using videos in elearning was kind of a big NO, whatever the benefits may be. But now that barrier is gone. Thanks to high speed internet and better corporate infrastructures, we’ve started creating animations and video more than ever before. And learners are experiencing the benefits of this new, high bandwidth approach to elearning.
I feel more excited about watching videos or animations than reading through lots of static content. There must be many like me, otherwise we wouldn’t be uploading or downloading millions of hours of video from YouTube every minute!
Why you should use video or animation in your next project
- A video can be a teaser hosted somewhere on a common platform so there is more motivation to visit the actual course rather than the traditional approach of ‘pushing’ a course at individuals. These teasers are great for YouTube promotions and even on screens in physical locations
- Adding videos in elearning courses increases value of the course both within it and outside it. Creating a video adds gravitas and it shows how serious we are about teaching the topic
- Video reduces the ‘reading load’ for the learner, breaks up the monotony of plain content and draws the learner into a scene.
- Video is time efficient. If you want to train on a complicated piece of software or process then using only text and images makes it difficult and harder to visualise. Animation and interactions can simulate the software or process, reducing time to competence.
- Video is one of the most cross platform mediums available. It can easily run on mobiles, tablets and laptops and TV screens
There are several relatively easy ways to create video or animations for your elearning courses. You can use images and text which are accompanied by audio, screen-captures or shoot live action footage against a green screen so it’s easier to integrate. An ‘instant’ way is to include videos of seminars and classroom experiences. Or you can invest in creating customised animations in Flash and publish this as video.
Top ten things to remember when using video in elearning
- It’s good to have an eye on the client’s branding, logo, palette and any distinctive shapes or patterns as these can be powerful assets to reflect in video content.
- Know your audience. Analyse and review the age group / gender / interest and the purpose of video creation. Is it for awareness, skills, or simply to grab attention?
- Try to focus video creation on some of more complicated topics within a course. Video is a multi-sensory experience that is great at breaking down complex ideas into more digestible experiences, but it is more costly to produce so choose the topic where it will have the most impact.
- There are many different styles of video to pick from, so what will be the signature style of your course? Think of the pre-production involved too: do we need to a live shoot with actors? Or is it simply a combination of images and text? Or will your video be based on a character animation?
- Simple animations with audio can sometimes be a great time saver as you don’t need to run alongside actors ‘ schedules. Yet they can be a powerful way to convey the content and can be produced in either 2D or 3D.
- If you are keen on shooting video you need to consider these things: storyboarding or cinematography, the right actor for your topic, a location suitable to your subject, camera, lighting, sound recording and editing. Don’t underestimate the final editing of video and publication, which can be a lengthy process!
- It’s good to have closed captioning for accessibility and multi language / translation purposes. A transcript may also help, especially for those who don’t have audio capability or are viewing the training on a private device without headphones.
- Think of video format choices carefully. If your video is published in the wrong file format or one which doesn’t get use widely, few people will be able to watch it, and the rest might need to install a plugin or video codec to see content. Nowadays the MP4 format is widely used and compatible with most players and software.
- Think about how can you make better use of your video and get more views to by treating it as a teaser. A company’s intranet or a mailer might be a good place to post this
- It’s good to keep it brief and short. For most video, it’s hard to keep the learner’s attention for more than a few minutes.
Next time when you’re thinking of elearning think of videos. There will be a little more upfront cost involved in creating videos and adding it into the course but if using video will save the precious time of thousands of learners then this in itself is a big cost saving!