You (Yes You!) Can Make a Great eLearning Video in 5 Easy Steps
It’s official: video is king in nearly every aspect of our lives. We don’t just watch TV anymore; we binge watch. We share cat videos from Facebook. And if we want to learn something, we head straight to YouTube.
And it isn’t just any videos, we watch. These days, the shorter the better, with our preferences launching an entire “microlearning” sub-industry. The rise of eLearning has led to an explosion of tools that literally anyone can use to create great instructional videos. Ready to get started?
Start with objectives: What will the viewer learn?
Before you start thinking about the latest and greatest eLearning approach, start your process by using the world’s oldest computer: your brain. Think and plan about how you will connect the many dots that include your educational objectives, organizational goals (if applicable), the most relevant knowledge, and the details that will resonate most for adoption and retention.
What do you plan to cover? What are your main points and how long do you need spend on each one? This will help you determine if you need one video or many – and how long each should be. And be sure to outline the content for your viewers (i.e., tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them). Put all of these pieces into a good project management software where you can track the objectives through making the video and your learners’ movements through the system. Click here for comparisons of great project management software from TechnologyAdvice.
Don’t forget that old adage: The medium is the message. How you convey content is just as important as the content itself. If you’re new to creating elearning and videos, and maybe more than a little nervous about it, the well-defined objectives you’ve probably already created can point you to the most effective video approach.
Shoot the video!
Two video approaches build off tools that are known to just about everyone: PowerPoint (or other slide presentation programs) and screencasting.
- Presentations – Many presentation-building programs allow you to save your deck as a video. This “starter” approach lets you maintain your default addiction to programs like PowerPoint while taking that first step toward eLearning. You can also use tools like Sway or Keynote.
- Screencasting – Simply put, this involves video recording your computer screen, generally with an audio overlay. Common uses include taking the viewer through a step-by-step process of learning a new application or conducting a product demo.
- Animations – These days you don’t have to be a developer to build animation, which allows you to easily vary content and interactivity while maintaining your core message. With the right tools – and there are lots of them, including Animaker, GoAnimate, Moovly and Wideo – you’ll be up and running.
These conventional approaches can be highly effective as long as they’re a good fit for your content and objectives.
Try other methods too. Director Steven Soderbergh shot his film Unsane entirely on an iPhone. If he can do that, you can take out your smartphone and film a two-minute microlearning video using something as simple as a whiteboard. Whatever tool you use, be sure to keep mobile in mind to ensure your video’s effectiveness on that platform.
Edit: Technology and best practices
Effective editing of both audio and video is critical for a high-quality video learning product. If you choose screencasting, you’ll find great editing tools built into most programs you use. PC-based editing tools include AVS Film Editor, Filmora and OpenShot. And there are plenty of smartphone apps as well that allow you to edit video.
If your video is largely for an online audience (versus the captive corporate variety), you’ll want to ensure people can find it. In this way, video is like any other web-based content and has to be hosted on a website, whether its your own, YouTube, Vimeo, LinkedIn, or somewhere your audience can find it. Be sure to include effective descriptions that reflect popular keywords (Google and YouTube suggest are a great free way to see what people are searching for). You’ll also want to create tags that categorize your content. Using free plugins like TubeBuddy, you can see what tags that those producing similar content are using.
There’s two final things to keep in mind when it comes to video learning:
First: No two people learn the same way. Video learning should include at least some on-screen text for those learn better by reading. More static presentations should include instructive data and images for those who favor pictures over words.
Second: While video may have a natural edge over static text, that doesn’t equate to interactivity, which is the real secret sauce. eLearning Industry recommends creating videos that feature clickable objects, hyperlinks, and hotspots. These tools can enable personalized learning paths for each user and provide tracking mechanisms that provide data on which parts of your video are most effective.
Before you know it, you’ll be ending your unhealthy obsession with the bulleted list and creating content that moves – literally and figuratively.
Laura Beerman is a writer for TechnologyAdvice. Her insights have appeared in RevCycleIntelligence, Becker’s, InformationWeek and other outlets. She has spoken nationally on population health, long-term care, and been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal for her accountable care predictions. She resides in Nashville with her Canadian husband and American kittens. You can find her on LinkedIn.