by Dean Hawkinson
One of the growing trends in eLearning and mLearning these days is the use of video. Video, when used properly, can be a very effective tool in supporting the learning process, whether as a part of an eLearning course or as standalone videos delivered via mobile devices. I have been involved in several training projects that included video, and thought I would offer some thoughts around best practices and cautions when using video in an eLearning course.
When using video within an eLearning or mLearning course, it is important to keep it relatively short. In my experience, I have found that a single course should be no more than 30 minutes in order to keep the learner’s attention. As such, video should be short enough to be one of the supporting pieces of the overall course. For mLearning delivery via mobile devices, video is a very effective way to deliver a quick message as a standalone delivery, and I’ve found it works best when kept to 5-10 minutes for each clip.
For this article, I would like to focus on video in an eLearning course. Here are some ways that video can play a role in your courses:
- Introduction or closing thoughts from leadership – For a course introducing a new product or program that you need to get your learners excited about, an introductory (or closing) video from your company’s senior leadership is a great way to get them motivated about what they are about to learn.
- Demonstrate right and wrong behavior – A great example of this would be for a retail sales organization where you can show video of a customer interacting with a sales associate. Video is effective in showing both correct and incorrect behavior, and the use of humor for the incorrect behaviors can be very effective!
- Introduce a behavior then test on reaction – Building on the customer interaction idea, using video to show part of the interaction and stopping to solicit the correct response from the learner is a great way to test knowledge and provide some practice in the process.
Let’s take a look at some reasons that support using video in your eLearning courses.
- Breaks up monotony and “page turning” – We have all gone through eLearning courses that put us to sleep with “read…click…read…click…read…click…,” right? Video can enhance the learner’s overall experience by breaking up the monotony and can even introduce some entertainment to the learning.
- Great way to show senior leadership support of program – It shows that the program or product you are introducing is supported by senior leadership, adding to its credibility.
- Actual demonstration of right and wrong behavior without needing an instructor/facilitator – Video allows eLearning to provide instruction on these behaviors without the need for a live instructor or demonstration.
Alright, so we have talked about some ideas for using video and the benefits. However, using video is not without challenges. Here are a few:
- Budget – Shooting a video requires equipment, skills, and resources beyond what is required for a typical eLearning course, resulting in a greater cost to produce the course.
- Editing can take a while – Using video in your course does not exactly support rapid design and development. Depending on the complexity of the videos, editing can take quite a lot of time and resources to complete.
- Logistics of scheduling the video shoot, resources, actors, etc. – Shooting video includes scheduling a time when all of your resources are available, obtaining a location for the shoot, and securing actors in some cases.
- Where to house the video – Software such as Lectora allows you to imbed your videos directly in the course itself. Using the .FLV video format works best with Lectora but you will need to consider your authoring tool and delivery method to determine the best format to use. However, if you are unable to imbed the video and need to link to it, you need an external server to house the video.
These are just a few points about using video in your eLearning course. Do you have other experiences with using video that you would like to share?