Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The Importance of Video in e-Learning

Let’s consider distance education for a bit. First there were correspondence courses. You know – read a bunch of stuff, write a bunch of stuff, and your instructor mails you your grade. Sometimes in the setting of a correspondence course there was media involved such as things like audiocassette tapes or VHS videotapes. These audio and video media types took the edge off of correspondence courses and many students found these courses to be slightly less boring due to the variety of media used. Then there was e-Learning: where student-to-instructor and student-to-student interaction could be enhanced. Also, eLearning courses pushed the envelop of media choices because all of a sudden computers were involved. All kinds of things arrived: flash animations, java objects, PowerPoint slides, YouTube videos, podcasts, and even synchronous video chats. We have had this plethora of media choices to inject variety into eLearning courses for over 10 years now, but do most professors use them? In my experience, no. The barrier to the creation of these media objects still feels insurmountable for some instructors. Luckily, there are many “how-to” articles around the Internet that can help. But before you run into the production of your video, do a bit of research on best practices. Alison Bickford from the Connect Thinking for the e-Learning Academy reminds us that to be effective at performance support, the user will expect video “to be short, succinct and supported by visuals.” I agree with that very wise recommendation. It’s almost common sense; however, people can still miss the mark. Have a look at her short 7-minute video on Video for Organization Learning. It’s great.
If you are interested in knowing more about how to actually produce your video then Alison has a follow up video that will give you a good overview. Take special note at the 6-minute mark of this second video as she presents a great table containing the Do’s and Don’ts for video production. In addition, she has this great blog post about how to use Camtasia and PowerPoint to make video for your students.
Do you have any ideas about using video in web-based courses? If so, let us know by leaving a comment below.

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