Instructional Design

Extreme Makeover, Video Edition: Implementation and Best Practices for eLearning Videos

Since there has been eLearning, there have been eLearning videos. And why not? A natural fit for a variety of eLearning types, videos can help foster higher engagement levels, create an emotional connection to the subject matter and quite frankly, spice up what would be an otherwise lackluster topic. But for every example of stellar video implementation, there’s probably a few that could stand to undergo a bit of a media makeover. Rethink the way you see video as a method for engagement, enhancement and ultimately, learning.

Status Update

Who says you have to save video for social occasions? Sure, a full video production will cost you, but that doesn’t mean video can’t be used as a regular tool as part of your eLearning strategy. Consider this scenario: A sales manager needs to share the latest status meeting with her team. She could type up a memo or report and send it via email, but not everyone will open the attachment to read through. Instead, she could set up a quick video with her smartphone, film a two-minute status update and hit “share” for an alternative to the usual. More team members watch the video (perhaps on their mobile devices), score the information and can go on with their day.

It’s incorrect to assume that video eLearning automatically has to break the bank. By integrating video utilizing tools your team already has in-hand, it can be a quick and cost-friendly way to share.

Bookending Modules

Another way to cut costs and make video eLearning more accessible is via “bookending.” It’s a technique whereby the eLearning module is flanked by a short video clip, before and after the actual subject matter is presented. In this way, learners are automatically engaged with the material before it begins, as well as getting a personal follow-up once the module has been finished. When a large block of video training is out of reach, bookending reaps the same benefits with less time and money.

eLearning Video Best Practices

Before you start shooting videos with your iPhone or writing scripts for your spokesperson, there are a few things that separate “good” videos from the very best, no matter your scope or budget. Keep these in mind going forward to rethink the utilization of video in your eLearning program.

  1. Look who’s talking. Before you hire a random voice actor to read your video script, remember that who’s talking really matters in terms of expertise, enthusiasm and engagement. The best person to provide voice or face time on a video series is someone who knows and is highly passionate about the subject matter. That expertise and passion can then be conveyed to the learners through everything from body language to voice cadence and facial expressions.
  2. Have a script. Definitely have a script in mind, even if your spokesperson is a total pro. It acts as a roadmap for your expert. Just be sure to leave a little room for adlibbing and a generous injection of personality so your on-camera pro stays loose and comfortable.
  3. Leave room for graphics. Beware of a video that takes up the whole screen. While videos are generally pretty engaging, reinforcing what the expert is saying with text, graphics and other media on the same screen can help learners gain a better grasp on the subject matter.

By all means, continue utilizing video as part of your custom eLearning strategy. But think outside the video tutorial when it comes to making video a part of consistent and constant learning and you’ll find that it has more applications than basic training.