Why You Should Use Videos in Your E-learning Courses

The following is a guest post by Victor Blasco, an audiovisual designer and video marketing expert. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

If you are looking for ways to improve your e-learning courses, then you’ve surely thought about using videos.

As we move onward towards a more interconnected world, video content is a key piece in figuring out the digital landscape. Why, you ask? Well, it’s simple, really. Videos are more engaging than plain text and more dynamic than still images.

People studying online are looking to get the most information in the shortest amount of time, and there’s no better tool to accomplish that than educational video content. However, ask any skilled video production company about it, and they’ll tell you that outside some specialized platforms, it is rarely being used to its fullest potential.

In this piece, we are going to talk a bit about five major reasons why you want to start introducing effective video pieces into your e-learning courses (and how to make the most out of them.)

Let’s get started!

Storytelling as An Education Device

Ever since the first cave paintings, humans have been drawn to stories. There’s just something about witnessing a character go through a situation that speaks to us on a deeper level. But when it comes to using video to overcome online learning challenges, not just any old tale will do!

There are rules and limitations to these pieces, and you need to learn to work within their framework to have them work. While not comprehensive, these tips should set you on the right path when creating videos for your e-learning courses.

1) Likable Character

Let’s start by stating that “likable” isn’t the same as ordinary. Your students need more than ordinary to focus long enough to get the message you are trying to convey across. No, when I say likable, I mean easy to get along with, to form a strong connection to them, regardless of how short the piece actually is.

Generating empathy for a piece’s character helps viewers put themselves in the character’s shoes and better understand the examples and ideas being shown. So, try to avoid generic templates for your video’s protagonists and start with the right foot by establishing them strongly in the first act.

2) An Interesting Plot Point

Here’s is where your story gets exciting! Once you’ve introduced your character, it’s time for the story (and message) to evolve. Now, you don’t have to be dramatic, but please be interesting!

All it takes is a compelling problem, a memento of crisis, or a simple dilemma whose implications affect your character. Since your audience will already feel related to your character, they cannot remain indifferent to this problem. They’ll have an easier time getting invested.

Do it right, and those interesting plot points will spur curiosity and boost engagement in your video.

3) Finish strong with the Takeaway

Remember all those children’s stories that ended with a clear-cut moral lesson? It was an effective formula for thousands of years for a good reason!

The ending of your piece should sum up what your character, and thus your audience, learned from the story. It’s the third act of your video, in which you explain the goal of your video and lay down your lesson.

More Information in Less Time

Videos condense and convey information more efficiently than other media, leading to faster learning. Just look at the explainer video formula, for instance. They are the best examples of short pieces that provide a simple answer to a complex problem. And they work perfectly whether you’re trying to explain a complex concept or going over the steps of a process.

Longer videos tend to lose the attention span of your audience sooner or later, which is why you want to keep your videos as short as possible — condensing your most important messages within the first few minutes.

And whenever you’re going way over the 4-minute mark, remember to end with a summary of the main points you want the audience to walk away with.

Are you dealing with a very long course? Don’t panic! You can always separate it in short-format videos. This way, you can also improve the planning of your course by setting short-term goals.

Oh, and on the topic of attention…

Video Increases Message Retention

Video has many advantages over any of the traditional types of content, but this is one of the most powerful.

Videos give you the creative freedom to use a whole range of visual aids like simple animations, sound queues, charts… it’s your call! Creative use of visual aids will have your piece feel more engaging and fresher.

That said, this is also where it gets tricky. Keep your content well-structured and never lose focus on the objectives of the course. Use as many resources as you want, but be careful not to overdo it! Aids should always help your audience in their learning without becoming a distraction!

Your best pal to make sure you hit the sweet spot? Editing. We can’t stress enough how essential editing is for making your video look professional. A dynamic and clean editing style will make your video cohesive and adds to the learning experience, not detract from it.

Empathy and Emotional Resonance

“Feelings” is not a topic we usually consider when it comes to teaching, but you should never underestimate the role emotions play in our learning. Making an emotional connection with your audience is key, especially if you want your message to stick with them long after the content is over.

After all, it’s most likely that you’ll remember the teachers that made you feel something, as opposed to those that merely droned on.

Your educational videos will be more effective at engaging your audience if you get emotions into the mix. You can use imagery that causes a strong sense of familiarity in your viewers. Or you can highlight how your lessons can have a direct impact on your viewers’ everyday life.

Either way, you must remember that your audience will always react to content that makes them feel something. People remember feelings stronger than facts – Combine both, and you’ll have a powerful mix in your hands.

Accessibility and Availability are Key

In this day and age, you can stream high-quality videos on any computer, tablet, or smartphone from almost anywhere. This means that while using video, your audience will have access to your lessons from practically everywhere and at all times. Can you think of a more convenient and flexible way of teaching?

Accessibility will motivate your students to incorporate your courses into their daily routine. People even use the term “m-learning” (or mobile learning) when talking about learning using personal electronic devices. Being able to learn through a mobile device seems like a fantastic and utopian idea… and it’s real!

This also sets a couple of technical requirements for your video. First of all, it might be a good idea to include subtitles, since you never know the audio quality of the device used by your audience. Also, optimizing the technical aspects of your piece (resolution, file size) is also a great idea, as it makes it easier for your audience to download or stream.

In Short

If you’re looking for a way to boost engagement in your e-learning courses, then video is the answer. Audiences are drawn to well-structured audiovisual experiences, with professional editing and an effective way of communicating.

We all know that a bad or boring lesson can bring our hopes down and make us abandon that passion for learning about something altogether.

Video can give you an excellent medium to prevent that from ever happening!

Author’s Bio: Victor Blasco is an audiovisual designer, video marketing expert, and founder/CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos. Besides running the business, he’s a lifelong student of Chinese philosophy and a passionate geek for all things sci-fi.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

E-Learning Trends for the New School Year

As we near the start of the 2016-2017 school year, let’s take a look at what researchers at Aurion Learning predicted would be the e-learning trends for 2016. How are we holding up? Did their predictions hold? What can we do to make sure we meet all of these expectations before the close of the calendar year? Click on their infographic below for more information.

10 eLearning Trends to Watch in 2016 Infographic

For more information and a great webinar on e-Learning trends, visit AurionLearning.com.

 

Source: AurionLearning.com

 

An Essential Guide to Videos for a Flipped Classroom

39267299_sSince 2007, flipped classrooms have gradually risen in popularity as a mode of education throughout the country. Students and teachers alike have embraced the concept of maximizing class time with an instructor to work with and understand new concepts as opposed to introducing material which students are expected to comprehend at home. Instead, students are introduced to ideas during “homework” and complete school work during class when the instructor is available to assist them.

Instructor made videos are a primary way through which faculty “teach” students at home. As opposed to assigning reading about the topic or directing students to online resources, instructor made videos are a fantastic way to instruct students in a personable manner. But many instructors do not know how to create such videos or how to distribute them to their students.

John Bregmann and Aaron Sams, pioneers in the flipped classroom experience, outline simple and easy-to-use video tools in their article, Flipped-Learning Toolkit: Let’s Talk Tech on Edutopia.org. Popular solutions which they detail include:

  • Screencasting
  • Tablet Software
  • Document Camera-Based Solutions
  • Camera-Based Solutions

For more information and to learn how to improve your flipped classroom check out this article here.

Video Animation in an Online Course

tv photoThis title might seem like an anomaly. Animation brings to mind silly cartoons and juvenile programming. Animation, however, can be an appealing and advantageous supplement in an online classroom.

Here are five great benefits of using animated videos:

  1. Create a “trailer” for your course – Spark interest. Show by example that the course will be dynamic and exciting, not a simple correspondence course.
  2. Demonstrate professionalism – Fireworks and special effects are not enough to grab a student’s interest. While students value technology, they appreciate technology that makes sense. A video animation tool assists you in merging your logic and creativity to produce a clean and exciting delivery of your ideas.
  3. As an assignment – An instructor needs to evaluate a student’s progress. Generally, evaluations are conducted in the forms of writing responses. The assignment to create a short, animated film can be a different and compelling way to encourage student involvement and assess student progress.
  4. As collaboration – Group work is always important. Videos can be produced in groups and easily shared through many social media. This can generate stimulating discussion about the subject matter.
  5. Provide visual instruction – Educators know that it is important to teach to all types of learners; audial learners, visual learners, and kinesthetic learners. Animated videos can serve as visual and audial instruction and even create a broader learning experience.

Video Animation Tools

Though it may look difficult, it is easy for instructors to produce professional-looking videos. Check out these five video animation tools which empowers design novices to create incredible productions.

  1. VideoScribe – This tool specializes in whiteboard animation, a very popular promotional animation style. Images are drawn on screen imitating what an instructor might do on a whiteboard in front of the classroom. VideoScribe can be accessed on a computer, iPhone, iPad, Android, and Kindle.
  2. Go Animate – This tool aims to give their customers a professional style videos which are easy and fun to create. Users can choose themes, backgrounds, music, and even animated characters to enhance the presentation.
  3. Wideo – With the ability to choose pre-existing templates or start from scratch, Wideo users can take advantage of the intuitive interface to easily create modern and sleek animation.
  4. PowToon – This animation tool strives to enable users to design exciting and professional videos. Recognizing the importance of education, PowToon also specializes in enabling and training teachers to use it in their classrooms.
  5. Moovly – Complete with state-of-the art animation features, Moovly can students and teachers with special deals and educational licenses in order to harness its functions in the classroom.

How do you use video animation in your online classroom?

7 Tips for Linking Videos to an Online Course

video cameraEverybody loves videos. Whether feature films or short, creative clips, they are viewed as a way to spark interest and take a break from the usual classroom rhythm.

The nature of an online classroom is ideal for video use. Instructors can easily link videos to the course and enable their students to learn beyond a limited text. However, if not implemented correctly, videos can be a roadblock which bring frustration prevent learning.

Here are seven tips to enhance your use of videos in your online classroom.

  1. Serve a purpose – Videos can be exciting and flashy, but make sure that they truly add something to the course. Inform the students why the video is important and what they can expect to gain from watching it.
  2. Accessible – A fantastic video will not be of any benefit if the students cannot view it. If you used the video in a previous semester, check that the link still works. Also, be sure that it can be played on different types of computers and operating systems.
  3. Appropriate length – A video needs to be just the right length to keep a student’s attention and to communicate the purpose of the clip.
  4. Engaging – A video is not necessarily engaging. Although it can be a break from the norm and be exciting because of special features, be sure that it is not boring. Try to find a clip which brings students in and motivates them to watch it until the end.
  5. Interactive – Just like an instructor might provide instructions for a guided reading, arrange a dynamic element to the assignment. Strategies could include things like a quiz at the conclusion of the clip, a response paper, or even something creative to keep students on track (think “Where’s Waldo?).
  6. Take advantage of the internet – The internet offers many educational video resources. Some websites like AcademicEarth, BigThink, and TED-Ed (learn more about TED-Ed here) offer great options. Also, many YouTube channels specifically focus on academic fields.
  7. Know about copyright – Be aware of each linked video’s copyright status. This information can often be found in the “Terms of Use”

How do you use videos in your online classroom?

Sources:

Lights, Camera, Learn!: Five tips for using video in eLearning by Veronica Phillips on eLearnMagazine.org

8 tips for creating video in online learning by Meris Stansbury on eCampusNews.com

Learner Interactivity in a Synchronous Classroom

In this interesting presentation, Claudia Dornbusch of Facilitador.com demonstrates how to promote learner interactivity in a synchronous classroom. Topics include maximizing visual and whiteboard potential, chat and breakout sessions, and polls and audio discussions.

While these suggestions are intended for employee training sessions, the concepts can be implemented in higher level higher education as well.

 

E-learning: How to deliver an engaging Virtual Classroom presentation by Claudia Dornbusch

 

Pearson’s School of Thought Series: Simone’s Story

Pearson’s Research & Innovative Network has produced a series of videos entitled “School of Thought” which depict Pearson’s vision for the future of education.

Watch the video below to see how a fictitious Simone takes a MOOC. Simone makes use of 21st-century tech tools and concepts including augmented reality, gamification, geolocation, a dynamic dashboard, personalized learning, and learning analytics.

To see Pearson’s vision for middle school and high school students, watch the other videos from the School of Thought series.