It is true that videos put learners in a temporary passive role and that they lack interactivity. However, videos can provoke discussions, invite learners to analyze and think, be re-watched as many times as needed, contain smaller chunks of information which are easier to absorb, emotionally engage people, include websites, pictures, maps, captions and so many more. After all, the ability of visual stimuli to communicate is indisputable.
How to effectively use videos in eLearning
- Videos shouldn’t be overused or long. They should contain short chunks of information that can be easily absorbed, be more memorable than a text and emphasize on all the key points.
- Videos should be compressed, so that users than easily download them, even through a slow Internet connection.
- Videos should be short, thought provoking and well focused in order to capture learners’ attention and keep them engaged.
- Videos are particularly effective when they can demonstrate the “how-to” or “how-to-not”, especially when the eLearning course revolves around customer service and sales. You should try to incorporate immersive scenarios and high-impact storylines to provide a better sense of realism.
- Videos should be interactive, in order to keep the audience engaged, involved and focused on the points you want to highlight. If the video is not or cannot be interactive, then make sure you follow it up with a brief summary of the main points, so your audience can retain all the necessary information.
- Videos should be well produced, with good quality sound, imaging and acting. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they should cost a fortune. But a good quality video with a powerful content will make your students admire your professionalism and will certainly capture their focus.
- If budget is not an issue, try to use real actors instead of employees and make sure you give them crystal clear instructions about what to say and how you want them to interpret their part.
- Make sure the videos are downloadable from multiple e-locations, like your school’s intranet, on your Facebook’s group page, or even on YouTube. This way your audience can watch it as many times as needed, from the privacy of their home, or while working outside the company premises, to refresh their memory without having to reread the entire eLearning course.
- You can incorporate a video in your eLearning course in the beginning, the middle or the end of it, for a dramatic effect. You can either make a powerful introduction to demonstrate your commitment to the learning objectives, use it for an exercise or illustrate the “how-to”, or for a memorable closure, grabbing the attention of your audience and summarizing your key points.
- Last but not least, try to be creative. A sloppy job can never be well received. Think about how TV programs are shot, their plot, background music and editing. Different camera angles, smooth or more intense music, actors who emphasize on the points you want to get across, good lighting and a tight scenario will be the parameters that will make a big difference and a powerful impression.