How to Pick the Right Approach to Creating Video Learning

Video is everywhere online nowadays. Whether it’s cats, sports highlights, or funny skits that everyone forwards around the office, video is one of the most popular ways to consume content online.

And e-learning isn’t missing out on this trend. Video learning is super popular because it’s a great way to easily develop content that builds a personal connection with learners. It also allows people to show, not just tell or describe, something that’s key for learners to understand.

Video can serve as stand-alone content, or as a component of interactive e-learning (a demo followed up with practice exercises and assessments, for instance). There are different approaches to creating video learning, and each can be appropriate for different situations. Let’s take a look at how you might choose the right approach for any setting.

Creating Software Training with Screen Capture

When you’re showing learners how to work with software, websites, or other computer apps, it can be helpful to capture your screen as you walk them through the process. That way you can give them a specific tour that’s true to life.

You can use free tools such as Quicktime to record your screen and microphone while you walk learners through content. Or you can work with a more powerful tool, such as Articulate Replay. Replay even lets you record your computer’s webcam at the same time as your screen activity, so you can add some personality to your screencast.

Some folks choose to record the screen activity and audio simultaneously to make sure the timing is perfectly synced—but others find it too challenging to try to get both right at the same time! You’ll want to test out both approaches and see what’s best for you.

When you’ve got a finished video, you can share it as is in your learning management system (LMS), or just share links via email. Or, if you want to let learners interact with the video, you can use the software simulation tools in Articulate Storyline 2 to add interactivity.

Here are some helpful resources on creating software simulations and screen capture videos:

How to Decide Between DIY and Professional Videography

When you’re moving beyond the realm of software training, you’ll likely want to capture people, equipment, and activities on screen in a compelling and realistic way. But you don’t have to hire pro video producers to create every video. You can use something as simple as your smartphone, your laptop’s camera, or an inexpensive video recorder to record video clips to share. Or, you might decide to start accumulating some professional equipment to create more professional training videos with an affordable approach. Then again, you might decide to go whole hog and hire pros!

So, when is the right time to use a quick, DIY approach, and when should you invest in more planning, preparation, and production value? Here are some questions to ask yourself to make the right choice for your situation:

  • Are you in a rush? If time is of the essence, a smartphone video might be the best way to go. If, for example, your company has a last-minute change to a product or service, you can record a manager giving a demo with your smartphone and get it out to learners the same day.
  • Will this video be available to the public? When you’re creating an external product training video, or something that might be shared with partners and collaborators, you’ll want to ensure that the video meets the standard of professionalism and quality that your organization represents.

  • Is this video going to be around awhile? If you’re creating something that will have a lot of longevity or a wide audience, such as an onboarding welcome video, you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t look shoddy or rushed. Aim for a fresh and crisp look that won’t make you shake your head when you see it again in six months!
  • Does your video demo interpersonal skills? When you’re creating a video that models interpersonal relationships such as customer service or leadership skills, the video will fall flat if it doesn’t clearly demonstrate the ideal skills you’re aiming for. That’s when you’ll want to think carefully about planning, practicing, and producing something that makes it easy for folks to observe and learn the skills you’re teaching.

More Resources

Now that we’ve guided you through the decision-making process for picking the right approach to e-learning, here are some helpful resources to help you learn more about creating videos for learning.

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