Video often forms an important part of e-learning . Whether its a recording of the instructor, a video slide show or an outside resource, moving images remain some of the most compelling content on a number of learning management systems and online training software. Making video work effectively though is always more than a matter of a few clicks. Indeed, research has shown that our brains are often at their lowest level of functionality when they are watching TV. So while videos can be compelling, they can also limit learning unless used correctly by following these four simple rules.
1) Keep it Short – After 20 minutes a learner’s attention can start to drift. If you are using video, try and break it up in sections 20 minutes long or less with interactive components in between. This will keep learners at peek performance and give them the opportunity to reinforce what they have learned. It also ensures that videos don’t become the main focus. It means that your interactive components continue to shine and stand out.
2) Make Videos Active, Rather than Passive Activities – Keeping videos active is also achievable by using activities or worksheets during the video to keep learners on their toes. The work need not be difficult or complex, but rather should draw them back to the video for simple content based information. The basic understanding can then be expanded and deepened with questions focused on relating the information to other modules in the course or by asking them to think critically about the content.
3) Use Videos to Enrich, Not Establish, Understanding – Videos work best to support and enrich understanding. Learners who are forced to use videos to establish initial understanding often miss some of the broader points. Consequently videos work best after the concept has been introduced and given a general overview. Situate your videos in the middle or in the later third of a course to maximize their efficacy. At the beginning they are little more than a tease and don’t enhance learning.
4) Discussion, Discussion, Discussion – If you do put videos in as a teaser, it can still help further your pedagogical objectives. Videos are also a great conversation starter. Be sure to encourage learners to discuss their ideas or understanding of the video in forums and in online chats. You can provide feedback or additional thought to enrich their understanding before moving on to deeper considerations of the content.
These easy tips can help make sure that your video e-learning content always hits its mark. Following them will make sure that your learners get the most out of videos, limitations and all.