eLearning can be described as interactive digital learning solutions, that provide endless possibilities for unique learner experiences from any smart device – at any time and any place. We have in previous blog posts covered many focused topics around the broad term of eLearning, but today our focus will be on using videos, or to be more precise “explainer” videos in eLearning.
There are more and more cloud-based tools available for easy video editing, but also for creating explainer videos with a built-in asset library of objects, characters, actions, motion path options, music, text to speech and existing, ready to use templates.
Using explainer videos can be beneficial for the intro and outro parts of the course, to make learners highly engaged in the content that will be consumed. The question is how to balance them with videos without any interactivity as well as written content which can be presented in many engaging formats? And what technical aspects should you keep in mind?
To start off with finding the balance – even though videos are easier to consume, you need to pay attention to your target audience. If the videos present the content only using visual and audio cues, how can you make sure that everyone will understand every point presented? It’s important to know in what kind of environment your learners will be consuming the training – is it in an open space in a busy environment? Is it for native speakers or for a multinational environment? Besides the language barrier, there is a high possibility that some of the people consuming the course will have certain disabilities or health problems that need to be taken into account. For example, people with hearing loss, epilepsy, vestibular problems, etc. The visual aspect shouldn’t be very busy to make sure it is suitable for a large number of diverse groups. For those who are hard of hearing or deaf, you need to make sure that the text of the scenario or scene with narration is available – maybe via hovering over an icon, or providing captions/subtitles.
These are only some of the aspects you need to consider before starting with the instructional design process. Explainer videos must be planned well in advance. Creating scenarios with narration using the text provided by your Subject Matter Expert is a challenging task. The transition between them should be meaningful, with concrete subjects explained. Don’t forget to edit in an outro for each video (fade out for example).
The technical implementation is also very important. The first step is to decide on the slide/canvas size. If you are building videos and intend on importing them into any eLearning authoring tool like Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, iSpring – start with the slide settings in the tool itself first. Once you’re happy with your decision and you know how your LMS presents content in the best way – proceed with the video settings. It’s important that the video canvas size follows the slide size in the tool you’re using. It is also good to have a slide with navigation explanation before the videos start: how to proceed, where to enable captions, how to pause and resume. Additional tips on how to avoid technical issues in case the videos freeze mid-lesson, for example by adding a hint at the beginning of the training. This will save a lot of time in technical support after the course is published. Make sure to test your training on your LMS (create a test course which will be inactive for learners) because published projects don’t always behave the way you expected, or how they behave in the preview mode. It’s good to have at least one more person go through the course as well. If your eLearning consists only of videos without any assessment – make sure your tracking settings in the project file are set properly. They should differ from the ones where you have final quiz or pre-checks. Keep in mind that eLearning development isn’t only about doing the creative work, but also making sure that it works seamlessly for the learners.
Author: Milica Bulatovic