Have you noticed that your PowerPoint presentation is not as effective in capturing learners’ attention in e-learning as in your classroom-based training? Would you like to vary the materials you use? Would you like to offer content that can be accessed at any time? These are all good reasons to transform your presentation into a video. In this article, we review the advantages of this approach, the tasks involved and some tips for making a video as rich as your presentation.
Why make a teaching video?
Teaching videos meet three key criteria of e-learning: readability, interaction and content variety.
Readability: thanks to the combination of video hosting platforms like YouTube and universal formats like mp4, your video can be viewed from any device. With video, you get around the compatibility problems between applications such as PowerPoint or Adobe Acrobat Reader and mobile devices. Without these technological limitations, your module can be accessed from anywhere.
Interaction: because it takes diverse forms and can enable you to personify your training, video is intrinsically more interactive than PowerPoint. It makes it possible to vary the subjects, materials, frameworks and demonstration tools (model, pen, spreadsheet, etc.) to bring a concept, a definition or a principle to life. It encourages more comments and exchanges between the trainer and the learners.
Variety: video offers the advantage of varying the tools used. Contrary to a presentation in which you use screenshots of each software application you refer to, in your video you can simply surf between the applications in question. You can give a tutorial in real-time, show the user pathway or display the different functionalities available. Your training is concrete, in real-time and can be followed step-to-step. There is no better way of learning about an IT tool.
How to create your video?
First of all, don’t worry: you don’t need to be a film director or an editor to obtain a good result. The key thing in your approach is to know the right tools. First, ask yourself this question: are you going to film your screen, yourself or both?
Filming your screen
If you want to export your PowerPoint to a video by adding audio comments, you can do this directly from PowerPoint. Add voice notes when you display your slides and save your PowerPoint in video format.
If you are not only filming your presentation, install extensions such as Loom to film your screen. Browse your computer while the extension captures your screen and mouse movements. You can also activate the microphone and comment on what you are doing directly.
Video is now accessible, rapid and open to all. There are no barriers now concerning the equipment or technical skills required to make a perfectly good video for your audience.
As such, there is no need to invest in a camera. Your smartphone is perfectly fine, especially if you film static shots. If you are tempted by a selfie stick or a remote controller, go ahead, but don’t feel under any pressure regarding the visual quality of your video. Concentrate above all on what you are going to say, which is much more important.
If you are filming yourself and your screen at the same time, you can also use Loom, which uses your webcam and your microphone to capture both elements simultaneously. You can therefore comment on what you are doing while facing the camera or compare your screen to a physical object, for example.
Do you want to make videos with very varied content? Test Explain Everything, an online tool with various extensions to enrich the screen of your teaching video.
If you want to alternate the video of your screen with shots of yourself (or your environment), use your smartphone and spend a bit of time on editing the video.
How to enrich your video?
You don’t need very much to turn a good video into an exceptional video. How? By including the following three things:
- Variety of actors
- Smooth speech
- Suitable duration
In the same way as a quotation can liven up text, a video testimonial can be very impactful. Do you have peers, trainees or experts who can share their experience or point of view? Ask them to share their thoughts in a video. This will breathe life into your overall film and offer your learners a different tone of voice to back up what you say. This technique requires a little preparation but the effects (for learner motivation and for the interactive value of your video) are very beneficial.
Back to you. Whether you are filming yourself or your screen, be prepared. Write your script, read your text out load and learn to place your voice. While it is natural to get stuck on a certain word or sometimes run into a technical problem, it is more annoying to listen to a speech that drags on and loses its meaning. Like any module, prepare your text and your language in advance. This way, you are sure to include the key words and ideas at the right times.
The recommended duration of a training video is around 5 minutes. 5 minutes to capture the learners’ attention, keep it going and communicate the key information. 5 minutes also so as not to make a file that is too large and that would take too long to load, cancelling out all the benefits of an online video.
Now that you are trying out a new media, why not test different formats? You can make video micro-modules, film only a summary, create an interactive video or record a session with several people. Have fun, this will show in your e-learning!