How to Add Video to eLearning on a Budget

There’s no doubt video is an essential component in your eLearning tool box. Video can enhance learning retention by accommodating multiple learning styles, including aural, visual, verbal, and even kinesthetic learning styles. So, more people can be positively impacted by your online training programs.

Video camera operatorIf you want a polished, corporate look to your videos, be ready to spend time researching the art of film-making and video-editing, building a studio, and buying professional equipment. Or hire professionals. Either way, your training budget might not accommodate these costs. Fortunately, DIY-type videos are do-able for amateurs. And they may even be a better fit for your online training program if your content doesn’t benefit from the fully polished look. (“DIY” doesn’t have to mean “sloppy”!)

Use YouTube, but in a Controlled Way

Need to learn something quickly and without fuss? YouTube is a great source of information in ready-made video format. You can easily search for useful information on YouTube. And if you don’t find what you need, you’ve not lost any money as the content is free.

You may, however, have lost time by viewing uninformative videos or by getting distracted by off-topic videos. Therefore, why not incorporate the YouTube videos that you already know are relevant to your learners in an online course? Then, you can curate the video content yourself, add background commentary, and take advantage of LMS training management features (invitations, tracking, reporting, etc.) to better manage the learning experience.

And, encourage your learners to send you relevant YouTube videos you may have missed. It’s a great way to involve everyone in the learning conversation and add to organizational knowledge growth.

Animated Video and Infographics: There’s an App for That

With the explosion of apps and tools available today, adding animated video to online training is easier than you think.

Tools like Powtoon and GoAnimate enable animated video creation in a matter of minutes to a few hours—videos that are fully ready to be inserted into your online course. Look at the video samples on those sites. Yes, those are the same animated videos that you’ve seen all over the web, you’ve enjoyed, and you’ve been wondering if you could easily make one for your projects.

With these same tools, considering going the direction of animated infographics. Animated infographics are an excellent method for turning data into a visual-compelling learning nugget that learners will sit up, notice, and absorb. Use infographics to explain complex ideas and inspire creativity and critical thinking.

Film the People in Your Office Doing the (Important) Things They Do Daily

When you think of the myriad of critical tasks successfully completed each day at work that could be recorded for training purposes, it may give you the impetus to just go ahead and start filming. Even with a simple set up, such as an iPad/iPhone and an external microphone, you can easily capture these learning moments on video. Video editing software is now basically plug-and-play (think iMovie for iPad/ iPhone).

People use these set ups for creating home videos, so chances are there are people in your workplace who already have the skill set needed to create videos at work. Leverage these people and their skills. As we all know, the act of creating content yourself fosters learning.  Involve your co-workers or your target learners in the video design and content creation process. Hold a group design session—a good way to get people to collaborate, discuss, learn, and anticipate taking your online courses. Or, consider launching a contest, asking your co-workers or learners to post short videos on topics of interest or need. Incorporate “winning” content into your online programs.

Ideas for When to Use Video

Informal videos (by “informal” I mean videos made by those of us who are not in the film production industry), can bring an element of fun and change up the learning experience in online training.

Try using video for one or more of the following:

  • Step-by-Step or How To Instruction: Capture a subject matter expert or experienced employee performing a task. The video can be downloaded for performance support.
  • Observe Human Behavior in a Non-Threatening Way: Videos provide a great way for learners to observe human behavior (constructive and not) and the effect of these behaviors in the workplace in a simulated and safe environment. This promotes discussion without the need to embarrass learners into admitting that their own behavior may need self-correction.
  • Onboarding and Mentoring: Film experienced personnel giving advice and tips to new hires on the things they really need to know in their first 90 days to be successful on the job.
  • Product Demo: Think “webinar”, without the webinar filler material. Focus on how the product works, and perhaps more importantly, how the learner can use the product to meet her job objectives.
  • Customer Testimonials: Testimonials and case studies are useful for helping people understand how the learning content can be applied on-the-job, and for building trust in the learning material.
  • Add Interactivity: Make your video content interactive, by inserting quizzes and surveys into your online course.

Generally speaking, don’t bother videotaping in-person company meetings or other presentations that include a live audience. There are exceptions (like TED Talks); however, most of these venues have too much filler, background noise, and irrelevant goings-on that are unnecessary for a remote viewer to have to sit through. You may want to record these events and store for people to view later, but these events often don’t contribute to excellent online learning experiences in and of themselves.

And remember, if you can’t hear the audio in the video recording, don’t use the video clip. If the video capture result is sloppy, it won’t be useful to your audience. And you don’t want that sloppy learning experience captured for posterity in your online course.

Just Start Creating

As with most projects, success follows when you start small. Start with short videos, as they’re quicker to script, design, film/create, and edit. (And, who has time to watch overly long videos, anyway?)

Of course, you still need great design and content in order to build an excellent online learning experience. And, there may be instances where you will want to hire professionals. But, perhaps professional help may not be needed as often as you had previously thought.

Have you created video content for your online courses? What tools have you used? And how have you used video to enhance learning outcomes and learner retention?

Gauri Reyes is a talent developer and learning leader with extensive experience in roles ranging from software management to managing the learning function in organizations. She is Principal Learning Strategist and CEO at Triple Point Advisors and Founder of the YOUth LEAD program. Follow her on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.

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