Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. If that doesn’t make your jaw drop, then think about the fact that viewers spend twice as much time engaging with video content over text only. Video is great because it appeals to many types of learners. Here are some tips, tools, and techniques you can use to share educational footage that engages members:
1) Tell a story. Story-driven content helps learners visualize the real-life application of a topic and provides context to the learning. Story is particularly compelling when paired with video-based learning. If you’re a regular reader of our blog you already know how much we love storytelling and are probably familiar with “The Story Arc Model,” as described in this blog post from our President and Creative Director, Jack McGrath. But we feel it is important enough that we reemphasize how story can add value and increase engagement with your educational videos. Every good story has a rise and a fall, and this should be true for your educational clips too. Climactic scenes within your video-based eLearning help learners remain engaged and positively impacts knowledge retention. Need we say more?
2) Clear learning objectives. Before you decide to produce any video-based eLearning content, you should already have the information you are trying to present in mind. Setting learning objectives before you begin writing the script ensures your video will have a clear focus and meet specific learning goals. Once you’ve produced a rough cut of your video, review the content to ensure the learning objectives have been met. Ask yourself, “If I were a learner, would the materials presented enable me to meet the learning objectives, as they have been defined?” Sometimes what you intended your video to represent may not be what your audience takes away from it.
3) Ask questions. Often questions can be rhetorical but they give the learner an opportunity to think about what is being asked. An example of this concept in action would be: when television shows ask viewers a multiple choice question before cutting to a commercial break. On-screen questions within your eLearning video are particularly helpful for engaging auditory and visual learners.
4) Keep it short. Short video clips are preferable and increase learner engagement. Just like self-paced eLearning courses, it is better to keep your video-based eLearning simple and to the point, to keep the learner’s attention. For more tips on creating effective, straightforward eLearning that learners will love, I suggest reading our recent blog post, Simplify Your Learning: 5 Tips for Slimming Down.
5) Incorporate B-roll. “B-roll” is the supplemental or alternative footage intercut with the main feature or A-roll. In many raw footage films the interview or documentary is the A-roll and the B-roll is the landscape, image scrolls, or video footage that illustrates the audio of the A-roll. A common misconception is that because eLearning videos are educational, B-roll is unnecessary, and that a video clip of someone speaking on camera is enough. In reality, “talking head” videos can benefit most from a little B-roll. Keep viewers visually stimulated by showing a variety of shots and footage that corresponds with what is being said.
6) Record your screen. The ideal B-roll, depending on your content is a recorded screencast. There are some great, free tools available for recording your on-screen movements; a few that come to mind are screenr and screencast-o-matic. Take advantage of the ability to record your screen by showing things that would be difficult to explain with text or audio only. For example, a medical association could record a screencast of the mouse pointing to different parts of an organ to explain the human anatomy. Another example is showing a walk-through of computer software used for systems training. Screen shots are nothing new, but integrating them into video-based courses makes learning more enjoyable and memorable.
Video can be a powerful tool if done well. The most important advice I can give is to keep it light, upbeat, and understandable. So, the next time you begin planning an eLearning course, I hope you will consider video as a possible medium and keep these tips in mind. If you have any questions about using video to engage learners please leave me a comment below and I will be happy to answer them.
A relative newbie to the eLearning scene, Sarah is no stranger to the association and non-profit world. Before joining the “dark side,” Sarah served as a marketing and communications specialist at various organizations including the American Lung Association and the Association of Corporate Contribution Professionals. Today, Sarah serves as Digitec’s Digital Marketing Coordinator or “SM Queen” for short. In her new role, Sarah enjoys blogging, tweeting and sharing membership engagement tips for association professionals. Sarah earned certificates in non-profit and volunteer management as well as a B.A. in media and communications from Rollins College in Winter Park, FL.
Spirit animal: Lion
Comfort object: Sunglasses
Personal vice: #longhashtags ;)
Useless talent: Can fall asleep in seconds
Unreasonable paranoia: Tsunamis
Wishes more people cared about: Recycling and the environment