Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why is video soooo popular? Because it now works....

I have been reflecting on my long journey of late, through the world of elearning and the other day had a conversation about online video and how, when I was a young instructional designer, talking head video was a real no-no for CBT programs as the learners attention could not be maintained (for want of a number of other arguements)

But now video is a wonderful social element that brings alive a documented opinion that before was only available in text or audio.

Several years ago, video streaming was very limited due to the slow dial-up connections and the occasional cable most people were running. Nowadays, broadband Internet access is very common and many people have even incredibly fast connections to the Internet. Now, with these fast Internet connections, people can watch videos from services like YouTube, Hulu, Vimeo, and Metacafe with ease. If we were still running dial-upit would not be possible.

Aside from streaming TV shows, movies, and homemade social videos, people create videos for learning that either run in a channel or on their main page to get the point across of a prescribed learning situation or opinion they have. Again, this is only possible because Internet speeds have become so fast. Lets face it, we hardly even notice video ads anymore.

It would appear that blended learning environments can only prosper from the use of video.

For example, using videos is one of effective ways to introduce particular language points that need to be practised in classroom when teaching languages. A teacher can stress out on pronunciation. Using videos will facilitate better understanding and recognition of English sound, intonation, and stress pattern. A teacher can make students practice on using certain grammar rules, such as past tense, present continuous, and perfect.

In elearning I think there are a number of usages and considerations such as:

  • Vignettes of experts providing advice/tips as it relates to the course’s content. Most usually place the video in a box in the corner with a play button. Once the user reads the content they can then “hear from as expert.” FYI: I want the video to add to the content, not overshadow it.
  • Narration - a talking head can narrate each page. Personally, I am still not a big fan of this. It annoys me and I end up turning the sound off. Giving users the option of turning the sound off and moving forward without listening the entire narration is good practice. You can also show a narrator’s full body imposed over the page and have them walking about the screen and pointing out specific elements of the content using green screening. Effective but costly.
  • Demonstrations of psycho-motor activities. For example, assembling a widget. Tying a complex knot etc
  • Showing scenarios. For example, how customer service is executed properly or perhaps how it is not executed properly. Creating stopping points where the user makes decisions and the video branches dependent upon the user’s choices adds wonderful interactive choices. That is a lot of work on your end, but if done right it enhances the instructional design.
  • Simulations - adding a moving setting or background to your simulations, for example, the interior of a store, building or factory adds an element of realism, like customers coming and going, machines moving, etc.
But by far and away one of the most wonderful advents of our time is the amount of content that is now free and available through some of the most hallowed learning institutions of our times and the fact that it will peak peoples interest in learning is both commendable and sensible as the search for new skills and capabilities begins in earnest for the next century.

Why is video popular... it works!

Here are some of my favourite channels from universities in the USA:

University Channels

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