eLearnz eLab in focus: building video into elearning
Video is a powerful tool for elearning – it’s such a simple way to show, change or tell a story – but many of us have felt intimidated by the costs involved and the skills needed.
In the past those fears were well founded, but now there are tools available at low cost and that need few expert skills. Camtasia is one that we like, so we wanted to include it at this year’s eLearnz eLab.
The event is going to be a fantastic chance for elearning developers to try out new tools, share ideas with friends and colleagues, and get expert guidance from the experts who’ll be facilitating our workshops.
Agata Oleksiak will be our Camtasia expert at eLearnz, so we asked her to explain what she loves about the tool and what you’ll be learning in her workshop.
What’s great about Camtasia?
You can create professional looking instructional videos with minimal budget and in no time! Anyone can use it: if you want to try out video as a training tool, it’s a great way to get started.
One of the most common ways to use Camtasia is to do screen recordings (and you can add voiceovers too) but you can bring in material from other sources too, and even record in PowerPoint using an add-on. You can then add in annotations and quizzes, so it’s ideal for software demos.
Camtasia has some clear advantages over its competitors. For example, you can add multiple audio tracks and remove background noise. There’s also no time limit on your videos.
Once you get more confident you’ll see how much you can create in Camtasia, but it’s fine to keep things simple – short videos that learners can take in easily are more effective, after all.
What will the workshop focus on?
It’s aimed at beginners. Everyone will be able to work on a project of their choice, learning by test driving Camtasia on something that’s relevant to them.
Of course, it’s possible to learn tools such as Camtasia through web tutorials and trial and error, but this is time consuming and it’s easy to miss great features this way. I’ll be on hand to give instant feedback and point out features you can try out, including ways to make your project engaging and accessible.
What do I need to prepare?
Just bring a few ideas for video projects to the workshop plus any footage you’d like to include. Read the tips below for some ideas on how to make the most of your project.
Agata’s top video tips
- Don’t make videos too long or too pervasive. They should contain short chunks of information that can be easily absorbed to capture learners’ attention and keep them engaged. Determine the correct length based on the content: as a guideline, anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes is fine.
- Videos should be compressed so that users can easily download them over a slow internet connection, and make sure they’re downloadable from multiple locations.
- Voiceovers work well for ‘how-tos’ – but make sure you add closed captions for accessibility.
- I love screen captures too. Use them to build in interactivity with guided simulations, in which you lead the learner through via questions and answers.
Got a question about video in elearning? Let us know in the comments below so we can address it at the workshop.