There is a broad range of applications for screencasts in online training, from software product demos to POS system tutorials. You can even utilize them to improve the accessibility of the online training resources themselves by creating LMS walkthroughs. You can also use them to allow corporate learners to share what’s on their screen to enhance group collaboration online training activities. Here are 8 tips to incorporate screencasts into your eLearning course design.
1. Invest In a Feature-Rich eLearning Authoring Tool
A robust eLearning authoring tool gives you the ability to record your screen, add audio, and edit the entire online presentation. Thus, creating the complete package without having to invest in additional software. Look for a feature-rich eLearning authoring tool that gives you the power to add effects and integrate elements from the built-in library, such as graphics or background music to create a more polished presentation.
2. Develop an Outline Before Hitting the Record Button
Create an outline or storyboard that highlights the key discussion points, including which features or functions you need to cover during the online presentation. If you plan on narrating your screencast, you should have a script on hand to stay on track. This will also help you achieve the right pace and tone. You may still have to re-record certain aspects of the cast if you miss important steps or forget to mention a useful tip. However, an outline makes things easier when it’s time to edit, as you have a roadmap to follow.
3. Start With An Engaging Introduction
One of the most common screencast mistakes is to simply jump into the demo without introducing the topic or task. Give corporate learners a brief overview of what’s to come and what they’ll learn by the end of the presentation. You should also mention supplemental online training courses or activities that tie into the screencast. For example, simulations that allow them to try out the new software for themselves, or online training tutorials that help them build related skills.
4. Focus on Specific Areas of the Screencast to Reduce Cognitive Overload
Most screencast tools give you the ability to focus on certain areas of the screen, such as graying out the extraneous sections or placing a box around the area in question. This helps prevent cognitive overload and distractions, as employees can concentrate on the feature or function that is most relevant. For example, devote their attention to one particular item on the bullet list that appears on the screen.
5. Choose the Ideal Recording Environment
Choose a quiet location to record your screencast and audio narration to enhance the quality of the presentation. Employees shouldn’t have to mentally block out traffic noise or chatter when they’re viewing the screencast, which can prevent them from absorbing the information and retaining it for later use. In addition, you may want to invest in a microphone and pop filter to create clear audio.
6. Concentrate on Training Gaps and Learning Objectives
Screencasts follow the same rule as any other online training resource. They need to be relevant and tie into employees’ needs. The screencast should focus on training gaps and learning objectives to enhance employee performance. Using the learning objectives as a guide, you can create a a more effective script and outline that get right to the point. For instance, you show employees how to access the system and don’t go off on tangents, such as the history of the software or the many ways that it benefits users in other industries. Employees need to know how they’re going to use the screencast in the workplace and how it will benefit them. All the other tidbits of information are extraneous clutter.
7. Conduct a Test Run
You may need to conduct at least one test round to esnure that everything goes according to plan. Have your script ready, hit the record button, and cast. Then play it back to see how it turned out. Is there any lag? Does your speech pattern sound natural? Are you going through the motions too quickly or too slowly? Ask a colleague to watch the rough draft and give their feedback. Once you have the finished product, conduct another round of user testing with a select group of corporate learners. There might be errors you overlooked or issues that negatively impact the overall experience. For instance, graphics or music that distract corporate learners from the subject matter.
8. Edit Out Background Noise and Long Pauses
We’ve all sat through at least one presentation that was riddled with white noise, lengthy pauses or other annoying audio elements. These things don’t just diminish the quality of the screencast, but the benefits your employees receive. They are so focused on the background noise that they forget about the takeaways or are simply unable to hear the narrator explain what they’re doing on the screen. For this reason, it’s crucial to conduct a thorough edit before you finalize your presentation. Ensure that the audio and visuals line up, and that it’s free of frustrating pauses or “ums”. Editing is yet another reason why you should invest in a feature-rich eLearning authoring tool. You must be able to fine-tune all the components to create a cohesive screencast presentation.
Screencasts provide employees with a visual example they can use to improve task proficience and increase sales. They ahve the ability to see your new software products in action or familiarize themselves with the new features they need to know to carry out their job duties. Use this article as a guide to create a screencast that grabs their attention, and makes the online training experience more memorable.
Christopher Pappas is founder of The eLearning Industry’s Network, which is the largest online community of professionals involved in the eLearning Industry. Christopher holds an MBA, and an MEd (Learning Design) from BGSU.
eLearning Blogger • EduTechpreneur • eLearning Analyst • Speaker • Social Media Addict
Throw out the learning objective and focus on what you want the learner to actually do.
This is key to making a good video.
It’s about focusing on the end outcome. At the end of the day you should be able to say “Yes” or “No” when evaluating if your outcome was accomplished.
And as you’re thinking about what you want your learner to do, narrow it down to one idea, one topic, or one point of focus.
By narrowing your scope, your video will be more focused, and easier to create. Your learners also benefit. They will receive clearer instruction with a more achievable outcome.
Know the End Before You Begin
If you’ve taken the last bit of advice, you know what you’re trying to achieve. Awesome!
Knowing the end now lets you figure out some critical information in your pre production planning:
Where is the video going to end up?
Knowing where the video’s final destination is important and will help you make a ton of other decisions. You should definitely make these decisions before you start creating your video.
Are you putting the video on a public channel?
If you are going public, make sure you think through the context that individuals may find your video. You may want to add extra elements that identify the product, company, or organization. It’s a small detail, but you don’t want viewers to have to guess whether the video is associated with your or not.
If you’re using an LMS, you’ll want to know what video formats your LMS supports. Are there other restrictions like file upload size? Even if you can get the video into the LMS will the end users be able to see it? Do they have speakers or headphones so they can hear the audio?
If in an LMS, do you want to use SCORM or xAPI for tracking purposes?
Not every video will require the same amount of tracking. If you do want to use SCORM or xAPI, it helps to work out what you want to know and what requirements you’ll need. Knowing this before you start making or planning your video can help guide the creation. You want to make sure you’re not shoehorning elements into your video at the end.
What size will fit perfectly in your video’s destination?
What resolution should you create your video at? Size is an essential part of making a video, and as a best practice, you should edit your video at the size you want to produce it at.
So for instance, if your video needs to be 1280 x 720, you should edit your video at 1280 x 720. For recording, you have more flexibility.
However, recordings should be proportional, and larger or the same size as the final video output.
Again, considering a 1280 x 720 output, you could record at 1280 x 720, or record at a size like 1920 x 1080. Both sizes have an aspect ratio (the ratio of the width to the height of an image or screen) of 16:9.
Are there accessibility needs for your viewers?
Do you have Deaf or hard of hearing learners that need captions to access the content? You should write a script that will act as your captions for your video or if you don’t have a script, consider having your video transcribed. This can help viewers who rely on accessibility features. It also provides viewers who don’t have a way to listen to the audio a means to still get the information in the video. If you are posting your video to a site like YouTube, captions can also play into how easily your video can be found by searching.
If so, do you want to link the viewer to another video or other content? Some sites and video players will allow you to link directly to other videos or web pages from within the video. Linking provides easy access for your viewers to related content. Or if your viewer has multiple tasks to accomplish, this can help the user to find the next video or information in the series.
Make a Plan: Don’t Pick Up the Camera First
There are a lot of other tasks to complete before starting your video. We have a lot of great resources to help you get started.
Every professional video has a script, and you need one too!
I have created a lot of videos without a script, and without fail, I will miss something, say something incorrectly, or stumble and have to redo part of the video.
Scripting is a key guide to helping you to make a better video.
Scripts have a huge influence on the video that will be created. Writing a script can take time, but can save a lot of time when you start creating your video.
By having a script, you know that you will cover everything that needs to be said in a concise and effective way. You get to craft your message and outcome.
As you create your script, try to strip out the unnecessary content.
With every sentence and word you should ask: Is this helping me to accomplish my goal?
If it isn’t, cut it. And don’t make this all a mental exercise, you or your talent needs to read the script out loud. Some things just don’t sound right when they are said out loud. The last thing you wan to do is create a sentence that turns into a tongue twister like “Sally sells seashells by the seashore.” (Say that fast 5 times!)
If you’re recording a meeting, lecture, or an interview, scripts aren’t necessary. Even in these situations, you may want to develop a solid outline, questions you’re going to ask, or a checklist to ensure the key points are covered.
If scripts tell you what to say, storyboards tell you what to show.
Storyboards are incredible time savers, and they have an important place in forcing you to think through the visuals of every part of the video.
As you think through the visuals and start to sketch them out (stick figures are perfectly acceptable), you are building a list of shots that you will need to create.
Get started by grabbing a pen and paper to doodle with.
Think of the first thing you want to show. Is it a title slide or animation? Is it an establishing shot, like a location, or your computer’s desktop? Roughly sketch that.
Next, read a little of the script, what should be shown? Maybe it’s a person who is going to talk: do you want the camera close to them, far away, between close and far? Now roughly sketch that.
You can even write down what the shot is, so you don’t forget. Can’t think of what to draw? No worries! Jot down what you want to happen, like, “Close-up shot, Matt turns to face Sara.”
As you go, make sure you note on the script or storyboard how the script and the storyboard correspond to each other.
Especially with camera video, time is precious, and using a lot of time is expensive. You don’t want to be in the shooting stage and trying to figure out what to do for each shot.
Have a plan, and then execute on it. Even if during the shoot you need to change something, it will still be easier to adjust.
Two other key points about storyboards.
If you need stakeholder approval, the storyboard can help get pre-buy-in. Your stakeholders can see what you’re planning and make suggestions before the camera rolls.
Your storyboard will show you the video you want to create while you are editing. It is like a template for the video you are going to build. Once you have all the pieces created, you can create the final video easier and faster. You will hopefully remove most of the guesswork and can slot into the various parts and pieces to create the video you want.
Download a 3×3 or a 3×2 printable storyboard template.
I don’t know anyone who really loves getting their work reviewed, but when you’re investing in creating a video, it can be a helpful process (and at times humbling).
I recommend that with both your script and storyboard, find one to three people to review your work.
A few things to look for during your review:
Is the message clear?
Will the viewer be able to take the appropriate actions?
Have you left out bits and pieces, that someone unfamiliar with the topic would find confusing?
If you tried to add some humor to your video, did it work or fall flat?
When you ask your reviewers for feedback, tell them you want brutally honest feedback. I know it can hurt, but it’s really the only way to get better.
Have a Table Read (Optional)
You might even get a few people together and perform what I call a table read. In a table read you will read the script out loud, and have the reviewers listen and take notes.
Then the reviewers give their feedback point-by-point. Your goal is to not defend your work but to listen for the ways that you can make it better, and improve the video you’re going to make.
If you have anyone in your organization that has made videos before, I recommend you ask them for their feedback as well. Their experience may help you avoid any pitfalls or challenges they have come across in the video creation process.
An example from my experience is when I was creating videos for TechSmith’s web hosting site, Screencast.com. I asked one of our team members, Anton, for feedback. His feedback was very accurate and precise, even to the point of telling me the timing was off by half of a second.
Sometimes the feedback was hard to hear because I thought I knew better, and sometimes because I thought the project was in really good shape. That feedback, after I worked through it, always led to a better, more polished video, and I became a better video creator because of it.
Gather Materials and Equipment
As you’re creating your script and storyboard, you should make a note of objects and information you need to gather, and a few items to arrange before you start shooting.
These can happen in any order that makes sense, but have your list ready before you start to create your video. It will save time, effort, and reduce your overall stress level.
It makes sense that you should get your gear together before you shoot, but don’t do it immediately before the shoot. A day or two before (at least) look through everything to ensure you have what you need.
Don’t forget things like spare batteries, cords, tripods, props, or any other gear you’ll need or want with you. You might even want to run through setup to make sure everything is in working condition and will serve you well during the shooting process.
If you are recording voice overs, you will want to make sure you have your microphone, microphone stand, and other audio gear ready to go, and everything is working.
Make sure you know what the approved colors are for your organization, or colors that you are using to brand your work. If possible, have the RGB, CMYK, or Hex values on hand. Being able to access those colors without much thought will speed up the post-production process, and save you from having to go back to correct mistakes later.
Logos and images
If you have graphics you are going to use, create a folder on your computer and put them in one location. When you’re ready to edit you won’t have to think about where you last saved them or spend time searching for them. You can also spot check to make sure that they are going to work together, or if you’ll need to adjust them. Included in this are items like lower third graphics, title animations, brand logo, screenshots, etc.
You can’t gather a location, but there are actions you can take to make sure you’re ready to shoot.
First, if you’re doing a camera shoot and you’re going some place that isn’t your workplace, you’ll want to double check on permissions to record in that location.
If you’re recording at your office or your desk, just make sure you have
Beyond the permissions, go the recording location around the same time of day you are planning to shoot.
Scout it out and see if it’s going to meet your needs.
Are there obstacles that might get in the way?
Are there sound issues, like a noisy HVAC system?
Problems that might make lighting difficult, like too many windows, or too dark.
At the very least, go to the location with your storyboard and see how it will match what you are planning. Then make adjustments.
During one video project, we decided to record on the campus of a major nearby university. It was beautiful setting near a river. We were shooting at 6 AM and thought we prepared for most everything.
What we didn’t prepare for was swarms of mosquitoes that attacked us frequently.
It’s hard to shoot video and swat bugs at the same time.
A short visit to the location would have given the team a heads-up to the issue, and we could have been prepared with clothes and mosquito repellent.
If you are going to have people in your video, who are you asking to be on camera? Are they a Subject Matter Expert? Is it a co-worker playing a part? Are you bringing in professional (or amateur) actors? Or is it just you recording in your office?
Regardless, if you are inviting someone to be in your video, you need to make sure you are preparing them. You will want to talk your talent through the video concept and share the script with them.
Make sure they know what their role is and your expectations for them when they are on camera (e.g. do they have to memorize everything?).
You should also tell your on-camera talent what you would like to them to wear when on camera, or requests for hair or make-up.
You may need to have them sign a release agreement allowing you to use their likeness in the video.
Some companies have built into their policies the ability to use photos and videos of their employees, but it doesn’t hurt to check.
Similar guidelines apply for anyone recording the voiceover. You need to make sure you give directions on pacing, style, or scripting. You will also want to ensure the recording space is free of noise and is going to provide the best possible sound quality.
There is a lot to think about leading up to creating a video. All this isn’t to scare you off or dissuade you from making a video.
In fact, the hope is that you make your first video and don’t stress about everything else in this list.
Just make that first one.
Then, before you start the next video, pick up one or two of the ideas in this article. Apply those tips, be better prepared, and make a better video.
After video two, pick up another idea and add it to your workflow. Follow this pattern, and keep making videos that are better and better. It will take time, hard work, and practice, but it’s possible for you to make a great and effective video.
There is a lot to consider when making videos. It can feel overwhelming, but getting some of these ideas in place will make it easier, faster, and less costly.
So my friends – after reading all this how could we not be friends – let’s start.
Let’s make a great video.
Free Checklist: We’ve turned this entire post into an easy to follow checklist. Download it for free.
I’ll walk through this process in Snagit, but the workflow is very similar in Camtasia. First, open a browser and navigate to your webinar. Then, in Snagit, select the Video tab.
Next, press the red Capture button and use the crosshairs to select the area of your screen you want to record. You can adjust the capture area after drawing your selection using the handles on the edge of the selected area.
If you’re going to launch the webinar full screen, select your entire screen.
In the video toolbar, make sure that the system audio icon is green, as this means the video will capture the sound from your computer. If it is not green, click the icon to turn system audio on. (You can also hover your cursor over the button and the tooltip will tell you if system audio is on or off.)
In the rare case that you also want to record your voice, make sure the microphone icon is green (enabled) as well.
Step 3. Record your webinar
When the webinar starts, click the Record button and Snagit will start recording after a three- second countdown. While the webinar is running, be careful not to move your browser window or tab between applications. Snagit is recording everything that happens inside the selected area.
To finish recording when the webinar ends, hit Stop. You can also use hotkeys to control the recorder.
If you’re a Windows user, press Shift + F10 to stop the recording, and Shift + F9 to pause/resume.
If you’re a Mac user, press Control-Shift-V to stop the recording and Control-Shift-space to pause/resume.
When you end your recording, it will open in Snagit Editor.
Step 4. Edit and Save
From Snagit Editor, you can preview your entire video recording, cut out unwanted sections, and pull screenshots from the recording.
To cut out unwanted sections, move the playhead to the beginning of section you want to remove, then move the red handle to the end of the unwanted section and click Cut.
To save a frame from your video recording, move the playhead to the frame you want to capture, and then click the PNG button. The image will appear in your Recent Captures Tray.
To save your webinar recording, click Share and then choose from popular social media and sharing destinations like YouTube, Dropbox, and Google Drive. To save your video files as MP4s to your computer, choose the Share to File option.
Recording your screen can reduce the performance of your computer. To reduce the possibility of screen lag or jumpy video, close applications you’re not using and consider lowering the resolution of your computer screen temporarily.
Recording webinars is just one helpful way to capture content from your screen. Here are some other ways to use screen capture and screen recording software as well.
Be aware that a large amount of planning goes into putting together a high-quality webinar.
Make sure the webinar platform is the right activity for your goals. You’ll need a good idea of the logistics, distribution, and follow-up activities. All these are factors in whether your webinar is successful.
Now that you’ve said ‘yes’ to webinars you’ll need a solid foundation to get started.
In this post I’ll give you three webinar best practices to focus on to ensure you get the most out of your webinar activity.
1. Don’t skimp on planning
There are many steps that need to happen to host good webinars. And you won’t want to wait for just a few days before your live event starts. Good planning should be done at least a week or two in advance.
That way you spend more time focused on your content and less time on logistics.
A few things you’ll want to plan for include:
Selecting a topic selection (Pick one, focused topic that fits with your target markets)
Another aspect to keep in mind when planning webinars is that the expectations of webinar participants has shifted.
No longer do people feel that they have to attend a live webinar. In fact, only 16% of B2B consumers prefer live webinars. Instead, many people register for a webinar to get the recorded link and watch it on their own time.
Infographics offer a visual representation of training topics, trends, and complex tasks. They combine images with text to provide all the essentials and keep online learners engaged. But is it really worth the time and effort to create an eLearning infographic for your course? Will it help you boost your ROI or would you be better off allocating your resources elsewhere?
eLearning infographics can bring the following 10 benefits to your eLearning course design.
1. Reduce Cognitive Overload
Online learners have the opportunity to evaluate every idea, statistic, or step before moving onto the next item in the eLearning infographic. This reduces cognitive overload and allows them to fully assimilate the information. They don’t have to worry about soaking up mass quantities of data because the eLearning infographic highlights each element separately.
2. Stress-Free Sharing with Online Peers
Infographics are shareable, by their very nature. They can easily go viral if you know what online learners are looking for and capitalize on a hot trend. They won’t think twice about posting the eLearning infographic on their social media page or sharing the link. As a result, more potential online learners discover your eLearning course and become familiar with your brand. Make the most of this benefit by encouraging online learners to share the eLearning infographic. You might even include a ‘Share on Facebook’ icon to make it even easier and convenient.
3. Promote Your eLearning Product or Service
A well-crafted eLearning infographic can enhance your brand image and bring new online learners into the fold. It provides them with all the information they need to clarify misconceptions or solve a common challenge, which makes them more likely to enroll. Readers can see that your organization is well versed on the topic and that your eLearning course will live up to their expectations. For this reason, your eLearning infographic must strike the right tone and clearly convey your messaging. You need to put your best foot forward and ensure that it’s error-free and attention-grabbing.
4. Improve SEO
Another marketing perk of using eLearning infographics is that they help boost your SEO efforts. Thus, you rank higher in the search engines and increase eLearning course sign-ups. The secret is using targeted keywords and metadata to attract your target audience. You can also accompany your eLearning infographic with a brief description to increase the likelihood of high rankings. This also clarifies which benefits your eLearning infographic can offer.
5. Easily Accessible
eLearning infographics are easy to access on any device. Online learners can even download the image to view them offline, which is ideal for remote employees who need to refresh their memory even if they aren’t within wi-fi range. This makes them the perfect ‘moment of need’ training tool. Just make sure to optimize your eLearning infographic to reduce loading times and prevent learner frustration.
6. Improve Memory Retention
Online learners are more likely to remmeber the information because it’s in a visual format. Numerous studies have shown that the human mind remembers images and graphics more effectively than text. An eLearning infographic contains both. As such, online learners who are unable to fully comprehend the images can read the text to improve their understanding. The memory retention benefits are further enhanced when using compelling or eye-catching imagery. For example, images that allow online learners to connect with the eLearning content on an emotional level.
7. Enhance On-The-Job Performance
Corporate learners use eLearning infographics as a just-in-time support tool. They contain all the information they need to complete a task or brush up on compliance knowledge. You can even create a product knowledge infographic that features the key specs, features, and benefits to increase sales. When in doubt, employees are able to refer to the eLearning infographic and analyze every aspect of the topic one by one.
8. Reduce Online Training Costs
eLearning infographics can be very cost effective, especially when you invest in the right tools. Namely, rapid eLearning authoring tools that contain built-in infographic templates and images. Your L&D team can use these layouts to save time and avoid starting from scratch. However, the resource reductions don’t stop there. It takes employees less time to access and absorb the information, thereby reducing online training costs and improving ROI.
9. Appeal to Different Learning Preferences
eLearning infographics cater to different learning preferences. Visual learners can view the images, graphs, and charts to assimilate the information while text-based learners are able to read the captions to absorb the facts and stats. You can even include links to supplemental online training materials that tie into the topic. For example, a simulation that allows kinesthetic learners to put their knowledge into action after viewing the task walk-through infographic.
10. Cater to Short Attention Spans
It’s hard to hold someone’s attention in the digital era. There are so many distractions to deal with, and it seems like everyone is pressed for time. As such, your eLearning course must make them take notice and account for their short attention spans. eLearning infographics only provide the need-to-know information. Online learners get the essentials so that they can complete the task or solve the problem, then go about their day. They always have the option to explore the subject matter in greater detail later on. But eLearning infographics are there to help in a time crunch. Therefore, other tech distractions are less likely to stand in the way of assimilating the takeaways.
eLearning infographics are a great addition to your microlearning online training library. They provide online learners with a quick reference they can use to improve comprehension and refresh their memory. Use a rapid eLearning authoring tool that features infographic templates to save time.
Do you struggle with balancing written eLearning content with pictures? Do you wish you could incorporate both and make learning fun again? How can you be sure that your eLearning infographics are meeting the evolving needs of your online learners? Download the free eBook The Ultimate Guide to eLearning Infographics to find out how to work with eLearning infographic templates, the benefits of including eLearning infographics into your eLearning course design, the steps you should follow to create them, as well as examples of creative uses and must-have features that exceptional eLearning infographics usually include.
About the Author:
Christopher Pappas is founder of The eLearning Industry’s Network, which is the largest online community of professionals involved in the eLearning Industry. Christopher holds an MBA, and an MEd (Learning Design) from BGSU.
eLearning Blogger • EduTechpreneur • eLearning Analyst • Speaker • Social Media Addict
Choosing the best microphone for recording video is crucial. If the audio in your video is poor quality, viewers will drop off.
Having the right microphone for recording video is good place to start. But how do you know which microphone is going to serve your needs best with so many options to choose from?
With this in mind, we wanted to know how different microphones stack up against each other. So we tested 18 different microphones from brands like Blue, Rode, Shure, Sennheiser, and Audio Technica to see which are the best microphones for recording video.
The Studio Set-Up
We wanted to test our microphones is a fair and consistent way. Below is a list of what we kept consistent for each recording:
The microphones were plugged into a 2015 Macbook Pro running MacOS Sierra 10.12.3 with the sound input level set to 67%. We did not adjust the level in order to keep the level consistent across microphones, and to mimic the plug-and-play experience a USB mic provides.
Recordings were taken directly from the SD card used in the device.
The same levels were used across all XLR microphones.
Microphones using an ⅛ inch jack were plugged into a Behringer Xenyx 302USB, which was plugged into the Macbook Pro.
Gain was set to the midpoint, with the EQ set even at zero for the Low and High. Mic level was just shy of the midpoint.
Same voice over talent for all recordings, which was Andrea Perry & Ryan Knott for the English voice overs, and Lars Grosspietsch for the German voice over. We also wanted to capture the difference between male and female voices.
Best Microphones for Recording Video- Our Top 5
We selected the following as our favorite microphones for recording video based on the test recordings we made. Check out our results below.
This XLR mic isn’t a name that will roll off the tongue. However, this microphone has a great overall sound for both a male and female voice.
Coming in at $299, it is well worth its value.The Microphone is an XLR microphone, and it needs to be powered. This means you must have a mixer that provides power and accepts an XLR input.
For Andrea’s recording, we felt like we needed to add a little bit of low end (bass). We tested adding bass in a different recording through a mixing board and felt it enhanced the quality of the mic even more. This could be done using an audio editing program as well.
This XLR microphone was a surprise performer during our tests. This microphone has a small stature, but a great sound.
As a shotgun mic, it has a line and gradient pick-up pattern. This means it rejects a lot of noise from the side and is very directional.If you have someone controlling the placement of the mic, this is a positive. However, if you have an individual that tends to move as they talk, this can affect the recording.
Overall, coming in at $169, this mic feels like a good value.
The Yeti and the AudioTechnica 2020 USB were too close to call for the third spot.
Both are USB microphones and sit in the same price range, $129 and $128, respectively. Both microphones have a good sound and picked up minimal background noise in our quiet environment.
The Yeti sounds a little smoother, but the AT2020 also has a nice sound and has been the workhorse mic used for TechSmith’s tutorials for multiple years now. It comes down to preference with these two mics.
If looks matter and you want to impress your colleagues and boss, the Yeti is an impressive (and hefty microphone) and would be first on the list.
The Yeti also offers a few different options not provided by the previously-mentioned microphones, including a switch for various polar patterns.
In addition to four polar patterns, there is also a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack that allows you to monitor the input of what you’re recording in real-time.
Our only frustration was it wasn’t easy to mount to a mic stand. You can easily remove it from the provided base, but the size of the mount for the Yeti didn’t match our microphone stand. You can get an adapter, but that’s something you’ll want to take care of before your recording session.
The Zoom H4N is a very different type of microphone. It is both a microphone and a recorder. You can use it to record sounds, voiceovers, and interviews directly to an SD card, or you can plug in and record from up to 2 XLR microphones.
Since we have a Zoom, we thought we’d give it a try as a standalone microphone.
The sound quality is pretty good, although it did pick up a lot of popping sounds during the voice over. This problem could be remedied with a pop filter.
Overall, the Zoom is a versatile device that can go anywhere you go. On video shoots, we plug a wireless lapel mic directly into the camera, but set up the Zoom with another mic (usually a shotgun) to get a second audio source.
If you’re looking for a wireless pack, and have a bit of a budget, we really like this Sennheiser.
Wireless microphones have two components: the transmitter and the receiver.
The Sennheiser has a small battery powered receiver that you can mount to a camera, or easily keep out of the way. Other wireless set-ups have a base station that needs to be plugged in and usually isn’t convenient if you’re out and about.
While it didn’t provide the best overall sound, it was still good. Also, it’s a lapel mic, which is great for on-camera interviews, or presentations.
The biggest downside is the cost. These are not cheap, coming in at a whopping $630. However, depending on your budget, this might be well worth the price.
Sennheiser EW 112P G3-A
We talk a lot about audio being a critical part of your videos. And it’s true, bad audio will make bad videos. A good microphone will go a long way in helping you make better productions.
But it’s not the only piece of the puzzle. Remember to control the noise in the location (e.g.turn off overhead lights that buzz, turn off the HVAC.)
Finally, learn about your microphone and how to get the best sound out of it, and take the time to learn how to adjust it. It will be well worth it when your audience listens to your sweet audio as they watch your videos.
Creating a video tutorial series is a great go-to strategy for any training program. When done right, it creates a more manageable learning experience, with content that’s easily reusable.
To get started, check out our six steps to start making a video tutorial program — or, in other words, a step-by-step tutorial on “How to make a “How To” video”!
#1 Get to Know Your Audience
The first step in creating a great video tutorial series is to get to know your audience.
To start, determine who your target audience is for this video tutorial series. Are they new users, or intermediate users looking to level up? Your focus should be on narrowing down your audience so that your videos can be focused and provide the best instruction. Series that target too broad an audience usually end up missing the mark by making things too easy for some and too hard for others.
If you don’t have access to your users, create a list of everything you already know about them. You might surprise yourself by knowing more than you realized. At the very least, try to establish your target audience and roughly determine their average level of expertise and familiarity with your software.
Here are a couple of questions to help you focus:
What’s driving you to make this video tutorial series?
Who would benefit the most from these video tutorials?
Is your audience mainly first-time users or seasoned veterans?
How experienced is your average user with technology in general?
With your audience established, you’re next big task is to identify how your audience uses your program. What are the most common workflows and common pain points? These questions should shed some light on where your users need the most help, and what you learn should help you put together a content plan to support them.
#2 Establish Goals for your Video Tutorials
When creating goals, start with the end in mind. Think about what you want your users to be able to do when they’re finished watching your video tutorial series and work your way backwards. Figure out the most important concepts and skills a user needs to know in order to be successful.
To help you get started, here are a few key questions to keep in mind:
Do my goals cover the most common pain points?
Are my goals appropriate for the skill level and knowledge of my audience?
Will my goals fit into the scope and budget for this project?
#3 Create a Content Plan
Write down all of the topics you need to cover for your user to accomplish the goals established above. This list should include everything from large, overarching concepts to small, essential skills.
When finished, walk through the list and mark any natural stopping points in the user workflow. These points signify places you could potentially end one video and start another.
How many video tutorials should you make?
From here, you’ll need to decide how many videos you plan to create and how much content to include in each.
When deciding how much to include in a video, there’s one concept that’s more important than the rest: cognitive load. Cognitive load refers to the total amount of mental effort being used in the working memory, which essentially means there’s a limit to how much you can teach and how fast you can teach it. Teach too much or too fast and you’ll frustrate your viewers, leaving them feeling overwhelmed and less likely to continue. Here are a few things you can do to avoid overloading your users.
First, consider the complexity of what you’re teaching. If you’re tackling a really complex concept or skill, you might have to slow down your instruction in exchange for more explanation. Essentially, the more complex a topic, the fewer topics you can teach in the same video, so you’ll want to plan accordingly.
Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself:
How complex is the topic(s) for this video?
Can I teach more than one topic at a comfortable pace?
Do all of the topics in the video relate to one another?
Is there a clear beginning, middle and end?
How much can I teach before my audience becomes overloaded?
Second, find some people who are willing to provide feedback and walk them through your content plan. It’s best if they vary in skill level and program experience, so you get a broad range of opinions.
Ask them straightforward questions such as, “Now that you’ve watched this video, do you feel confident completing X task?“ Or, from a high level, can they tell you what they learned from the video, and do their answers align with your goals?
Then listen closely to what they say. If you notice any trends in their feedback, you’ll know you need to make some changes.
Lastly, see what has worked in the past. Are there videos similar to the ones you’re creating? If so, give them a look and see what worked and what didn’t.
#4 Structure Your Video Tutorial Series
There are three main points to think about when structuring your video tutorial series:
Order – Does the series need to be watched in a specific order? Or, can the viewers watch each video independently and still accomplish the learning goals? If you plan well, sometimes you can have the best of both worlds.
Participation – What do you expect your viewers to do while watching your series? Should they follow along with their own project/software, or should they simply watch and learn from what you’re doing?
Assessment – What do you want your viewers to do when they finish watching your series? Will this series have assessments that occur throughout or at the end? If not, where do you want them to go after or what do you want them to do when they finish?
#5 Create Your Video Tutorial
Creating the videos is the most time consuming part of the whole process. That said, if you put effort into the planning process, it should dramatically cut down on production time. To get started creating your first video tutorial, check out the video below.
Finishing your content and publishing it is kind of like sitting in on the opening night for a movie that you created. This is your chance to see what the audience thinks. The information you gather can help determine the success of the content and can help shape its future direction.
Based on what you learn, you may end up making major changes to the structure and pacing. With this in mind, it’s important to come up with a plan for gathering feedback.
Did your video tutorials work?
The first thing to decide is what success looks like. How will you know if your viewers have accomplished your instructional goals? This is a good time to sit down with stakeholders, collaborators and anyone else that has skin in the game, to create a collective response to the question above.
In the long run, this will streamline communication and make it easier to speak to the successes and failures of the project.
Finally, decide what feedback you need to accurately measure the success of your video tutorial series. Not all feedback is equal and it’s important to think about what information is most valuable to you.
For example, is it more valuable to have informal conversations with real viewers, or is it more valuable to look at data points, such as usage analytics and assessment results? Which will help you understand if the viewers have achieved the instructional goals?
With your feedback in hand, start analyzing the success of your series and put together recommendations for improvements moving forward.
Start Your Video Tutorials
If you followed the six steps outlined above, you’re well on your way to creating an amazing set of tutorial videos and your learners will thank you for it. Video is a highly effective medium for instruction, and by breaking the learning into a series, you have a set of reusable content that your users can easily navigate. Get started making your own video tutorial series with Camtasia’s 30 day free trial.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Video is one the most popular ways to deliver and consume content on the internet. Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat all encourage people to watch and share short, informal videos. This makes employees particularly receptive to video in corporate learning programs. That means trainers, instructional designers, and anyone else tasked with training employees should be creating training videos as part of their corporate learning program.
In this post, I’ll guide you through key steps to creating engaging training videos. We’ll discuss the types of videos you can create, and how you can edit them in ways that capture and keep employees’ attention. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Pick your topic
The first thing to do when creating training videos is to select a useful, relevant topic. Nowadays people are incredibly quick to abandon videos that don’t provide the information expected, so selecting a topic of interest and importance to your audience is critical.
To select the right topic, first, define who your audience will be. Then develop a thorough understanding of your audience and their needs. Take time to do research that identifies the topics they’re most interested in or most need help with. Tailor your research methods to the location and size of your audience. If internal training is your assignment, then you might conduct interviews with employees. If you’re creating documentation for external users or a larger audience, then a survey might be an ideal way to collect information. Consider the availability of online forums and other resources as way to guide you as you refine your topic.
Hone your topic to a single, focused idea. If you’re having trouble doing that, consider breaking it into two topics, with the second building on the first. A series is an excellent way to make training videos that are useful and easy to digest.
Step 2: Choose a format for your content
The next step in creating an engaging training video is to choose a format. As you start to work on the video, consider the resources available, your timeline, and stakeholder expectations. Different types of training videos take different levels of time and effort to complete. Here are some formats you might choose for your training video.
A screencast is a recording of your computer screen. If you are training people on a new software or computer system, this will likely be at least a part of your video. Screencasts can range from informal to highly polished productions.
A microvideo is a very short video – five to fifteen seconds – that demonstrates a single process or idea. Sometimes microvideos don’t have narration but instead rely on visuals or text on the screen. This might be a good choice if you have a number of simple processes to teach that don’t take up enough time to warrant creating a longer training video.
For live training, consider recording it to create a presenter video. Then, you can edit the recording and use it as part of your learning program.
If you’re training people on physical processes, a demo video may be the right choice. In these videos, someone usually acts as a “host” and shows the viewers how a particular product, service, or process works. Many of the DIY videos on YouTube use this format.
In a role play video a scenario is acted out to help viewers picture and better understand the way a particular interaction should go.They are good for training viewers on how to handle things like sales calls, technical support processes, and other social interactions. It takes a bit of acting, but if you’re training soft skills, this format might be the best bet as it helps viewers picture actual circumstances and situations.
Animated videos use text and graphics to get their message across. They take some technical and artistic know-how to create, but they’re great for engaging your audience.
Interactive videos are a newer format. One way to think of these are like a “choose your own adventure” video where viewers are asked to respond to situations and then see how things play out depending on their decision. They can be a good way to get your viewers involved. If you want people to experience how different decisions play out, you might give this a try.
Step 3: Script and storyboard
I’m sure when you think about your video a clear picture emerges in your mind. The scenes layout in order, the visuals are neat, and the words just need to be said aloud. Of course, if you go straight to recording your video without any prep work, it becomes clear that all of these things are not as organized and perfect as they appear in our imagination. I know because I have done it. Just because we can’t go straight to producing a video, doesn’t mean we don’t truly have a great video in mind. It just demonstrates the importance of getting those words, visuals, and scenes out of our minds and onto paper in the form of a script and/or storyboard.
The first and most important prep task is to write a script. Start a document in your favorite word processor and start writing what you want to say. If you’re doing a screencast or microvideo that involves screen recordings, go through the process you plan to show. It might help to think of how you’d explain the process if someone from your audience was sitting with you.
After scripting, create a storyboard. A storyboard demonstrates the visual sequence of a video through simple sketches or images. I usually capture a few screenshots or take pictures to get a concrete idea of what I want to show in my video. Your storyboard shouldn’t take long to put together, and you don’t need to agonize over sketching anything beautiful. Stick figures work just fine.
Step 4: Recording and editing
Alright, once you’ve done all the prep work, you can start recording. You don’t have to be a video pro to get great video, either. Anyone can record an excellent screencast with a just a little practice. And you probably have the technology in your pocket (Hint: smartphone camera) to record a great video if you’ve chosen to do a role play or demonstration video.
Once you’ve recorded your footage, there are a number of ways to edit your video so it’s visually engaging.
In screencasts and other videos, annotations are a great way to draw attention to particular things. Arrows and shape callouts can even be combined with animations and text to keep viewers’ attention where it needs to be.
Placing text on your video helps you keep things visually intriguing while hammering home key points. Use it in lower thirds graphics to introduce speakers or emphasize a point or idea.
Make text and shapes move into your video or along the screen. Animations are excellent for keeping visuals varied and intriguing in your learning videos. Custom animations are one option, but Camtasia Behaviors are an easy way to quickly add creative movement to text, shapes, and other graphics in your videos.
Show the speaker
Don’t be afraid to show the narrator in your videos. In screencasts, this is done by recording your webcam and then switching to that footage at opportune moments, usually the beginning and end. Just be sure you’re looking at the camera!
Add some interaction
Interaction is a technique that is gaining traction in corporate training videos. With interactive hotspots, you can send viewers to a specific point in a video, ask them to respond to input, or guide viewers to the next step in a series.
Step 5: Produce, host, and distribute
Finally, we’ve made it to the last step of creating a top-notch training video: production and hosting. This is prime time, when we make the video available to our viewers.
The first thing to do is produce the video. Producing your video renders it from the video editor into a video file. You’ve likely heard of different video file formats, especially the most common and widely used MP4. Unless you have a reason not to, I suggest producing your video as an MP4 at the same size you edited it. For more information on producing a video with Camtasia, check out our tutorial on producing and sharing.
Once the video is produced, it’s time to host it. Hosting is how a video is made available to viewers. YouTube and Vimeo are examples of hosting sites, but there are a number of other ways to host a video, and it’s important to choose the one that works best for you. If you want to make your video public, YouTube or Vimeo are good options. However, if you want it to be available only to people at your company you can host it on your company’s LMS or internal website. Another option is to use Screencast.com, which allows you to host videos and images, and then share a link with others. If you created your video with Camtasia, you can even produce videos straight to Screencast.com, YouTube, or Vimeo.
Now you’re ready to make your own training videos! What other questions do you have about creating great training videos? We’d love to answer them in future blog posts!
The human mind is a curious thing. It remembers images more readily than text, and there’s only so much information it can absorb before reaching full capacity. eLearning video demos follow both brain rules by offering small doses of knowledge in a visual format. Corporate learners watch the video and then mimic behaviors in the real world.
Here are 7 unexpected eLearning video demo ideas that you might consider for your upcoming eLearning course.
1. Interactive Troubleshooting Guides
Create eLearning video demos for the most common problems or challenges your corporate learners face. Then include clickable online training resources and activities that they can explore on their own. For example, the eLearning video demo features an example of how to successfully resolve conflicts in the workplace. Include links to skill-building resources and simulations that allow them to broaden their understanding. These troubleshooting eLearning video demos can even be transformed into interactive branching scenarios. For instance, corporate learners must answer a question after each scene that leads to a different video, and so on.
2. Compliance Policy Do’s And Don’ts
Explaining the negative repercussions of compliance violations is one thing, but eLearning video demos give employees the power to visualize cause and effect. Produce a compliance policy do’s and don’ts eLearning video demo that shows corporate learners the favorable behaviors, followed by scenes of employees who are breaking the rules and violating company policy. You can even let corporate learners decide which is which to test their compliance knowledge or ask them to explain where the employee in the video went wrong.
3. Onboarding Virtual Tours
Invite employees to tour the workplace and check out the tools they’ll use on a a daily basis. These eLearning video demos also help them gain more self-confidence for their first day on the job. You can even incorporate hyperlinks or interactive hot spots that redirect to other eLearning video demos when they reach a certain department or workstation. For example, an online training tutorial on how to use the POS terminal or an eLearning video demo on how to properly handle products in the warehouse. It’s also wise to follow up with ongoing support resources, such as a microlearning online training repository.
4. Sales Pitch Pointers
Create an eLearning video demo that shows sales staff how to promote each product line, including the benefits and features. This takes it a step beyond product knowledg demos. You’re not just conveying the key specs, but also offering tips to help them seal the deal. Employees can view eLearning video demos before a big client meeting to perfect their sales pitch and brush up on sales skills. Pointer demo videos should also show the selling points in action. For instance, one of the key benefits is that the product is easy to clean after each use. Thus, you must demonstrate how to maintain the item and which cleaning tools/ equipment are required.
5. Employee-Hosted Product Knowledge Demos
Invite employees to create their own eLearning video demos to show the latest product and share their point of view. Different employees may discover different selling points that can increase your sales stats. For example, a unique benefit that your software provides, or a better way to upkeep the product to increase the value of ownership. In fact, you might consider an eLearning video demo library to showcase their productions. Co-workers are able to use the repository as an on-the-job reference and provide feedback.
6. Customer Persona Meet-And-Greets
Customer persona videos that expose employees to different personality types and purchasing needs. As a result, your sales staff is better equipped to match customers with the right products based on their spending habits and pain points. This does require a significant amount of research since you have to define your core customers groups. For example, the primary concerns that each persona has regarding the product or a common problem the product can help them overcome. Keep it as realistic as possible to enhance the immersion and improve real-world application. They can identify the needs of each customer who walks through the door based on their body language, inquiries, and overall personality traits.
7. Animated Task Walkthroughs
Task video demos highlight every step in the process, but they aren’t usually the most engaging. However, animated task walkthroughs add entertainment to the mix, which enhances the benefits of online training. Instead of live actors, use realistic cartoon actors to showcase the steps involved. Show employees the right and wrong way to perform the task and consequences of doing so. You can even incorporate touches of humor to lighten the mood. Just make sure that the laughable elements don’t devalue the online training experience and serve as a distraction.
These 7 eLearning video demo ideas are just the beginning. You can use these immersive online trainig tools for virtually any topic or task that involves a visual component. Try to keep them bite-sized so that corporate learners get the information they need quickly, which also makes them an ideal addition to your moment of need online training library.
Christopher Pappas is founder of The eLearning Industry’s Network, which is the largest online community of professionals involved in the eLearning Industry. Christopher holds an MBA, and an MEd (Learning Design) from BGSU.
eLearning Blogger • EduTechpreneur • eLearning Analyst • Speaker • Social Media Addict
When beginning the filming process, there comes a lot of preparation before hitting the record button such as finding a set, adjusting lighting, and having the proper camera angles. One way to organize this preparation is with a shot list.
Why is a shot list important? A shot list is a document that maps out exactly what will occur and what will be used in that particular shot, or scene, of the film. It serves as a detailed checklist that gives the video a sense of direction and prepares the crew for film expectations. Shot lists are helpful for bigger productions that require shots at multiple settings or features several actors, therefore it allows directors to organize their thoughts before filming begins.
Making a Shot List
So how do you create a shot list? Typically, a shot list includes the scene number, shot number, location, shot description, framing, action/dialogue, actors involved, props needed, and extra notes.
Below is an example of a shot list:
Begin by organizing your shots based on the shot location. Grouping similar shots makes it easier to shoot because you are able to film everything you need at one given time.
It’s important to note that this may not necessarily be in order of shot number. For example, if you were going to be shooting a scene at a lake for the beginning and end of the video, you’d want the shot list to indicate that when at the lake, you need to capture all of those shots.
Even though you will not be filming in order of the storyboard, this makes filming much more convenient. To help you, we have put together some video templates, including a shot list, script, storyboard and video check list to help you get started.
Type of Shots
Next, decide what kind of shot you’ll be filming, such as a wide shot (WS) or a close-up (CU). In addition to the type of shot, the camera angles and camera moves should be specified.
Angles may include a high or low level, where a move may be on a handheld camera or on a crane. Once you’ve decided your camera work, it’s important to address how you will be picking up the audio, may that be through a boom mic or a voice-over.