Best Practices for Using Video in Online Training Courses

Calendar Icon October 26, 2021
Reading Time Icon Read Time: 5 min
By Firmwater

Video is popular for quickly learning something new. When it comes to creating a high-quality video, using a large camera on a tripod is no longer the only option. Here are few tools that you can use to create video for your online training program:

  • E-learning Authoring Software
  • Vimeo
    • Create tutorials and training videos for employees and customers. Vimeo also has a handy Chrome extension for screen recordings that enables you to use your camera to film yourself narrating the recording.
  • Camtasia
    • This is a powerful screen recorder and built-in video editor. It’s ideal for recording training and tutorial videos, product demos, and presentations.
  • ScreenCastify
    • This is a free Chrome extension housed in your browser. It is used to record, edit, and share videos of your computer screen. This software is a great tool for recording quick demos and webinars.
  • SnagIt
    • This enables you to take screenshots, edit your images, and record lightweight screen recordings. It’s perfect for giving feedback, creating clear documentation and training materials, and showing others exactly how to do something.
  • Mobile Device
    • Using your phone to capture a quick video for your training program is both convenient and cost-effective. In today’s world, mobile devices are getting better at creating high-quality videos.

If you are thinking about using video in your online training program, there are best practices to ensure that your videos are hitting the mark every time.

Pre-production Activities Pay Off Big

When developing video-based training courses, proven methodologies like ADDIE can still be used as a framework to build a comprehensive learning program.

Analysis

An analysis helps identify learning goals and objectives. It also helps gather information about the learners. How do you perform a good analysis? Ask good questions: who, what, why, where, when, and how?

Here are a few queries to make when deciding if video is best:

  • Who is the audience and are they tech-savvy?
  • What is the desired outcome of this learning experience?
  • What does the audience already know?
  • What tools are best to deliver this type of information?
  • When does this need to be delivered?
  • How will the audience interact with the video? With mobile devices? On a computer?
  • How much time do they have to complete the training?

The answers to these questions can help determine if video is a viable option for your training program.

Design

Make sure you are using video in ways that provide the biggest impact to learners, such as:

  • Demonstrations
  • Reinforcing a lesson
  • Testimonials

Having these items as videos can provide higher engagement and retention rates. Tips on how to design for video include:

  • Creating a script to keep yourself on track
  • Using captions for accessibility and ease of use
    • Having captions makes it easier to take notes, helps focus attention, and can enable the learner to watch with the sound off.
  • Giving instructors/presenters feedback on how to be engaging
    • For example, they should speak at a natural pace and make direct eye contact with the camera.

Develop

  • Keep videos short and sweet, under fifteen minutes.
  • Think about how videos can be chunked to create a series of videos.
  • Refrain from over-producing the videos.
    • Film in an informal setting, but be sure you have good lighting and sound quality.
    • Film the instructor/presenter separate from the presentation, so you can easily edit them together.

​​Implement

While using video in your online training program can be cost-effective, engaging, and consistent, you will need to determine how the video content will be hosted and delivered to your learners. Will you use an authoring tool to embed videos directly into an e-learning module? Will you load your mp4s directly into your LMS? Or will you use a service such as Vimeo?

When you embed videos directly into an e-learning module, you can use them in tandem with other authoring tool functionalities, such as scenarios, interactions, and knowledge checks, to enrich the learners’ experience. Each authoring tool handles video differently, so be sure to follow the best practices (e.g., Rise, Storyline, etc.) to ensure the best user experience. Pay attention to the video encoding to achieve good playback quality while keeping your video files a reasonable size so download time does not impact playback performance.

Loading an mp4 directly into your LMS is often the most convenient way to deliver videos because you do not need any additional programs. You can build courses consisting of multiple videos, provide a video library, and easily update individual videos as needed, all without having to republish a whole module.

Integrating your LMS with Vimeo provides the same benefits as hosting video natively on the LMS but with the addition of adaptive streaming. Vimeo adapts playback based on a user’s device and internet connection to provide the best experience possible. This results in a viewing experience with little to no delays or glitches, making it an ideal platform for longer videos.

These are decisions that can impact how your learners will interact with your video content.

Here are a few settings to be aware of when hosting videos in an LMS:

  • Idle Timeout: This is a customizable setting in an LMS that determines how long a user can be inactive before they are automatically logged out when watching a video. If the time to watch the video exceeds the Idle Timeout value and the user is not interacting with the video while watching, the LMS may time-out the viewing session, and the learner will not be credited for viewing the video. Avoid this by keeping your videos shorter than the default (ten minutes) and adjusting the setting for longer videos to an appropriate value.
  • Completion Settings: It cannot be expected that your learners will always have the time to watch the entire video in a single session. When implementing videos, make sure to think about what happens if they can’t finish. The video delivery method and settings that you choose will depend on the video’s length, the degree of control over playback that you want to provide the learner, and the completion criteria that you want to enforce. You should ask the following questions when considering these settings:
    • Do I want to force learners to watch the whole video or a specified percentage of it?
    • Will they be allowed to skip through?
    • Will they be allowed to relaunch the video after they have completed it once?
    • On subsequent attempts, will they be allowed to skip to certain parts of the video to review a topic?

Evaluate

Evaluation involves both getting feedback from the learners and testing the videos. Test the completion settings, and test the video clarity and audio in multiple browsers. Ensuring to test properly will aid in keeping learner frustration down.

Conclusion

When using video for online training, you should remember that pre-production planning is crucial! Following the ADDIE principles can assist with video production. Lastly, make sure to test, test, and test again. Video is an amazing tool for training, but if the video quality is low or the video doesn’t properly complete in the LMS, it can create learner frustration.

Here at Firmwater, we don’t just sell an LMS for training providers. We partner with our clients, giving them the tools and insights they need to implement the best practices in e-learning course development, growth, and delivery. We care too much about our customers’ businesses to have them wade through forums and chatbots for help.

Ready to use an LMS that’s designed for the way YOU work, with a team dedicated to YOUR needs? Book a no-obligation consultation directly with our team today!

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