learning content

Simple secrets of great learning videos

Today, a big part of the media that we consume is in video format and they are proven to engage learners effectively. Videos are easy to follow and watch even on-the-go. While video does not work in every situation, it is a winning format for delivering learning content today due to its ability to combine pictures, text, and sound. However, for many of us, creating learning videos can feel slightly an overwhelming, even intimidating task.

Not to worry, our team has bundles of experience in creating pedagogically optimal learning videos and we want to share some of our cool tool and production tips with you. So, let’s get started and discover simple ways to create something engaging but effective for your learners.

 

PowerPoint

Wait, but isn’t PowerPoint just a classroom presentation tool? Surprisingly, this familiar tool has many more features and gives you an easy option to make your first learning video.

PowerPoint has an option to record your slideshow and add narration and even draw to your slides. PowerPoint offers very good options to use transitions and animate the content on each slide so that the actual video won’t be just static slides.

You should also think about how much information you want to stuff into the screen at once so that the learner can focus on either the text or narration. Even it might feel tempting to do, don’t just record all 40 slides of your presentation — longer presentations like that work best in their original format. Instead, try breaking up your long presentations into shorter ones with specific topical focus per presentation. This way learners have a better chance to grasp the essence of your key messages and stay focused.

 

Lumen5

If building animations and turning your PowerPoint presentations into educational videos feels a bit overwhelming Lumen5 service might be just for you.

Lumen5 uses Artificial Intelligence to create videos from text automatically. Your text can be an existing website,  document or you can type the text straight into the Lumen5 editor. From there, Lumen5 will animate and add pictures that fit the context!

Furthermore, Lumen5 understands to keep the amount of text on the screen at an appropriate length and helps you to create a nice flow to your video. This works well when you are creating a short introductory type video to deliver a small bite-size amount of information. Additionally, with Lumen5 you can give an assignment for learners to do a video.

You can try the service for free first, and if you are happy with it, Lumen5 offers subscription options to use the full potential of the platform.

 

Adobe Connect

Sometimes you just want to provide a recording of a lecture to your learners to watch it later on. For this simple need, Adobe Connect works well. You can upload your recording afterward to YouTube or Vimeo and add it to your learning areas for learners to add comments to the video.

 

Recording your screen for tutorials and instructions

For OSX, QuickTime provides an easy out-of-box screen recording option. Similarly, for Windows, there is ActivePresenter available with features to record your screen. These tools allow you to capture your screen for easy editing later on and also to record audio through the microphone.

Besides these free options, there are non-free options to choose from like Camtasia. It offers the ability to record screen and edit the material comfortably and intuitively. This works well if you intend to do tutorial or instruction videos. Generally, screen recording requires some editing afterward. This allows you to add text and other highlights to increase its value.

If you have plenty of time in your hands and want to learn to edit videos properly, you could take a look at some of these cool free software: HitFilm Express, DaVinci Resolve, OpenShot, or iMovie.

 

Take your videos to the next level!

Hopefully, you are starting to feel a bit more confident about using videos in your online courses by now. So, let’s next look into different ways to elevate the quality of your learning videos further.

Here are some useful tips for you:

  • Sound: If you have audio on your video, make sure it’s clear. Using an external microphone you will significantly improve the quality of sound. Almost any external microphone will beat the quality of your laptop’s microphone. This makes the listening experience more pleasant to your learner, instead of hindering the actual learning.
  • Captions: Consider adding captions to your video if it’s in a foreign language. Also, if your content is likely to be viewed when commuting, captions are much appreciated.
  • Camera stand: If you are filming yourself, use a stand. It allows you to focus on speaking and performing instead of holding the camera. This will also help your videos achieve more professional final quality.
  • Background music: A heavy, text-based video, could benefit from background music. You can search for CC-licensed music from FreeMusicArchive.
  • Additional material: There is also a lot more CC-licensed material available for you to use in your content. You can read more from CreativeCommons.org about different licenses and resources.

 

Content creation partners

Now you are ready to produce some cool learning videos. However, if you know what you need or have great ideas for learning videos, but your time and resources are limited, using a content creation partner might be a solution.

Your excellent pedagogical script or material can quickly be turned into a video, a presentation, or a document by an experienced third-party organization. Using this kind of service saves you time and money. Instead, you can focus on marketing and delivering your professionally produced courses with your brand touch and feel included. The investment into professional production can spin ROI immediately, as the content is usable again and again.

Let’s start creating some amazing learning videos!

If you don’t have a content creation partner to work with yet, send me an email to teemu.vaalasmaa@claned.com, and let’s discuss how we can help you to make your learning videos effective and engaging.

Teemu Vaalasmaa

Teemu is passionate about e-learning and technology in general. He helps customers to succeed in using Claned platform.


Design to support learning

You could have the most professional learning content in the world, but if your visual composition isn’t well designed, it will be harder to engage your learners. To make it easier for your learners to absorb the content you are offering, you should pay attention to its visual composition.

Start by thinking about your content, and what is the most important thing your learners should learn from your material? Are your learners easily able to get an idea of what your content is all about? The visual composition of your content should ideally support also learners who just want to skim the content. The “essence” of the learning materials should be obvious from the start.


Principles of Effective Visual Design

When you are building your course materials to your learners, your content and your design should be equally paid attention to, and ideally working in harmony. As you carefully choose your words, equally, You need to choose focal points for your visuals that help the learning experience delivered effectively. There are some universal visual design principles that you might want to get acquainted with.


Gestalt Principles are in the Mind, Not the Eye

Gestalt principles in visual design, help users perceive the overall design as opposed to individual elements. If the design elements are arranged properly, the Gestalt of the overall design will be very clear.

The Gestalt Principles are a set of laws arising from 1920s’ psychology, describing how humans typically see objects by grouping similar elements, recognizing patterns and simplifying complex images. Designers use these to engage users via powerful -yet natural- “tricks” of perspective and best practice design standards.

The Gestalt Principles are pivotal in UX design, notably in interfaces, as users must be able to understand what they see—and find what they want—at a glance.

Source: (https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/topics/gestalt-principles)


Some useful Visual design principles:

Unity means that all elements on a page visually or conceptually belong together. The visual design must strike a balance between unity and variety to avoid a dull or overwhelming design. When creating learning materials, unity means similar concepts and themes are conceptually and visually aligned. This way the visual composition supports the learning topics.

The use of space helps reduce noise and increase readability. Use of white space (empty areas) can be a surprisingly important part of your layout strategy. So try out leaving more space between graphical elements, larger margins, and line spacing.

Hierarchy shows the difference in significance between graphical elements and signals importance visually. Hierarchies are often created through different font sizes, colors, and placement of elements on the page. So, you might make a more important element bigger and bolder than a less important element which might be smaller and fainter.

Scale is also a useful tool used to help communicate hierarchy by drawing attention toward and away from certain elements, thus signifying their importance to communication.

Contrast focuses on making items stand out by emphasizing differences in size, color, direction, and other characteristics.

Dominance focuses on having one element as the focal point and others being subordinate. This is often done through scaling and contrasting based on size, color, position, shape, etc.

Similarity refers to creating continuity throughout a design without direct duplication. The similarity, for example, in the use of colors, in the shape of elements, text styles, is used to match the different pieces visually and make them work together in a layout.

By using these universal visual design principles, you can produce learning materials where the “essence” of the material will be obvious.

Hopefully these tips are useful to you when designing your next learning content materials.

Let me know if you have any specific challenges? I would love to hear from you. Send me an email at virve@claned.com.

About the Author

Virve Johansson heads Claned´s branding, marketing, and product design, ensuring the platform is intuitive and user centric. She is passionate about visualization of data and information and building the Claned brand.