Jul
4
2014

Considering video training

I’ve been considering whether we could use video training to enhance our training and support offering. Our initial attempts have been promising and I expect we will be able to alleviate some of the demand for our training in future.

I’ve been interested in the idea of delivering training in different formats since I was involved in the University Learning Services project to introduce the virtual classroom software, Collaborate.

University Collaborate web pages

My experience of working in distributed teams has allowed me to see the challenges of arranging training to meet varied needs. The concept of providing on demand, online training, as a potential solution is an attractive one, as this method of delivery is:

  • low cost
  • immediate
  • at point of need
  • easy to update
  • available for people to work at their own pace

First production efforts

Recently, I worked with Callum Kerr, our CMS Support Assistant, to create a video of our Google Analytics training. It’s reasonably straightforward, but one that we’ve found requires constant updates, as the interface is subject to rapid and regular change. Our classroom sessions are regularly oversubscribed, and if confident prospective users might be able to get started with online materials alone, that could alleviate that pressure.

Making the video was a relatively simple experience and not too time-consuming: the final video was 23 minutes, and it took an hour to record, with two further hours for editing. The equipment we used wasn’t too extensive either:

  • Canon 600D DSLR camera
  • RØDE video microphone
  • QuickTime for OS X to record our screen capture
  • Final Cut Pro X to cut together the results

A screenshot of one frame of our video in the Final Cut Pro X editing software.

A screenshot of one frame of our video in the Final Cut Pro X editing software.

One thing I noticed while presenting is how disturbing a tongue-tie, or trip over words, was: in a live environment you simply move on, start a sentence again (or make a joke of it); on camera, these can make you want to stop entirely. But with editing, as long as you return to the start of your sentence, it can appear seamless – you can overlay a slide at that point to cover the splice. It’s also quite tricky not to get the immediate feedback of nodding heads (or, confused expressions) that you would get with an audience, so I think it worked best as a presentation I knew reasonably well.

Where next for video training?

Once we have the videos available, we’ll advertise them to the web community, and try and analyse their popularity and effect. Will it mean any reduction in our training bookings – or an increase in use of the software itself? While we’ll count the number of views, it’s actually the impact on use of the tool I’m interested in.

I’m also considering whether we can apply the experience to other topics. I suspect that our target areas will be ones where a short (1-2 minute) video could serve to replace a longer document of step-by-step instructions; or where a commentary over images/screen capture can better summarise an idea. This could include further video, or perhaps a webinar, on more advanced topics in Google Analytics, if the appetite exists.

I’d be very interested in your experiences of on-line learning, and whether you’d like to see more of our training and support delivered this way. Are there any particular topics or courses you think we should prioritise – or definitely not cover – online?

Related links

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