Imagine if your online learning material was as engaging and memorable as a viral video or your favourite film. Well, at 100% Effective, we think it should be. And with studies suggesting that videos in education can improve information retention by 80%, we have the science to back-up our belief that videos are a great tool in the online learning process.
However, just as your home-made movies don’t become blockbusters, simply inserting a video into your online course will not achieve the same educational benefits as well-crafted eLearning; a 30-minute recording of a presentation to camera is more likely to bore than benefit a student. To make the most of video requires planning, time, and creativity. The same elements that make your much-loved shows engaging and memorable, are the same elements that should be incorporated into your online learning.
As we are in the midst of redeveloping our online courses, we have invested time in exploring what makes a successful video. We have dissected the essential elements that make videos such an engaging and effective educational tool, and incorporated this into our new and exciting eLearning.
Whether it’s a YouTube clip or a feature-length film, the success of a video relies on engagement between the viewer and the content. The most successful television shows are likely to have a compelling storyline and interesting characters, so why should an eLearning video be any different? By including stories and real-life examples throughout our courses, we encourage our students to connect and engage with the topic in the same way they do with the storyline of a video.
Studies have suggested that learning is optimised when the student is socially engaged using conversational language. For this reason, we use what is known as a Pedagogical Agent in all our modules. This is a narrating character who instructs, advises and informs the learner throughout the lesson. With an authoritative but friendly voice, the character adds a sense of supportive social interaction that is all too often absent in a self-directed study environment.
Achieving good visual and audio quality is, of course, essential to communicate the lesson within the video, but it is the quality of the content itself that is of the utmost importance. Consider The Blair Witch Project (1999); although filmed on poor quality equipment, the content topic is interesting and well structured. It is the quality of the content that captures and engages the audience. For this reason, every module within our eLearning course is carefully considered and well structured to optimise the flow of learning, with audio and visuals working to support the content.
A study by edX reported that students would stop watching videos longer than six to nine minutes. When videos were between 12 to 15 minutes long they gave up after only 4.4 minutes. By dividing our courses into modules, our eLearning can be taken in small chunks, and at the student’s pace, increasing information retention and engagement. This allows the learners to review concepts they are unsure of and also affords them the time to digest information and practice skills.
In an age where a tutorial video on almost any topic is a mere Google search away, it is clear that video content has become a valuable learning tool. However, to truly engage, excite, and optimise the experience for all students, the video must be carefully considered. Whether you are planning to film your own educational content or are searching for an eLearning provider, bearing these four essential elements in mind will help you make the most of this media.
If you have enjoyed this article and are interested in online education, why not take a look at my insight on the benefits of Education-as-a-Service?