Let’s be honest, you can build an elearning course with just text and images. In this technology-driven society, any course using this format will be looked at with suspicion, multimedia is becoming standard content in elearning courses. MOOC courses rely a lot on multimedia in the form of videos. Most authoring tools (Storyline, Lectora, Captivate) help you build modules with images, videos, and audio. Even the Training world is turning to video as their favorite media for training delivery.

These examples may give you the wrong impression that elearning loaded with multimedia, more specifically with videos, is the new norm for elearning design. Videos could be an important component of an elearning course but they also need the support of other instructional materials. We can make the argument, using old technology references, that you can make an effective distance learning course by mailing a manual and textbook to learners, and expect them to learn.

By passively watching videos, learners will not deeply comprehend the presented subject, just as a distance learner passively reading a manual would not understand the subject completely. You need to add components that will support learning of the material to such an extent that they would achieve the final objectives of the course.

During the process of design of instruction you can determine the types of tests or assignments you can insert before and after playing videos. One practice used a lot these days is to insert quizzes during the video. This works for long videos, the quizzes help the learner determine if they have learned the subject from the watched segment of video. There are still technological limits to adding interactive elements to videos, one option is to use authoring tools.

You can use videos with an authoring tool such as Storyline and add interactive objects later, such as quizzes and clickable exercises, everything will be in one module. These activities can overlay the video, when a video segment has completed, it will pause to give way to the activity. There are in fact many different ways of doing this. Keep tuned to this blog, I will be posting tutorials on how to make these modules using different authoring tools.

If you have an LMS and no tool to integrate quizzes or other interactive objects with video, there are still options for you. You can embed a video in a simple HTML page in your LMS, below the video you can add instructions for learners on the next steps. You may be able to insert a hyperlink to a quiz or assignment that learners can click on. You may have a tool where you can segment a long video into parts and gather all in one single module, learners will cover each part and make progress through the module. This solution might not be ideal because you are actually taking the learner’s eyes away from the video.

There is one thing I have against videos produced for training on software use, and it is just a personal opinion. Learners need to follow the instructions in the video and they would minimize the video to actually do the steps in the software environment, this is easy if you have a two-screen setup but it is a nightmare if you only have one screen. This takes attention away from the learning process: pausing the video, switching screens, doing the steps, switching back to the previous screen and finally playing the video back, distracts the learner to a point where they would have comprehended nothing at all at the end of the video. In this case, my recommendation is to make the videos as long as the step that is being explained on the screen, when the video ends, the learner can then try to apply what they learned on the software. If they complete this step successfully, the can move to the next one.

Please, contact me if you have any questions about this post, you can also leave your comment in the box below. In the meantime, happy elearning!