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A lot of training is using video and it’s becoming very easy to create and distribute. As things become easier and cheaper we often see the quality decrease. For example, if you had to spend $10,000 to hire a camera crew to come out and do a video shoot then you’d probably have all of the scripts and talent well prepared. However, if you can quickly create a video on your handheld camera and upload it to YouTube then you might be tempted to just “wing-it”.

Here is a great article by Jeremy Vest on things to keep in mind when doing instructional design for video.

7 Sins of Online Video Instructional Design
April 30, 2009

By Jeremy Vest (Chief learning officer of Splash Media and author of “Exploring Web Design.” )

With the popularity of video sites such as YouTube, which now accounts for 25 percent of all searches on the Web, the consumption of video training is now a reality in most organizations and colleges. This accessible forum has made it easier for organizations to produce and provide online training videos. While this technology is available to anyone, companies do need to take time to consider the quality of the online training videos they are producing and providing. The following will give you a perspective of common, yet avoidable, mistakes most companies make when creating online training videos:

1. Not connected to learners
Have the subject matter expert (SME) address the camera, and do not just show screen shots. Change up shots; do not keep static too long. The more impersonal you make your training videos, the less likely your learners will feel a connection to the SME. This will cause a less engaged overall learning experience. Click here for an example of a connected online video.

2. Poor planning before the shoot
If you are using a SME, make sure they are prepared for the day of the shoot. Ask them to give you a plan that details each three to seven-minute video unit weeks prior to the day of the shoot. Make sure they practice; in particular, you might want them to practice live with you via Web cam. If they are using any type of presentation, make sure it is designed well and check for any grammatical errors. Finally, make sure the SME understands how to dress and look for taping.

3. Video length is too long
Would you like to sit down and watch a 30-to-60 minute video clip? Neither would your learners! Three to seven minutes seems to be the optimum length for online video learning. Most large online training companies have moved, or are preparing to move, to this format.

4. No close captioning
Close-caption all of your videos. It’s good for the disabled, good for compliance, and good for search engine results. It can be expensive, and not always practical, but when possible it is a best practice to close caption your video

5. Video and delivery is poor quality
Use a reliable service to deliver your streaming video. This will ensure proper video delivery worldwide. Make sure the video is not too low or high quality for download. The video player should be simple to use, and should buffer before playing.

6. No comprehension
Keeping with the basic rules of the adult learning model, make sure your audience understands what they just watched and why. Remember, knowledge transference is a major reason they are watching the video. Offer end-of-course tests and reviews; this will ensure learners are really learning something, and that they will retain the information.

7. No Hands-on lessons
Task your learners with hands-on lessons. Keep the lessons practical. Remember adult learners respond to relevancy-oriented training. Offering online self-paced autonomous training can greatly improve a company’s overall training system.

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