Video files and movies
Believe it or not: Videos are much simpler to produce than most people think. We trainers and facilitators can make good use of the fact that it becomes increasingly easy to produce high-quality videos and use them in our online training formats. What needed expensive equipment and complicated software just a few years ago can now be done on the equipment most of us use day in day out (i.e. our smartphones and laptops/desktops) using free software. Videos are great to prepare for an online training, they can be used during the actual live session, and they are a powerful way to recap the main points and sum things up during the follow-up after an online learning experience.
Why do I think videos are great for online seminars?
- Videos are great to demonstrate and explain concepts, processes, and other aspects of our work.
- Videos are a good way to illustrate key aspects of a training.
- Videos allow us to put the training situation into a wider context by relating issues from the seminar to the world around us.
- Many participants are used to processing information through the use of visual/audio-visual material.
- There is an endless supply of good videos on almost any topic out there.
Focus on online training processes...
- As with all pre-recorded material I can make sure I cover all the important points before sharing the videos (as we all know sometimes we forget to bring a certain point across in a live session, run out of time before the end of the session, the connection breaks down right the moment when we come to the key insight of a topic, etc.).
- I can use pre-recorded video material in the run-up to an online course, especially if the actual time online is short. So participants can come prepared and we can use the actual live session effectively.
- I can use the pre-recorded video material to sum up a session and sum up the key points about a certain topic or from a certain discussion, re-enforcing the most important aspect of the module/seminar.
- I can use existing videos or produce my own films (more on that later).
What options do I have?
When we talk about videos - especially videos we shoot ourselves to then be used as part of an online learning process - we basically have four main options.
You film yourself, talking straight into the camera, usually just your face/upper body is in the picture, often used when welcoming people to your course, explaining topics, summing things up, etc.
You film yourself, often in front of a flip chart or whiteboard or showcasing something with your own spoken commentary, often used when explaining processes etc.
You film directly from your computer/laptop, often powerpoint or keynote presentations, other visual aids or the like, you add your own commentary, often used...
A combination of the above
Well, I guess the title gives it away. Edit various styles together; e.g. start with a documentary style, then moving over to a screen capture of a key note presentation bringing out the key aspects of the lesson, before summing it all up and explaining what comes next in a headshot/portrait style. While all the above-mentioned styles work nicely in combination with live sessions, this combined option works well as a stand-alone option. And can be a great back-up if working with participants in areas of weak internet connections...
Examples of videos used in online learning processes
Here are some examples of videos I have used in a variety of online learning processes in recent years.
Here: Talking about the differences between a fixed-term campaign and a campaign that runs until the campaign goal is accomplished.
Here: Explaining how to use a mind map during the planning stage of a lobby and advocacy campaign.
Here: Explaining how to use the Reflecting on Peace Practice matrix when assessing a strategy.
Combination of the above
Here: Introducing the Dividers and Connectors Analysis Tool from the Do No Harm approach.
What do I need to produce my own videos?
Producing videos is simple and you don't need much to get started. Even in the beginning you can shoot, edit, fine-tune, and upload a simple educational video within an hour or two.
Let me give you a quick overview of what you need.
Something to capture the pictures; i.e. a camera or special software.
Stating the obvious. To record a headshot or documentary-style movie you need a camera. With the immense advancements in technology, this does not have to be a fancy DSLR camera. Most mobile phones or simple point-and-shoot cameras do the job. And they do it well. And luckily, most mobile phones and simple compact cameras have an in-built microphone that is good enough for our use.
If you want to record screen capture type of films, you need special software. Some computer operating systems come with their very own simple screen capture technology (for example Mac users can use Quicktime). In addition, some newer office packages have this feature, too (for example the newer versions of Powerpoint allows screen capture).
In addition to these simple programs, there are others on the market, some simple ones, some more advanced ones. Screenflow is a good, intuitive, and user-friendly software that I have been working with for some time. So is Camtasia. Unfortunately, either one of the software options sets you back between 150.00 and 225.00 Euros.
And as a fall-back option, you can also use the record feature from Zoom or Skype. Just run your presentation, add the oral explanations and push the record button.
Something to edit your recordings; i.e. editing software
Once the raw material is recorded, it normally needs to be edited. There are endless software options out there, from bare-bone basics and free to fancy and rather complicated paid options.
For our purposes, a simple and intuitive editing software is all we need. Again, if you work on Mac then the built-in iMovie program is a good one to start with. If you work on PC, you might want to check out Hitfilm Express or DaVinci Resolve. Another free option you have is the Youtube editor. A simple and no-thrills tool that is a good way to get started.
Something to host your films; i.e. a website (your own or someone else's)
Once you have finished editing your video file and are happy with the final film, you need to decide how you want to use it. Some people just mail the file to the participants in their courses (directly or with WeTransfer or the like when the file size is big). Others host the material in their clouds for people to access or download. Two of the most obvious options are Youtube and Vimeo, especially if you want to make your material available to a wider audience.
Note: As this course is all about moving your training offers online, I assume you have a computer/laptop. Working with this assumption I do not mention the need for a computer or laptop here.
In this short online course I want to give you an idea of what is possible when it comes to moving your training business online. I want to encourage you to explore this exciting field of online learning and check out a variety of potentially useful tools and software options.
That's why I provide links to all of the software options and other tools mentioned here. As all the links b ring you to external internet pages, I can take no responsibility for the content provided on these pages.
I also want to stress that mentioning a variety of options here does not mean that I endorse these options. I looked at the tools from a trainer's point of view and in how far they make it easier for us to offer effective, creative, rewarding, and high-quality learning processes online. I did not look at privacy policies, safety issues, data protection provisions and the like.
In the end you need to do your own research and make your own decision to find what works best for you, is in line with their own demands as well as with legal requirements in the place you operate.
Call to action
If you want to share your experiences with videos, have further questions, add comments, provide hands-on practical tips and tricks or point us towards additional tools and resources, this is your chance. The comment section is all yours and I will see to react to them in a timely manner.