Incorporating video into your learning experiences is a highly effective way to engage learners and build understanding and retention.  But , if your videos arn’t meaningful, tightly scoped, and short, you run the risk of having a learner leave a video within the first 10 seconds.  

First, you want to make sure you have a clear objective.  It is tempting to design for several objectives, several learner outcomes for a video. But focusing the intention and design around one clear learner objective will help you understand what the video needs to support strongly and concisely. It will also keep your video from becoming too long and setting the stage for the second objective never being accomplished.

Second, develop one to two essential questions around that objective.  Doing this will help you manage the content needed to accomplish the objective.  It’s tempting to include a variety of use cases and extra information for more context when designing learning. But staying true to your essential questions can help limit this temptation and keep the scope of the learning moment tight.  This is especially helpful for managing the length of your learning video.  For example, if the learner needs to be able to state the first three things to say when answering the phone at your business, then good essential questions would include, “Why is it important to answer phones in this way?”, “How do you answer the phones effectively”.    By doing this, we have a tight framework to design the content within, avoiding the temptation to veer off into other content that is important but does not fit this scope.

Finally, identify a specific context for supporting the objective.  Context is critical in this situation for helping the learner understand, retain, and apply the learning.  Videos can be isolating to the the learner without context. As a result, you can easily end up with information and skill knowledge that is meaningless and potentially confusing to the learner.  You have to consider where in learning does this particular learning moment fall. For example, if you are designing a lesson for writing effective strategies, the learner needs to understand early that this is within the context of strategic planning and that your strategic goal has been identified.  All examples of application need to support this. 

Keeping video design short, meaningful, and learner outcome focused takes having a clear understanding of the scope of that learning moment.  Take a look at the many videos out there and see if you can identify when the scope is too large or not clearly defined.   In comparison, see if you find those videos that are tightly scoped and notice the difference in your experience.  When a learner starts scrolling and skipping parts of a video, it could be a sign that scope is too big or not very well managed.


About amyparent

I have a passion for designing instruction that meets the needs of all learners. I enjoy working with subject matter experts and translating technical objectives into easily understood and meaningful objectives for nontechnical audiences.

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