Production timescales in making learning videos


(photo from mEGaPHiLL from Flickr)

Through doing my Teaching & Learning fellowship I am discovering that the pre-production & post production time needed is significant for someone who might be thinking of making a video learning resource, it is better to take a long time making a single well made video than several quick and unthought out videos. This comes from feedback from students who have watched various types of videos.

What type of learning video are your addressing? I see 3 categories typically appearing:      i) general overview / induction / introduction to an area     ii) specific knowledge transfer of a specific task or process      iii) capture of a lesson / lecture capture / event where teaching takes place which is filmed

The best and most effective learning video learning resources are the type ii) which I want to make the following comments about:

1] If you are not a video person you will need to get help in scripting, or storyboarding your video. My experience shows that a lack of forethought in pre-production is very noticeable after the project is finished, and then normally too late to do anything about. You must find time, hopefully through manager support, or through research funding. And ideally work with the video person(s) to help you script out your idea.

2] Focus on the main objectives and key points that students need to know. Think on how to best convey the information to students. Get the relevant shots which can be paused or highlighted afterwards in the editing process with he use of graphics or on screen text.  Scripting and storyboarding is really making a key list of all the useful information a student might need to know, how you’re going to portray that over in visuals and in audio, don’t assume the viewer will understand acronyms or be familiar with the topic covered. Production values are important here in terms of good lighting and excellent sound (although voice overs in post production work well).

3] In post production (editing phase) it is important to work to the timeframe you want the final video section to be. This is the most time consuming element of making a video so be prepared for a long slog. It is often under-estimeted how long a good video takes to edit so timetable this in to your planning. A 5 minute learning resource that took a few hours to film can easily take  5- 10 days to edit.

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