There is a broad range of applications for screencasts in online training, from software product demos to POS system tutorials. You can even utilize them to improve the accessibility of the online training resources themselves by creating LMS walkthroughs. You can also use them to allow corporate learners to share what’s on their screen to enhance group collaboration online training activities. Here are 8 tips to incorporate screencasts into your eLearning course design.
1. Invest In a Feature-Rich eLearning Authoring Tool
A robust eLearning authoring tool gives you the ability to record your screen, add audio, and edit the entire online presentation. Thus, creating the complete package without having to invest in additional software. Look for a feature-rich eLearning authoring tool that gives you the power to add effects and integrate elements from the built-in library, such as graphics or background music to create a more polished presentation.
2. Develop an Outline Before Hitting the Record Button
Create an outline or storyboard that highlights the key discussion points, including which features or functions you need to cover during the online presentation. If you plan on narrating your screencast, you should have a script on hand to stay on track. This will also help you achieve the right pace and tone. You may still have to re-record certain aspects of the cast if you miss important steps or forget to mention a useful tip. However, an outline makes things easier when it’s time to edit, as you have a roadmap to follow.
3. Start With An Engaging Introduction
One of the most common screencast mistakes is to simply jump into the demo without introducing the topic or task. Give corporate learners a brief overview of what’s to come and what they’ll learn by the end of the presentation. You should also mention supplemental online training courses or activities that tie into the screencast. For example, simulations that allow them to try out the new software for themselves, or online training tutorials that help them build related skills.
4. Focus on Specific Areas of the Screencast to Reduce Cognitive Overload
Most screencast tools give you the ability to focus on certain areas of the screen, such as graying out the extraneous sections or placing a box around the area in question. This helps prevent cognitive overload and distractions, as employees can concentrate on the feature or function that is most relevant. For example, devote their attention to one particular item on the bullet list that appears on the screen.
5. Choose the Ideal Recording Environment
Choose a quiet location to record your screencast and audio narration to enhance the quality of the presentation. Employees shouldn’t have to mentally block out traffic noise or chatter when they’re viewing the screencast, which can prevent them from absorbing the information and retaining it for later use. In addition, you may want to invest in a microphone and pop filter to create clear audio.
6. Concentrate on Training Gaps and Learning Objectives
Screencasts follow the same rule as any other online training resource. They need to be relevant and tie into employees’ needs. The screencast should focus on training gaps and learning objectives to enhance employee performance. Using the learning objectives as a guide, you can create a a more effective script and outline that get right to the point. For instance, you show employees how to access the system and don’t go off on tangents, such as the history of the software or the many ways that it benefits users in other industries. Employees need to know how they’re going to use the screencast in the workplace and how it will benefit them. All the other tidbits of information are extraneous clutter.
7. Conduct a Test Run
You may need to conduct at least one test round to ensure that everything goes according to plan. Have your script ready, hit the record button, and cast. Then play it back to see how it turned out. Is there any lag? Does your speech pattern sound natural? Are you going through the motions too quickly or too slowly? Ask a colleague to watch the rough draft and give their feedback. Once you have the finished product, conduct another round of user testing with a select group of corporate learners. There might be errors you overlooked or issues that negatively impact the overall experience. For instance, graphics or music that distract corporate learners from the subject matter.
8. Edit Out Background Noise and Long Pauses
We’ve all sat through at least one presentation that was riddled with white noise, lengthy pauses or other annoying audio elements. These things don’t just diminish the quality of the screencast, but the benefits your employees receive. They are so focused on the background noise that they forget about the takeaways or are simply unable to hear the narrator explain what they’re doing on the screen. For this reason, it’s crucial to conduct a thorough edit before you finalize your presentation. Ensure that the audio and visuals line up, and that it’s free of frustrating pauses or “ums”. Editing is yet another reason why you should invest in a feature-rich eLearning authoring tool. You must be able to fine-tune all the components to create a cohesive screencast presentation.
Screencasts provide employees with a visual example they can use to improve task proficiency and increase sales. They have the ability to see your new software products in action or familiarize themselves with the new features they need to know to carry out their job duties. Use this article as a guide to create a screencast that grabs their attention, and makes the online training experience more memorable.
Did you know that online training videos can help you boost sales and employee engagement? Read the article 8 Best Practices for Using Sales Online Training Videos to discover 8 best practices for using sales online training videos in your sales online training.
About the Author:
Christopher Pappas is founder of The eLearning Industry’s Network, which is the largest online community of professionals involved in the eLearning Industry. Christopher holds an MBA, and an MEd (Learning Design) from BGSU.
eLearning Blogger • EduTechpreneur • eLearning Analyst • Speaker • Social Media Addict