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Designing Resilient Video Tutorials: Best Practices

Resiliency

For most librarians, video production is a time consuming task. In order to maximize one's time and effort, it is best to design your videos to be resilient. This means creating videos that will remain relevant for a time period of at least 2 years. When video tutorials are created around concepts rather than skills, this prolongs the life and usefulness of video tutorials. Some ways to promote video resiliency include

It can be difficult to eliminate the complete use of library tools in a tutorial. A good strategy for dealing with this is to create specific points in the videos where a screencast can easily be switched out. This will make updating your video much easier when there is a change in the tool's interface.

Crowdsourcing

It can be a difficult task for one librarian to take on the obligation of designing all video tutorials. Following a crowdsourcing model for video production has many benefits: 

The crowdsourcing model needs someone to spearhead and manage the video projects, the deadlines, and  assist the team members with technical questions throughout the video production process. 

Dissemination Strategy

Everyone agrees in the benefit of creating instructional videos; however, given the amount of time they can take to plan and create, it is best to develop a strategy for how the videos will be used. For example, where will the students find the videos? How will they be used? Some tips for developing a content strategy include: 

  • Don't expect students to seek out videos; rather deliver videos to students at points of need
  • Consider using videos for flipping library instruction
  • Post them on course guides
  • Encourage faculty to embed videos in the LMS
  • Design videos to be integrate into larger information literacy tutorials

Branding

Regardless of style, there should be some element that indicates your videos come from the same place. Our suggestion is to create title and closing slides that adhere to your school's branding guidelines. Also consider using a similar sign off message at the end of your video. For example, Penfield uses "For more information you can always Ask a Librarian."

Curating Video Content

Videos do not have a long shelf life. Library processes, systems, and interfaces are constanlty changing. This means that a videos need to be designed with updates in mind. It is important to save all the data from your videos in one centralized location for future updates. Consider storing the following video components in one spot, such as an external hard drive:

  • Powerpoints, slides, or other presentations used
  • Scripts
  • Original audio files
  • Music files
  • Original video files

Learning Goals

When it comes to developing a video tutorial, it is always a best practice to set a learning goal. The learning goal should reflect what the student should know or be able to do at the end of viewing a video. The learning goal will also help keep your video focused.  Short videos should not have more than one learning goal, as the lack of focus may confuse library users. The general format for a learning objective is:

Keep the learning goals short, brief, and simple. This example is specific, but offers enough room to approach the concept of evaluating information in unique ways. 

Note: Learning goals are different from learning objectives. Objectives are used to evaluate specific tasks. In most cases, you will not be assessing student learning after they watch a video, therefore developing a learning goal is more appropriate. 

Peer Review

Peer review is an important component of the video process. Your fellow librarians can provide feedback on the video script and storyboard that you may overlook as the person creating the video. The Penfield Librarians have found it useful for their peers to review video content for:

Some ways to conduct the peer review is to centrally store video data so everyone has access to it, and provide them with rubrics or guiding questions as they review the video content. 

Technology

When it comes to selecting technology for video production, allow team members to use technology of their choice. Doing so will encourage team members to finish their videos.  It is also important for support to provided for team members trying out new technologies. This will provide more diversity among your video collection, which impacts the interest factor. Just make sure to implement common branding elements, such as title/closing slides and messages.  

Recording Process

When it comes to recording your video, consider recording audio and video separately. Doing this allows you to: 

  • Have more control of audio
  • Have better sounding audio
  • Makes filming screencasts less stressful

Filming in HD Dimensions

Video tutorials will be viewed on a variety of devices, so a best practice is to create your video in HD dimensions. Doing so will make your video less pixelated when viewed on larger devices.  A standard HD frame size is 1280 x 720 pixels. Many film editing software will allow you to adjust your frame to this size. 

Slide Presentations

When using PowerPoint or equivalent for creating slides, save the file as an image file, such as .JPEG or .png. Doing so will make inserting slides in your video editor more manageable.