I create a lot of how-to videos for my students. I enjoy doing it and the students generally tell me they’re useful. However, recent personal experience with how-to videos in a course I’m taking has led me to really think more critically about video best practices.
First, let me explain: I love the course topic and I’m highly motivated to learn the material. Part of that course requires me to learn how to use a specific technology tool. To support that, the instructor has created a number of how-to videos. I think he’s done a credible job. Yet, I keep mentally tuning out. I don’t even realize I’ve done it until a quiz question pops up, pausing the video. I think one problem is that I learn tech stuff quite easily so the pacing is not working for me and the pausing is killing my flow. The video technology can let me control the pace a bit. The built-in quiz questions can be skipped, but I never know when the question might be important! Unfortunately, since the questions are more about keeping the viewer’s attention, they’re not the best/most relevant questions.
To summarize, my concerns are related to instructional design choices and their impact on:
- pacing and whether the same how-to video can be useful to someone who finds the topic challenging and someone who finds it fairly easy
- control and what interferes with exerting that control
- interactive video options, their relationship to pacing & control and their use solely for purpose of holding attention
- achieving flow and how embedded quiz questions significantly reduce the possibility of getting in the zone when learning how to do something new!
I don’t have answers (yet), but I’m going to re-research instructional video best practices with an eye toward the intersection of control and pacing, interactive video, and flow in how-to videos for adult learners.
Do you have some insight or comment you’d like to share? I’d certainly like to hear from you.