Tutorials are user-friendly tools that illustrate a lesson or provide a step by step example of how to perform an action. Using tutorials with videos are wonderful mnemonic tools that enliven a lesson and help revive flagging user interest. If you would like to begin using tutorials there are a number of considerations to keep in mind.
Outline your tutorial – Creating a tutorial begins with developing an outline or strategy. You probably have a great deal of expertise on this particular topic, but you probably won’t be able to share all of it with your students. You want to pick the most salient points, expound a little, and perhaps provide some memorable examples. Ultimately you want to communicate your expertise in easily digestible chunks.
Go slowly – A tutorial requires a framework in which you provide introductory concepts that are then further explained. You gradually add new terms and concepts until you have successfully covered all of the relevant material to that topic.
Include video –Useful tools for helping students understand and remember key lessons are videos. Online training courses should always use some form of video to help make points. These videos may be taken with a video camera or cellphone then uploaded and edited. In many cases, however, you will be using video taken with a Webcam or recorded using video capture software.
Maintain production value – Successful use of video is highly dependent upon the quality of the video, audio, and added effects like text and images. There are some excellent commercial applications available like Adobe Captivate, Debut Video Capture Software and LiteCam, but one of the most popular is Camtasia. Camtasia offers some robust features like a simple to use editor, customized media backgrounds and accents, and multi-device functionality. Camtasia is an outstanding program, but like most of these applications, it comes with a hefty price tag.
If you would like to produce high quality video without having to pay hundreds, you may wish to explore free or minimal cost alternatives like Screencast-O-Matic, Ezvid, or Webinaria. These programs sport many of the same features of the bulky commercial applications but come free or with very reasonable costs. Most of these programs have free trial versions which provide an excellent introduction. You may find that you want the comfort of a bulky commercial application, but if you are looking for a slimmed down, free to use video capture tool, any of these may suit your needs.
Write out your voiceover – In order to produce a high quality video, you should begin with a script unless you have taught this material enough that you don’t require notes. Even if you know the topic in depth, you should have a list of key points, otherwise you may be required to re-record portions of the tutorial and spend needless time editing.
Organize your materials — While you are preparing your video, be sure to organize your actions. If you are going to be capturing video from your computer screen, organize your tools and files so that you can utilize them quickly and naturally. Also utilize visual examples as often as possible; these videos and images are much more effective than a wall of text, a series of complex actions or a long verbal list of instructions. Humor and entertainment may be used to revive interest in the material as you go through your monologue.
Tutorials are often as enjoyable for you as they are for the student. Not only do you get an opportunity to present yourself in a more natural way by speaking directly to the course user, but you can spend a fraction of the time on a video that you might on a dense list of notes. If you are having issues producing your tutorial, the professionals on Coggno.com or our Facebook page may be able to help point you in the right direction. Also check our Pinterest and Twitter pages where we round up quick tips and how tos that can be of use to creating your tutorials.