Software animated demonstrations – which more recently have come to be known as “screencasts”- have generated new interest as a promising learning tool. Those videos walk users through the successful and immediate accomplishment of a task and serve adequate learning scenarios, such as:
In this article we suggest three ways in which you can augment your screencasts with interactive elements of our new Interactive Video Editor. Interactivity in screencasts is now essential more than ever because a quick flow of the video doesn’t help viewers understand all the steps interpreted.
So, here are three interactive elements for your screencasts you can add just in seconds:
A useful technique you can apply is signaling. Signaling is achieved by highlighting specific steps in your video and using hotspots to draw attention to essential visual aspects. Such elements in a video reduce the representational holding of the learner and help them absorb the information better.
Signaling is achieved with colored frames or boxes that are put around the object in question. For example, you can highlight the next action you are going to explain:
The relationship between the components and the whole carries a meaning beyond the spatial arrangement. Therefore, signaling has proven to be critical for creating correlations between concepts (what they are being explained and what they see). Highlighting supports your learners’ mental selection and organization during observation and helps them absorb the new ideas you are teaching. Ideally, there should be only one element highlighted at a time.
With our Video Editor you are able to enhance the effect by sounding a bell when the highlight shows up. Also, in case you describe difficult procedures you can choose to pause the video when a specific highlighter shows up.
How does this contribute?
You show your viewers where they should pay extra attention to. Your viewers will better remember the critical and difficult steps.
If you do this for a number of steps in the screencasts you allow viewers to receive information at their own pace. No relation with the stressful screencasts where you have to rewatch specific steps again and again to be able to remember them!
Remember to give users enough time for viewing the whole picture before focusing upon a detail.
Clickable buttons allow users to navigate inside or outside the video. Navigation is another awesome asset you can provide with the Interactive Video Editor. For example, you can add external links to specific points in your video that your viewers can visit:
Or add navigational buttons with which learners can either skip a section of your screencast or rewatch it. This is achieved choosing the “going to video point” option and giving the exact minute you want users to be lead to:
Having control over the content access is significant as a learner might want to jump to another desired part of the video rather follow the pre-given route (this is especially important for long screencasts).
Video inside the video
A third interactive component that can adorn your video is allowing multimedia to play simultaneously in the same screen (without asking the viewer to go outside the video). This is another great feature as the viewer is capable to rewatch an older screencast and remember essential stuff without having to search on their own.
So those were only three ways in which you can lift up your screencasts today! Learners love the existence of such elements in a video. The truth is that interactivity in any form gives essential support in learning and a sense that the instructor is more present in the procedure (a process that is called “scaffolding” in the educational science). So, it is your turn now to experiment with interactivity in your screencasts and why not share your suggestion with us!