Online tutorials are:
- Asynchronous --Can watch them at any time, but it's also easy for users to be distracted.
- Broadcast--Less interactive than face to face.
- Responsive & Scalable-- Many can do it at the same time or when it's convenient.
- A multimedia experience.
- effective for multiple learning styles.
Tutorials are most effective for:
- Chunks of info (they can't be exhaustive).
- Reaching a large or distant group.
- Encouraging multiple ways of learning.
- Tasks, processes or steps, not broad concepts.
Best practices for online tutorials
- Look at it through a local lens.
- Plan design before you do it. Design should be transparent--be clear about audience, outcomes, content (concept may need to be broken into several videos)
- Visual piece has to be engaging--think visually so users will be engaged mentally.
- Make content interactive--include things like quizzes.
- Break up content into chunks.
- No more than five minutes, tops --2-3 minutes is better.
- Do storyboarding ahead of time--50% scripting, 50% production.
- Use editing tools to make it more dynamic (this is an advantage Captivate, Camtasia or Screenflow has over free software)
- Everything should be consistent-- same shape of window, file type, text, contact info, and intro screen.
- Record short clips --stop any time you click a link or go to a page--that way you don't have to redo the whole thing if you mess up.
There are many free screencasting options available such as Screentoaster, Screencast-o-matic, Jing, Wink and Camstudio. They don't have editing options, but you could edit the screencasts later in another program like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. For free public domain music check out the Internet Archive or Jamendo.
For hearing impaired patrons, Camtasia & Captivate can have closed captioning.
Handouts for the presentation are available here.