10 ways to ensure your digital media is effective every time.
This short guide provides an opportunity for academics and expert contributors to think about the media that they create for courses, whether that’s video, audio podcast, illustration, photograph or in some cases text. It’s worth exploring why some of these learning objects are effective and why some just aren’t and how you can ensure the video or another digital object you make will encourage repeat views and listens.
Here are ten tips to help you get the best from the media you create to use within learning objects. This might be similar to the support you receive from a learning designer or media team who will encourage you to plan and incorporate the following suggestions into your course.
1.Make a connection with your audience.
Think about the people who might be viewing or listening, do you seem approachable? are you smiling? You’ll be amazed when I tell you that I’ve had grumpy academics, hoping that this is all going to be over soon, come across quite poorly. Perhaps the first few words you say might include a “hello!” or a quick introduction, it’s vital that you get the audience on side from the outset. Academics are sometimes reluctant to put their personality on show, but teaching is performance.
2.Set your learning outcomes.
You might want to let your audience know what you’re hoping to achieve. You want to avoid sounding like an online manual, but you should set the objective. For instance “We want to explore the idea of time travel so that you can better understand what incredible physics would be involved.” Put the big questions out there on the screen, in writing if necessary.
3.Put your learners first.
What role do you want your learners to take? As they watch and listen the should start to think about the part that they’re going to play.
Great course presenters and academic leads think about the value the learners will bring to the course, if you’re only in broadcast mode then you can’t be sure they’re properly watching or listening.
4.Give us the goods
If you can share the passion you have for your subject, then you’ll engage and inspire in equal measure. Paint your picture with broad strokes but don’t forget the details. Learners love what they can take home and sometimes little gems provide moments can trigger memories later and aid retention.
5.Illustrate your point.
One of reasons to choose a video is that it gives you the opportunity to show rather than tell. It’s much more interesting to show an example, demonstrate or examine something. If you can support your ideas and theories with strong examples that your audience can understand and relate to, then you’ll increase engagment. Remember, it’s not just about video; skilled podcasters can paint pictures and carry the listeners through a new experience.
6.Let your audience reflect.
Keep bringing it back to them, help your learners relate and reflect on their own practice. The connections they make are invaluable, every time an idea can be applied and absorbed even in the abstract can carry the learner onwards. It really is all about them. This is as close in a closed broadcast to something approaching a learning check.
7.Put yourself on the line.
Learners love personality and individuality, they want to hear distinctive voices and they want to find their own voices in considering whether to agree or not. Get them off the fence, encroach on their comfort zones and they will respond with good questions, create discourse and discussion. There will be a buzz around your course.
8.Listen to the experts
t the people around you guide and help you. If you are working with a media team, then let them support what you’re trying to do. Use them as a sanity check or to hear how things sound. Learning Designers and Content Producers are looking at the big picture, how your contribution will fit into the course. Remember it’s a team game.
9.Let the people around you guide and help you.
If you are working with a media team, then let them support what you’re trying to do. Use them as a sanity check or to hear how things sound. Learning Designers and Content Producers are looking at the big picture, how your contribution will fit into the course. Remember it’s a team game.
10.Sum up your outcomes
Make sure there’s a wrapper around the learning, whilst you should put yourself on the line (no.8) you should reach a conclusion. This frames the video or learning object in it’s own right. You need to scaffold learning, build upon each idea and outcome, but your object should equally be able to stand alone, you want to be the go to destination for the best answer.
(cheeky 11.) Leave them wanting more.
Your students should know that there’s more to come. They might want to get in touch, especially if you’ve created channels to comment and feedback. Each learning object tells part of the story, a well-designed and well-written film, podcast, image, post or other digital project should keep the learning alive, the flame should keep burning.
The media created for blended or online courses has to deliver a moment or several moments of learning, each distinct and accessible.
In the classroom, we might make small adjustments as we deliver, taking in the mood, seizing an opportunity, we can be agile and spontaneous when we need to be.
At the heart of every brilliant course is the learner, so keep thinking about how they will engage with the encounters that you create for them.
Remember to use the people around you and make sure to take a deep breath before starting.