“I think your elearning courses succeed because they have personality.”
This comment was part of a conversation I was having with an L&D peer at a conference recently. I was really happy to hear it. When we were putting our elearning courses together, we thought a lot about how we were going to engage learners in the conversation. We wanted our instructors to seem spontaneous and genuine. After all, we're a presentation and facilitation skills training company. If we were going to do this right, we needed to be able to model the behaviors we were teaching.
Talking Head Video can be Effective if Done Right
There's been some chatter on social media lately about how ineffective talking head video is in elearning. I reject that idea. The problem isn't that we're seeing a person on the screen. The problem is seeing someone who's clearly uncomfortable and ineffective as the on-camera instructor.
So when we, as elearning professionals, use talking heads in our courses, we need to find a way to ensure the speaker's personality comes through. I could write about our techniques, but it's more effective to see it in action. You can check out our courses here on OpenSesame or watch these how-to videos that we put together as part of a session I occasionally lead at industry conferences.
Engaging Learners Through the Camera
To Memorize or Improvise?
Keep It Authentic
If you're planning to include talking head video in your elearning courses, just remember: No learner wants to sit through an online course with stilted, painful, inauthentic video. They want to get in, be engaged in the conversation, learn what they need to learn, and get on with things. Using the techniques above should help.
Mastering the Technical Side of eLearning Video Production
Finally, here are some additional videos about the technical side of eLearning video production.
Greg Owen-Boger (VP, Turpin Communication, a presentation and facilitation skills training company based in Chicago) designs and delivers instructor-led workshops and is one of the talking heads in Turpin's online courses. He is the 2014 President-Elect for the Chicagoland Chapter of ASTD (CCASTD), and he is the co-author of the soon-to-be-released book “The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined.”