Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A word of warning, be careful…

… as to what media you use if you are ever asked to produce a festive tip for the eLearning networks 24 tips advent calendar

Why a warning?

Well, because you might just be asked to facilitate a session on it at a future eLN event!!

Joking aside, I was privileged to be asked by Rob Hubbbard to co-facilitate the recent eLN event How to produce rich media learning materials. This was something of a departure for an eLN event as it was planned to be very ‘hands on’, so it was great to be asked to be a part of it.

Each of the speakers had been asked to promote their individual topic areas for 20 minutes. Not to delve into the technicalities and intricacies of each method, but to prick the interest of the attendees so that would be sufficiently enthused prior to the practical session in the afternoon. (that was the plan!)

Here’s what the guys had to offer…


Exploring the elements of online communication – Clive Shepherd

Clive got us off to a great start by asking each table of delegates to consider a different media element; text, images, audio, animation, video and to suggest the pro’s and con’s of each. This was a fairly simple exercise, however he then asked us to consider which of the ‘other’ types of media would/wouldn’t work it and why. This stimulated a great deal of debate around the ‘mixing’ of media types.

Why not give this simple exercise a go yourself?

Writing for audio  – so that it works – Tony Frascina

Tony conducted a great interactive exercise which involved each us all reviewing a small number of simple slides containing text and an image. As each of these slides were playing there was an accompanying audio track. The content within that audio track varied slightly for each slide ranging from being very similar to incredibly in-depth.

Tony then asked us all to answer some paper based questions relating to the content that we had seen/read. I would like to say that I had taken a keener interest in this exercise as it would have been interesting to focus 100% on it, however as I was due to speak next I’m afraid that I was a little ‘distracted’!

UPDATE – Fortunately Stephanie Dedhar has done a great job of reviewing this session.

If a picture paints a 1000 words, how many does a moving, talking picture paint? – Craig Taylor

I was quite pleased that I was asked to speak on this subject as the very nature of screencasting meant that I could use screencasts themselves to deliver the content.


I chose to use Prezi as the vehicle to deliver the material. I had used Prezi in the (distant) past and hadn’t been too enthralled by its functionality, but I was pleased to discover that they appear to have made several welcome updates to the service. I’m still hoping that they will figure out a way to have accompanying audio, in the same ilk of PowerPoint and Slideshare and that they can come up with a way to use a remote presenter, so that I am not tied to my laptop whilst presenting. It is that lack of audio track which persuaded me to record my session and release it in  a future blog post podcast.

Video editing - James Stoneley and Solomon Rogers

James and Solomon rounded the morning off with an overview of recording video and editing. The feeling from some people on my table and via the backchannel was that it would have been preferable to show examples of how video could be used for learning purposes with ‘lower end’ equipment i.e. Flip cameras/smartphones etc. From a personal perspective I was happy with what was delivered BUT I do have an understanding as to how video can be used in a learning context.

After lunch was the point at which the eLN entered new ground by providing an afternoon of experiential learning by allowing attendees to practice making screencasts and recording/editing videos. From the 2 groups that I worked with this ‘hands on’ approach was warmly received and provided a fantastic opportunity to apply the theory in the real world (isn’t this what we keep saying our learners should be doing?)

Bearing in mind that they only had 30 minutes to discuss the subject, download software, create the media, edit, publish and that the purpose wasn’t to create a ‘real-time’ screencast, here is a sample of what they produced:

All in all, a really useful event, the format of which I hope the eLN repeats in the future.

A big Thank You to Mark Jones for coming up with concept of this event and for facilitating the entire day.

View the original article here

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