There is a wide group of applications that can be used to provide audio and/or video feed for online learning including, but not limited to, Windows Media Player (www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/default.mspx), RealPlayer (www.realplayer.com), and YouTube (www.youtube.com).
Adding video and audio to an online session is a great way to provide added interest. Seeing a video demonstration or hearing someone talking about a particular subject can make content come alive. Text-based content is effective; however, video and audio can help highlight the point you are trying to make, and they can simply add a bit of fun to a learning site. Adding video and audio to online learning also helps address a variety of learning styles and preferences.
The possibilities for the type of video and audio feed that you can add to online learning are many! For example, you could include video and/or audio of a subject expert explaining the content you are training on. You could include a video of someone demonstrating a particular skill or concept that you are trying to explain. You could include music as background or as part of the content. For example, a yoga site might add music that plays while you are reviewing text-based content or watching a demonstration of some of the poses. What you decide to do depends on the type of training you are trying to provide.
If, for example, you want to provide an online session to help literacy learners improve their basic math skills, you could show a video that demonstrates the concepts of addition and subtraction. The American website YourTeacher.com (www.yourteacher.com) has many teaching videos available. Although this site requires you to pay a fee to access all of the videos, some of them are available for viewing at no charge. For informational videos about a wide variety of subjects, be sure to check out Monkey See (www.monkeysee.com) where you can learn how to winterize your car, make a Bloody Mary or learn to kayak.
An important concept to keep in mind when adding audio and/or video to your online training is that less is more. Lengthy video or audio presentations can be a deterrent for participants. With this in mind, many good training providers break up their audio and/or video into shorter segments and intersperse them throughout the training. For example, there might be a few paragraphs of text about a particular piece of content with a five-minute video clip included to help illustrate it.
We have mentioned a few examples of online learning using video and audio presentations. You can find instructional video and/or audio on virtually any subject you are looking for by searching on the Internet.
One of the most popular video sharing sites is YouTube. However, YouTube isn't the only place to find videos. LearnOutLoud features over 15,000 educational audio books, MP3 downloads, podcasts and videos. Another good source is Teacher Tube or Google Video. To find audio presentations, a good place to start your search is iTunes. Also, most newspapers, magazines and radio stations include podcasts of many of their news items and feature stories.
If you can't find what you are looking for, you could videotape or record what you need and upload it to YouTube and then link it to your training event. The quality of your video or audio presentation will depend on the equipment you use and your camera and/or recording skills. If you want a professional, polished presentation, you will need to find someone who can do this for you (provided you have the budget to pay for it). A good idea may be to check with your local community college or even high school. Many colleges and schools teach these skills and there may be students eager to practice and help you out.
Technology in Action
Learning through video and audio presentations is great for professional development. Literacy practitioners can't always leave their agencies, but they can find the time to watch an instructional video. For example, the “Let's go Learn” YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/LetsgoLearnVideo ) has nine instructional videos that practitioners can watch to learn about reading and reading assessments.
Adding audio and/or video feed to your online training will depend on the training platform you are using. For example, many types of training software let you easily link to or include audio and/or video presentations in a training event. For an interesting example of how one organization includes video on their website, be sure to visit Mind your Mind (www.mindyourmind.ca) which features embedded video on the main page as well as links to other video presentations. For another excellent example of integrating audio into online learning, go to The Learning Edge (www.thewclc.ca/edge), an interactive site for adult literacy learners.
As well, the Canadian Council on Learning has prepared an inspirational series of online videos about men and women with literacy challenges telling their stories. These success story videos are available on the CCL website at: www.ccl-cca.ca/CCL/Reports/ReadingFuture/SuccessStories.htm.
Additional Resources about Audio and Video Feed
For a good overview of the use of audio, visit The University of Manitoba's Learning Technologies Centre's website: http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/wiki/index.php?title=Audio. They also have a page about using video: http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/wiki/index.php?title=Video.
Check out the article called “Using Audio in e-learning” from the November 16, 2007 edition of e-learning Weekly.
There is also an article from the April 12, 2007 edition of e-learning Weekly called “Using Video in e-learning”.