A Unique Way to Use Video in Your E-Learning Course’s Sidebar

Written by dfair — Posted in Articulate Presenter

This guest post was written by Articulate Customer Support Engineer David Fair.

Videos are a great way to enhance the appeal and effectiveness of your e-learning courses. Many e-learning developers like to insert movies onto their course slides, but did you know you can also add a video to the presenter panel in the sidebar of your course? And if your video is taller than it is wide, you can even fill your sidebar with video if you want. This can create a unique look that really catches the eye of your learners or clients:

Inspired by a previous blog post by Dave Moxon, I’ve recently been experimenting with adding video to the sidebar, and I wanted to share with you some ideas to  try in your own courses.

Some Examples of Sidebar Video

Here’s a little intro to what sidebar video can look like. In the following screencast, I’ll show you a few examples of a video that contains scrolling images, as well as some continuous-motion videos. Take a look:

View this video at Screenr

Creating a Video of Scrolling Images

Now let’s walk through some how-to’s. To create a video of scrolling images, you’ll first need to set up a PowerPoint file to contain the images you want to include. Here’s how:  

View this video at Screenr

You can download the source files I used for my example here.

Next, you’ll configure your slideshow to display in a portrait orientation, and you’ll play the slideshow while recording it with Screenr. In my demo, I used dimensions of 320 pixels wide x 754 pixels high, which resulted in a video that, when resized for the sidebar, ended up being 233 x 549 pixels. That filled my sidebar nicely, but you can experiment with the dimensions that look best for your video and content. Once you record your slideshow, you just need to download the MP4 from Screenr and insert it into your course’s presenter panel. That’s what we’ll cover in this tutorial:

View this video at Screenr

Helpful Tips

The following screencast describes a few additional things I did to enhance my learners’ viewing experience . One tip is to use a custom pre-loader to reduce the likelihood that learners will have to wait for your video to load. You can find examples of pre-loaders that folks in the Articulate community have shared here and here.

View this video at Screenr

Another Cool Way to Use Sidebar Video: Full-Motion Video

In this final screencast, I’ll show you a couple examples of full-motion video in the sidebar. You can use Screenr to create similar videos, or you can use Articulate Video Encoder to crop an existing video to a size that’ll fit in your sidebar. You could even look into using an online service like this one to feature a full-length video of a narrator. Take a look:

View this video at Screenr

I hope this gives you some new ideas for ways to incorporate video into your courses! Questions or feedback? Feel free to start a thread in the Community Forums and we can discuss. I’m looking forward to hearing about how you use this technique!

13 responses to “A Unique Way to Use Video in Your E-Learning Course’s Sidebar”


Wow, David! What a great idea! We’re currently in the middle of building several courses that utilize video in a variety of scenarios. I can’t wait to see how we might incorporate these ideas. We’ll keep you posted and hopefully can share some examples.

Diana Jaffee // Posted at 11:46 am on August 4th, 2010

Great use of the ART tools. I really like the imagination and creative ideas shared here, keep it up.

Patrick // Posted at 9:55 am on August 5th, 2010

This is awesome work. Adding an actual narrator is so cool.

Darlene // Posted at 11:49 am on August 5th, 2010

Can you please post the instructions on how to allow the Video person” on the side bar running through the whole presentation? Thanks.

CK Medved // Posted at 3:57 pm on August 6th, 2010

@CK Medved: You won’t be able to have a video that plays throughout your whole presentation by using the Presenter Panel as demonstrated in this video. However, you may be able to achieve continuous video throughout your presentation using the method described in this article: How to Customize the Presenter Player with Continuous Video

David Fair // Posted at 5:04 pm on August 6th, 2010

[…] A Unique Way to Use Video in Your E-Learning Course’s Sidebar […]


Are you able to use screenr to record a screencast even if I don’t have twitter account?

Tekeya Holley // Posted at 3:07 pm on August 10th, 2010

@Tekeya Holley: Currently, you will need to have a Twitter account to use Screenr. However, you aren’t required to post your Screenr videos on Twitter. For more information and help with Screenr, see http://screenr.com/help

David Fair // Posted at 3:28 pm on August 10th, 2010

HI David, In one of your videos you mentioned that one cannot make the presenter area click-able to a website. Yes we can make it. I will be soon posting that on my profile.

Anil S

Anil Sawant // Posted at 6:39 am on September 11th, 2010

Nice article, David ! To answer Anil’s point above, if you use SWF rather than MP4 as your video format, then you can indeed make this area clickable to a URL.

David Moxon // Posted at 11:07 am on September 22nd, 2010

[…] week, spend some time with branching, sidebar videos, blank slides, using Engage differently or sharing feedback on other users’ projects. Because […]


Anyone know if you can put a hyperlink into the presenter bar video?

James // Posted at 1:21 am on March 9th, 2012

Hi James,

Since the Presenter Panel can hold SWF files, yes, you can add hyperlinks to your SWF file.

David // Posted at 11:39 am on March 9th, 2012

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