Online video is everywhere, from the ubiquitous YouTube to the roster of world-class speakers featured by TED.
With Articulate Studio ’09‘s native support for Flash FLV & SWF, as well as QuickTime H.264 video, it’s no surprise that Articulate customers are pushing the envelope to incorporate this increasingly affordable and accessible instructional medium in their content.
Optimizing Video Playback in Articulate Presenter
Mark Dorosz, Director at Knowledge Screen, a New York-based learning and communications company that combines Articulate-powered rapid elearning with low-cost video production, first appeared on my radar last week when he posted a comment on Phil Corriveau’s blog entry about improving presentation download time.
In particular, Mark was interested in Phil’s pre-loader for embedded video and how it could make his video-heavy content perform even better. Phil happened to be working on an update to his pre-loader to support FLV Flash — a great example of the Articulate Community helping one another out.
(Though Mark found Articulate Presenter’s native FLV video handling capabilities sufficient for this demo, he’s exploring incorporating Phil’s pre-loader in the future.)
Video in Articulate Presenter Demo
Mark’s video demo course is an excellent example of incorporating slide-level video in Articulate Presenter ’09. Behold:
Interview with Mark Dorosz
I asked Mark a few questions about his experience creating online video and Articulate content:
Online video has been around for years — what’s so exciting today?
With tools like Articulate and green screen video (the magic that puts the weatherman in front of the map), video is finally in the hands of instructional designers. Previously, you needed a degree in streaming media technology and a Hollywood-sized film budget to make this happen. Now, we can pull together a storyboard in Presenter on Monday, produce a professional quality video on Tuesday, and have a rapid video learning course ready for rollout to learners by Friday. Also, the necessary IT infrastructure is in place; there’s a misperception that video places huge demands on your network, but the resulting files are often much smaller than a system demonstration.
On set with Mark Dorosz and the Knowledge Screen film crew
What do you see as the instructional potential of video?
When done right, video provides the missing link between the passion of a classroom instructor and the scalability of self-paced elearning. People sharing their ideas on camera is the norm, whether you’re catching up with the morning news on CNN, deciding between two politicians, or enjoying an episode of America’s Got Talent. A polished video script combined with a well-rehearsed presenter can add a new level of personal engagement and credibility to elearning that we just can’t achieve with Flash animations. How would you rather learn about sales techniques? From an interactive video featuring your company’s top sales rep, or from an anonymous voice over?
Any top tips you can share with the Articulate Community on using video?
Absolutely. When we first started this project — to combine rapid elearning with green screen video — we had a few hiccups, but our final production process is simple and low cost:
- Prepare your speaker: An employee on camera beats a professional actor any day for authenticity. A few hours spent preparing your speaker will save you time on set and make post-production a cinch. You can find out more here.
- Keep it simple: With any new medium, our tendency is to go wild. Unless you have a Stephen Spielberg budget, don’t try anything too fancy or you’ll fall short of a professional end product. If your local TV news anchor wouldn’t do it, neither should you.
- Remember, this is rapid elearning: Video offers lots of potential for rework. Instead, stay focused on engaging your audience rather than trying to iron out every last little niggle, and you’ll have some energy left for your next project.
Why do you use Articulate products?
We really did our due diligence when looking for a stable authoring platform for rapid video learning. (You know who we’re talking about!) Articulate was the only tool that could handle the transparent backgrounds produced by green screen video (the Alpha channel) and play multiple clips without any issues. Articulate allows us to focus on learning design rather than pulling our hair out over the technical bugs found in competing products.
What are your favorite Articulate features?
We love that PowerPoint is the platform that underlies Presenter ’09. If you can think outside the box, it’s essentially a blank canvass with unlimited creative potential. It’s also great for working with our speakers, as they’re comfortable with PowerPoint and it helps them envision the end product. The notes feature is a huge plus for us: we can do one closed captioning with one click — and that’s something that puts Articulate way ahead of its competition.
How can other companies get involved?
We see huge potential for rapid video learning in corporate education. We’re currently looking for Fortune 500 firms to pilot this approach in their organization. So if you have a Head of HR or a classroom instructor who’s looking to make their video debut in front of your employees, we’d love to give them the star treatment and make them shine on camera.
Thanks for sharing your story, Mark.
Have a case study or featured content you’d like to share here? Let me know.