There are many elements of teaching in a classroom setting: lectures, assessments, projects, discussions, short quizzes, guest speakers, assignments, group activities. Combined these things together can form an effective in-person delivery package.
So, when we move from face-to-face to remote teaching, each of these individual elements of an in-class experience needs to be carefully considered for their delivery in a remote learning space in addition to their help in the overall learning objectives and the end goals of the users.
At Artha, our Instructional Designers always underline the best practices during our extensive consultation sessions with the higher-ed professors, as they transfer courses to virtual settings, we spend our time paying attention to transferring each element in detail, which often turns out to be a great opportunity to craft a new delivery approach. Though the concepts and the objectives remain the same, reimagining of the elements for online delivery is a large part of our work at Artha.
Out of these elements, the most obvious difference in the change to remote learning is moving from a live in-person lecture to a pre-recorded lecture. In the move to remote teaching, many institutes and instructors have adopted an asynchronous method of content delivery via pre-recorded lectures. Pre-recorded lectures enable instructors to make an impactful, tech-issue free delivery, and allow students increased flexibility.
As we move more and more away from face to face lectures, here are some best practices to consider when recording lectures or other instructional videos.
Look real – Don’t try to bring the sessions to studio-level perfection. You are a real human and students don’t expect perfection. Being somewhat casual in your recording can also make you appear more authentic. Remember that students will look at the lecture as if they were sitting in a class. Authenticity breeds familiarity.
Build snippets for better attention – Break your lectures into manageable pieces. Having multiple shorter videos will help keep the attention of your students. It also provides more flexibility for them to start and stop when it is convenient for them.
Have your notes handy – Prepare your rough notes ahead of time. Even if you can usually stand up in front of the class and speak, recording yourself is a different dynamic. Unless you are used to recording, it is recommended that you have some rough notes to use. This will also significantly reduce your editing time during post-production.
Engage students – Include periodic engagement elements to keep your learners engaged. These could be in the form of options to recall any previous content or presenting some knowledge-check questions between portions of your lectures. You can also ask them to pause the video, consider the question, and then continue playing the video. If you want to move up a notch, there are plenty of interactive platforms, for example, H5P, that allow the creation of interactive videos as well.
Plan the session – Pre-plan your engagement elements. Know when you want to include these elements, how long you will pause for the interaction, and how you want to include the interactions. Remember, you cannot depend on in-person feedback from your audience anymore.
Bridging smoothly – Bridge from the pre-recorded session to the live class elements. This will show how the pieces of your course work together and why students should care about the different elements. For example, based on your content you could create discussion forums in your LMS, or schedule a time within your office hours.
Maintain consistency – Release your videos on the same day each week. Consistency is key online. Remote students need to know they can rely on the same structure week to week.
Ensure audio quality – Your voice must be crystal clear because this is how you deliver the learning. There should not be any distractions such as background noises. Of course, having a great quality of both audio and video is ideal, but audio always takes priority in a successful eLearning environment.
Technology plays an important role in the going for a pre-recorded lecture, so choosing the correct platform for your online delivery is almost as important as selecting the content itself.
One final thought – It is a tough task to keep your students engaged and attentive in asynchronous video delivery. How do you know what will work with your audience? Well, the best people to give you feedback are your students – ask them what worked and what did not in your synchronous sessions, so you can improve your recordings as you go.