If you have ever participated in or put together an online course, then you know that there are two common visual methods for distributing content. These are videos and slideshows. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Whether you are teaching or learning, it is important to be aware of these in order to have a positive eLearning experience.
Videos can be used in many ways in a classroom. You can create video lectures that allow you to disseminate content in a manner similar to what you would expect in a traditional classroom. Videos can also be used to demonstrate concepts and skills you want your students to learn. Some videos serve as original content and further discussion and analysis can be held.
If properly executed, videos can be highly engaging and effective. Video lectures can help engender a personal connection between you and your students. However, videos proceed at a steady pace. The only way students can consistently slow them down is by pausing them. This means that if you did not anticipate questions and build the answers into your script, a pre-recorded video lecture can become a choppy and difficult experience.
Slideshow presentations can be created using a variety of programs, both paid and free. Slideshows are a staple in both online and traditional classrooms. In a traditional classroom, a slideshow provides a visual element for a lecture. In most online classes, the slideshow can be the lecture itself.
Creating a slideshow presentation lets you incorporate a variety of text and visual information. You can also embed video and audio, though the last is uncommon. Depending on the program you use to put it together, including diagrams, graphs, and other images can be a simple process. Students can proceed through slide shows at their own pace, and you can usually embed links into slides that will help direct them to further resources.
Slideshows can be less personal than videos. Relying too heavily on slideshows may mean risking student disengagement. While many slideshow formats are viewable on most modern computers, some may require installing additional software, particularly if students don’t have a ready access to programs like PowerPoint. This can create an extra hurdle for some students participating in your online course.
Videos can be embedded into most slideshow presentations. Embedding a series of short videos allows students more control over pacing. You can also frame the videos with additional content such as diagrams or links to additional readings. Similarly, you can bring aspects of a slideshow to a video presentation. It is a relatively simple matter to edit in still frames to integrate those diagrams and other images.
You can use multiple presentation formats for your online class. A mix is advisable, since variety can help keep students engaged. Use what is most effective for you, but also experiment with different programs and tools to see which one best accomplishes your goals. New tools are constantly being released, so keep an eye out for your changing options.
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