Your lecture format has a big impact on how your users will process information. The most effective courses use a mix of different formats to convey each message in the most engaging way. The three high level formats are video file, text article, and quiz, and within the video format, you can choose to create a talking head, screencast, slide presentation or video & slide mashup.
Depending on the content you are teaching in an individual lecture, you should pick the lecture format that will provide the best visual accompaniment to your message. Below you will find a list of all the possible formats and tips when to best use them. You don’t have to use all types, but mixing it up provides variation for users, which helps guard against boredom and helps refocus attention.
Purpose: Build trust and credibility, demonstrate support or empathy for users, provide variation.
Use for: Intro video, intro or summary of section, when you share a story or share your perspective, when you would otherwise stay on the same slide / screen page for a longer time (more than 30 seconds).
Purpose: Focus attention on key points, visualize complicated mental models, ensure spelling is known.
Use for: Multi-step concepts, highlighting key points, defining jargon, visualizing models. Don’t forget you can include images in slides too.
Tip: Use large font for users watching your course on mobile.
Purpose: Walk through multi-step processes.
Use for: Describing how to use software or find relevant examples on the internet, get users to follow along, showing how to use particular programs or programming languages.
Tip: Zoom in for users watching your course on mobile.
Purpose: Provide variation, self-guided learning, easy way to combine text & images.
Use for: Concepts/step-by-step guides that users can work through on their own, materials that need to be seen written, intro or summary of section, supplemental material.
Purpose: Test knowledge, provide variation, engage users.
Use for: Opportunity for users to assess if they understood and remember the content, section outro, pre-test knowledge about a topic, section intro.
Video & PDF Mashup
A Video & PDF Mashup allows you to time sync a video with PDF slides. The slides can be selected as the foreground and the video is played in the bottom right hand corner. Remember that movement in a second screen can be distracting, so don’t use it when you want your users to focus on the screen rather than your face.
Purpose: Still have a personal touch through video while walking users through software or websites, provide variation.
Use for: Simple / easy-to-follow screen pages. Don’t use when a user’s full attention actually needs to be on the screencast.