Screencasts were chosen as a more appropriate format to assist in the online learning of TEL applications compared to static or print-based tutorials with text and screen shots, since the former are considered more authentic in terms of task representation and the medium through which they are presented (Van der Meij and van der Meij, 2015). Representation of a computer-based task is explicit and therefore guarantees task completion, whereas paper-based tutorials require a degree of interpretation that may lead to task failure (Gay, 1986). On the other hand print-based tutorials offer the learner greater control over the speed of progress through each stage of a procedure, and is easier to locate a particular step for review. With video, pacing is essentially preset (Van der Meij and van der Meij, 2015) and although location of a step is possible using transport controls (fast forward, rewind etc.) this can be a cumbersome process.
The challenge at surrey was to create a tutorial format combining the best of both worlds – the authenticity of video and the controllability of paper. Version one offered a choice of two screencast tutorials for each task representation (e.g. how to upload resources to the VLE) as follows: Show me presents the task as a continuous video stream enabling the user to see a whole procedure in real-time; Guide me presents the task in simulation mode, pausing at each procedural step and prompting the learner to select the appropriate tool to progress to the next step. Version two merges the two into a single screencast with the option to switch between continuous (normal playback) and step by step (pause after each procedural step) at any time during playback, thereby simplifying both the learner experience and production process.
This presentation will demonstrate the screencast tutorials whilst commenting on the design cycle and technical challenges involved in their production. Feedback from academics and lessons learned will also be discussed.
Gay, G. (1986) Interaction of learner control and prior understanding in computer-assisted video instruction. Journal of Educational Psychology, 78(3), 225-227
Palaigeorgiou, G. & Despotakis, F. (2010) Known and unknown weaknesses in Software Animated Demonstrations (Screencasts): A study in self-paced Learning settings. Journal of Information Technology Education, Vol. 9. Available online at http://www.jite.org/documents/Vol9/JITEv9p081-098Palaigeorgiou787.pdf.
van der Meij, J. & van der Meij, H. (2015) A test of the design of a video tutorial for software training. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 31(2), 116-132