Online Video Tutorial How To

How to Make an Online Video Tutorial

Keep up with technology and provide your students with a great learning experience using online video tutorials.  Learn the best tools to use and how to effectively distribute the videos to your students.

Screencasting is a fantastic way to teach without having to stand up in front of a group of students. Online video tutorials are often completely free to use. You simply record your computer screen and voice, and you may even want to include videos. In this article, we will endeavor to identify some of the best and easiest tools to use in the real estate classrom, show you some techniques that will make your tutorials engaging and effective, and explain how to distribute them to your students and an even wider web audience.

Screencasting Tools

In order to make an online video tutorial using screencasting technology, you will need access to a computer. Either a PC or a Mac will work. For most initial efforts, a large amount of memory or power is not necessary. Next, an electronic pen tablet is helpful for drawing. Wacom makes several inexpensive ones. If you want to include videos (of yourself or others), a webcam is necessary. Most laptop computers come with webcams built in that will suffice.

Screencasting Software

There are a number of excellent screen capturing applications available. Most of them offer a free version or an upgrade for a nominal fee. Even the most expensive applications, with lots of extra features (that are probably unnecessary when you are first starting out), do not cost more than a few hundred dollars. Following are some we have found that are the best for initial efforts in online video tutorial making.

Online Video Tutorial Techniques

Step 1: Create a Script

The starting point for every tutorial presentation is the script. Keep in mind that the ideal online video tutorial should be approximately five minutes or less. The best pace for comprehension is approximately 150 words per minute (WPM), while a good pace for a slide presentation is closer to 100–125 WPM. Keep in mind that if students are going to be taking notes from a slide, the average person typically copies information at approximately 22 WPM. If your presentation is ideally going to be five minutes or less, it should consist of approximately one page of text.

The starting point in developing a script should be the outcome. What do you want the student to be able to do or understand at the end of the tutorial? You should be able to sum it up in one sentence or phrase. From that statement, work your way back to the beginning with the steps necessary to achieve it.

Once you have the script written out, practice reading it (out loud) in as conversational a manner as possible. A minimum of six read-throughs is typically necessary before it begins to flow in a conversational and fluid fashion. Make modifications as you read through it to make it flow easily and comfortably for you.

Once the script is fairly finalized, use word-processing software to include the text and any graphics or drawings that are going to be a part of the presentation. Now, go back through the presentation several more times and incorporate into the presentation all the graphics and drawings that are going to be a part of it until it all works smoothly.

Step 2: Record the Presentation

Typically, recording the presentation begins by clicking a record button. Different software will have different characteristics; however, it is common to resize a recording window to the size of the screen you want recorded. For example, if you are using a PowerPoint presentation, you would want to resize the window to fit the dimensions of the slide. If you are recording video with a webcam simultaneously with the screen capture, there may be a separate video record button you would click as well.

You can effectively create a teleprompter by using one computer monitor for the screen capture, and then have another computer and monitor that you can use to scroll your script as you read it. You will also need to use two mice. Again, you must adequately rehearse to avoid having awkward pauses in your presentation while you are figuring out the technology. Some screencasting software actually includes audio editing capability to eliminate any dead air.

Step 3: Distribute the Recording

Perhaps the easiest part of the process is actually getting the recording to your students and beyond. Most of the screencasting software programs include links to upload to YouTube and other social media websites. In addition, some software will allow you to save your tutorials on the software’s server. Others even make links available where your students can access the tutorial on their servers. In addition, tutorials can be saved to the hard drive on your computer or website so you can build your own tutorial library for your students.