Create an instructional video using Mayer’s principles


How to create an educational video?

Educational videos are at the heart of learning today. But how do you ensure that learners remember everything? It is not so simple. Learners do not watch the entire video, so an organization cannot convey all the information. Additionally, learners may also not pay attention to the video when watching it, meaning they watch it only for entertainment purposes. In this case, companies cannot guarantee that an instructional video created the cognitive impact they intended it to create. Due to lack of understanding, the video is not stored in the learner’s long-term memory.

eLearning companies know how to create the perfect instructional video to keep learners focused. Research has proven over the years that when certain features are used in videos, user engagement is greater. For example, in the case of demo videos, highlight boxes can be used to capture learners’ attention. These boxes help users understand which button to press to complete or initiate a certain action. Through the use of highlight boxes, users can remember this minute information for a long time. Mayer suggests some principles that are necessary to follow to ensure the maximum impact of a video.

Signaling principle

The first principle of signaling says that the user should be signaled that something important is about to appear on the screen, through narration or other means, so that their attention is maximized on this slide only. So just like highlight boxes, in the case of text we have quotes where a certain text is enlarged and surrounded by quotes to ensure that the user is paying attention to it. The user does not know what to look at carefully, he can only do so when his attention is diverted to the important part. Therefore, signage is important because there is so much information contained in a slide that the user cannot remember it all. But when important text is shaded, users know it needs special attention.

Principle of temporal continuity

Also crucial is the principle of temporal continuity, according to which users get the best explanation of things when visuals and text are displayed on the screen simultaneously. This implies that audio and visuals must be displayed on the screen at the same time. The user understands the screen better when the audio and video elements flow together, rather than when the audio follows the animation.

Pre-training principle

The pre-training principle of media design states that users should have received an introduction so that they can get the most out of the video. Such an introduction ensures that learners are not confused by the visuals included in the first slide, but rather can understand them. Therefore, pre-training is essential before delivering the actual training. A short history of the topics and the meaning of the basic terms included in the module can be provided to learners before the instructional video begins.

Principle of personalization

The principle of personalization is also important for an educational video, according to which the user understands simple language better than using difficult words. Therefore, instead of using the third person, it is better to use the second person to ensure that the user understands. This is also the basic principle of localization, where the use of complex words in narration is avoided to help establish a connection with the audience.

Image principle

The principle of the image is also essential to make a better educational video. Using visuals is better for human understanding than using talking heads. In a talking head video, a human narrator explains basic concepts, but learners might not be interested in listening. Thus, relevant visuals should be used to explain concepts to learners. Mayer said that when a talking head is included in a video, it does not mean better learning outcomes. Research is still ongoing to determine whether or not talking head videos are effective for learning.

A talking head in the video means the source of the information is credible. It can be used at the beginning or end of the video, but avoid using it throughout. Instead, visuals should be used for better understanding by the audience.

The following assumptions were used to formulate these principles:

The Limited Capacity Hypothesis

Information capacity is limited, as Mayer says and that forms the basis of all his work. According to this hypothesis, most humans only have two or three channels of information on which they can focus. So they cannot watch all the news channels at the same time, but only one or two. Likewise, they cannot understand five or seven actions at the same time in a module, their attention must instead be focused on two or three. Thus, important information must be highlighted in a module so that learners understand everything, because their cognitive load must be limited.

Information on active treatment

Humans need to be made to understand, rather than expecting them to absorb everything that is fed/passed to them. This can cause problems for learners. So, to exploit their cognitive load, it is best to organize knowledge into visual and auditory chunks. This knowledge can also be supplemented by the introductory session so that users can make correlations. Learners must be able to construct knowledge by linking together auditory and visual information.

Therefore, an instructional video should be prepared keeping these assumptions in mind and following the principles listed above.

E-book release: Creativ Technologies

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We provide niche e-learning solutions to corporate clients. Our company also provides LMS administration services. We are experts in Blended Learning, Mobile Learning and Web Based Training.

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