By Justin Moon

Producing videos for your online class can be a significant time investment.

The process to "produce" course content from a media standpoint is done in four phases: preproduction, production, post-production, and publishing. In this article we will focus on the preproduction process and explore its importance relative to success in achieving your course objectives, and how doing so can shorten and improve your planning process and outcomes.

The preproduction step has more impact on the effectiveness of your media and overall production time than any other step in the process. At this stage it is important to review your objectives at the module level. In other words, do not focus on the overall course objective like "Chemistry" but specifically what you wish to cover in that specific section, like "covalent bonds."

I'm no chemist and I'm not even sure what a covalent bond is, so I often use the following as an example when working with faculty on this concept. If I was to to teach a course on sharpening woodworking tools, "sharpening" would be my overall objective and from that, sub-objectives would become apparent. It is from these sub-objectives that I determine a list of videos to create, the sum of which will accomplish the overall objective.

So a core competency to learning to sharpen would be abrasives, and even that has a few sub-objectives. But I could easily fit that information in to a short video. I would select some Bloom verbs that describe what I want my learners to be able to do after watching the video. In this case "Identify" different types and abrasives and their grits, and "classify" them according to purpose. Because I have some subject matter expertise in this area, as you do in yours, the content of this particular video becomes much easier to plan.

Once you follow this approach, it is easy to get excited and jump right in to producing that first video. This is really where you should go on to the next objective and repeat the process above. So once learners can identify and classify abrasives, what's next? Head back to your Bloom's verbs to guide you to the next appropriate step. In my example it would be something like compare and contrast edge angles for different purposes. So here I already have the topic for my next video, and I would just continue this process until I had a plan for each video in the course. This will help you establish some continuity in the planning phase which will translate to continuity in the course. Each video will follow a similar path and the learners will benefit from knowing what to expect each time a new video is released.

Planning your video outline based on objectives provides you with a step-wise approach to accomplishing the task of creating effective media from the start. This translates to less overall production and editing time as you are not having to figure it out as you go, then rearrange and modify at the end of an already significant time investment.

It is fairly easy to write out objectives and have a plan for videos, but coming up with visual aids for your videos can be a little more challenging if your content is not as straightforward and visual as my example. This is where the media team at eLearning can help. If you would like to discuss planning videos based on objectives, or would like assistance in coming up with visual methods, contact us at eLearning to team up with our media and instructional design teams for support through the entire process!