RE: how useful are video tutorials/screencasts?

Subject: RE: how useful are video tutorials/screencasts?
From: "Weissman, Jessica" <WeissmanJ -at- abacustech -dot- com>
To: Phil Stokes <philstokes03 -at- googlemail -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com List" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2011 13:59:10 -0400

I've written to Phil privately about how much I hate video tutorials. They do not fit my learning style. The teachers try too hard to get me to like them, or if they're narrated by professional actors, the insincerity is obvious. And there's all that music and all those dancing pigs or whatever animated doodads that get added to the content in an effort to keep viewers interested.

But I do want to laud one example of screencast tutorials that work beautifully. There is a product called SIMS (Security Information Management System) that handles a lot of tasks for secure government facilities. It is a superb product, well thought out and comprehensive. The UI is consistent, and they have what many of their users want - an easy method of doing ad hoc reporting.

Their screen tutorials are excellent. Well-narrated, clearly presented, broken up into small topics so no time is wasted. The person narrating knows what she is doing, and following an excellent set of scripts obviously designed by someone with instructional design knowledge. Each task is laid out in a logical order, and the speaker does not get ahead of or lag behind the cursor action.

So there's one exception, for screencast at least. I still can't imagine a video tutorial that I wouldn't want to speed up or shred. But that's just me and my learning style. Most of us here are wordniks - otherwise why would we choose a profession centered on words and writing and verbal expalanation? So we may not be the best set of people to ask about video tutorials. Corral a bunch of people to whom video is the natural method of communication and you'll probably get a different set of answers.

- Jessica

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how useful are video tutorials/screencasts?: From: Phil Stokes

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