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Asynchronous Online Learning Materials: Best Practices

This guide is for librarians and library staff that create asynchronous online learning materials, primarily videos tutorials.

Stages of the Video Development Process

1. Information Gathering

Start by gathering information about the topic of your instructional video. Information gathering should also include analysis and reflection about possible treatments and presentation styles (for example, whether it will be formal or information), and required visual elements (such as organizational branding). You should also obtain any available content, such as written procedures or graphics.

2. Instructional Design

After this initial analysis, the next step is to create a design document. In the case of videos, you start by writing a script for the video. The script is like what might be written for a play, and it contains not only the narration but also “stage directions” indicating suggested graphics, shots, scenes, actions, and other visual elements.

3. Storyboarding

Once the script is finalized, you then develop a storyboard. You must flesh out the “stage directions” by grouping relevant content into various scenes, slides, or shots. PowerPoint is a great tool for video storyboarding, and you can find a modifiable template here. Each slide in the template has four boxes: frame description (describes the characters, scenes, shots, and images that will appear, as well as the actions that will occur); on screen representation (contains a rough draft of any graphics); voiceover (contains the spoken narration of the piece); and items needed (anything that is missing, like a logo or clarification of information).

4.Visual Design

Once you're happy with the draft storyboard, you should read the script and plan the onscreen visuals. There are several critical elements to consider during this phase that lend to smooth development:

  • Think about the graphics that will need to be created and how these graphics will interact with one another. 
  • Once in a visual format, make sure that the progression or sequences make sense. 
  • Frame each scene so that pertinent information is clearly illustrated and does not get lost among other on-screen elements. 

5. First Draft Recording

Based on final script, you can then record placeholder voiceover (VO). The placeholder VO becomes the timing backbone upon which you build the first draft. Once the timing of the entire piece is established, any gaps or lulls in onscreen visuals become clear, and you can make changes to tighten the timing.

Make any necessary script alterations and record a final VO. Refine the screenshots, screen capture, animation, or graphics and sync the VO. Depending on the scope of the video, sound effects and cinematic background music might be added.