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Eight Guidelines for the Design of Instructional Videos for Software Training

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Purpose: Video has become a popular means for delivering "how to" information about a wide variety of software tasks. With video rapidly becoming a major instructional method, the question arises of their effectiveness for software training. This paper provides a set of eight guidelines for the construction of instructional videos for software training.

Method: The guidelines present a concise view on how to design an instructional video for software training. They are based on a considerable body of research on how people process visual and verbal information and how to support these processes. Each guideline is described, illustrated, and supported with research findings from various disciplines.

Results: The guidelines were tested in three consecutive empirical studies. In these studies a set of instructional videos for Word's formatting options were designed. The effects of the video instructions were compared with a paper tutorial (Van der Meij & Van der Meij, in preparation). We found that the video instructions yielded more favorable appraisals for motivation, higher skills proficiency immediately after training, and better skills retention after a one-week delay.

Conclusions: The guidelines offer patterns that could further advance the theory and practice of the design of instructional videos for software training. A limitation of the study is that we concentrated on instructional video that serve a tutorial function. For video that function as a reference guide not all the guidelines are equally important, and also some new guidelines may be called for.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2013

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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