Video tutorials are a popular way to train people in how to accomplish tasks using various software applications. Research shows that video tutorials can be effective in helping users develop a mental model of the software’s user interface and facilitate initial learning. Video tutorials can be convenient to learners, allowing them to control the time, location and pace of training. For organizations, video tutorials can provide a scalable, cost-effective, and sustainable way to train software users.

Nevertheless, it has been noted that video tutorials may sometimes lead to passive learning. They can also lead to superficial learning by mimicry, without deeply processing the information presented, which may result in low retention and transfer. Therefore, it is important to design software video tutorials according to learning and instructional design theories and evidence-based best practices.

In this workshop, we will review a number theories relevant for the effective design of video tutorials, including Minimalism, theories of attention, Dual Coding Theory, Social Learning Theory, and Demonstration-Based Training design. Next, we will present guidelines for designing software video tutorials, which have been proposed based on these theories and evidence from research. In the second part of the workshop, participants will analyze a number of video tutorials for various software according to the theories and guidelines presented earlier. Finally, participants will work in small groups to design their own video tutorial for a software of their choice.


Gurprit Randhawa, Island Health
Aviv Shachak (Presenter)
University of Toronto

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