Educational Video and Audio Media used in Distance Learning

What are recorded video and recorded audio used in distance learning? They are just ways to relay the information from the instructor to the students. In the category of recorded video, the most common methods are video tape, DVD and vodcasting. If the method of delivery is recorded audio, you will most likely encounter CD-ROM, cassette tapes, audio files and podcasts.

There are two basic ways that educational video and audio are delivered. In the first case, it can be physically on the media (CD, CD-ROM, cassette tape, etc.) or electronically. The instructor has the additional option of bundling the recording with another form of instruction or sending it as a stand-alone unit. The benefit to the student is that he can review and study the lesson material at his own convenience. If the student needs to review to clarify the material, he can repeat the process as many times as necessary. This is reinforcement that is lacking in a traditional learning environment in cases where the student may have missed a lecture or experiment.

Perhaps you recall an old saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words." This is very true in the case of recorded video and that is why it is so effective in distance learning, especially when the instructor is not present to provide analogies in order to get his point across. In addition, recorded video is very engaging and holds the student’s attention and aids in material retention.

There are times when the complexity of the material makes it hard for the student to comprehend it at first glance. One of the wonderful aspects about recorded material is that it can be played over and over until the concept is crystal clear.

Recorded audio material is also very effective and has an added benefit: it is very inexpensive to make and to maintain. If the course material needs an update due to any kind of change, the material simply needs to be re-recorded once and redistributed. Redistribution is very economical as well, as it can be emailed to students or downloaded over the Internet no matter where they reside.

One drawback with the use of recorded audio is that it does not have the same sensory impact as recorded video. The end result is that it is not as effective a medium. Students have been shown to retain more information and increase their attention span when they have a chance to interact with their instructor or other students.

Recorded video has its drawbacks as well. A major drawback is that the cost to script, set up and produce video content tends to be very high compared to audio production. Just as with recorded audio, video lacks the ability to allow back and forth communication between instructor and student. Also, if the subject matter needs to be revised over time, the high production costs kick back in again.

The most appropriate time to use recorded video is when presenting illustrations, lectures, case studies and graphic descriptions. Recorded video is best used for lecture narration and describing things that are easy to visualize.

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