Sunday, July 08, 2007

Creating Tutorials & Demos - Planning Stage

I have had one (1) class in Educational Media and that was in the prior century. I'm talking film slides, overhead transparencies and the 3M Wollensack recorder that was connected to a Kodak Carousel projector. You can see one at

Back to the future. Instead of developing film and showing slides now I can create video tutorials for clients that have problems understand computer help screens or manuals. For some folks they need to see the software being used before they feel comfortable in performing the tasks.

Whether you are a newbie or a geek prime it always comes back to planning. Part of planning is understanding what your are trying to accomplish. If you can answer most of the following questions you stand a good chance of making a decent tutorial.

At the end of the questions are solid links to resources you can use to help plan your tutorial.

The Who/Why Questions
  • Who is your audience?
  • Why are you creating the tutorial?
  • Do you have the time and resources needed to create the tutorial?
The What Questions?
  • What do you want them to know?
  • What tools to you have or can afford to obtain?
When Questions?
  • When are the going to access the tutorial?
  • Will they access it only on school or library property or via their home computers?
  • Will they have access to the location you are storing the tutorials
The How Questions?
  • Will there be any help available if they get into trouble?
  • Will you provide an alternative means of accessing the tutorial information? I'm not just referring to those people with physical disabilities. There are technological factors to consider.
  • Will they have the correct media player in order to view your content? Will there be a text version that can be accessed if they can't see the tutorial?
There is a wealth of information about planning your tutorial, much better than what I can conjure up. These websites have excellent resources and tips on how to plan your presentations. You don't have to do everything they suggest but you can get ideas on what you need to be aware of as we move forward in the process.

At Your Library The Design Process -
AACE Journal of Educational Technology -
Dartmouth Web Teaching Page -
Designing an On-line Tutorial -

Next, storyboarding your tutorial and an introduction to some of the software and tools you will use to make a tutorial.


Aaron said...

I think the theory is the same, but with shiny new technology to deliver it.

Gena said...

I think you are right. But there are other considerations that were not thought of in the past or were not able to implement. The technology allows us a greater reach and accommodations to different learners.

There is now an awareness that not everyone learns the same way. And for all of the technological improvements we still have to deliver the information to human beings. We have to plan for them and not for the technology.

It is easy to be seduced by the goodies.