Video Rework: Answer these Questions First to Avoid it

In my work as a graduate student in the field of Instructional Technology we learned the long way of creating video courses.  It’s call the ADDIE model and the letter “A” stands for Analysis. 

And boy did we analyze!

We spent months learning about the audience and the technology they were using and the problem our course was solving, etc., etc.  The Analysis document we created sometimes ran as long as 20 or 30 pages of data. And while I still believe it’s important to have some questions answered upfront I now use a much more “iterative” process when I create courses for my clients.addie

I have a series of questions I always ask upfront and once answered I just get started.  The client gets to see the video at various sign off points so that it slowly comes closer and closer to their visualization.

Although this “rapid protoype” method is the one I prefer, if I don’t find out the answers to my list of questions at the beginning, there is a better than average chance I will end up doing unnecessary rework on the video. In the past I might have gotten quite far in the video creation process before I found out that

  • They wanted a quiz at the end of each lesson
  • They wanted it to be IPod compatible
  • The names all had to be blurred out because of privacy regulations

After dealing with enough rework over the years I decided it was time for me to come up with a cheat sheet of all the questions I need answered upfront before I start work. These questions are mostly applicable to course design but many of them will work for marketing and sales videos as well.

Below are a list of questions I think can be important depending on what type of video you are doing and how big the project is.  Pick and choose the ones you think are important to your projects.


Questions to Ask Clients for the Proposal and/or Design Document

  • Why is this course being developed? What is the problem that is trying to be solved?
  • Do you have a company template that needs to be used. Company Logo, color scheme?
  • Who needs to be a part of the approval process? Can I have one final point of contact?
  • Do you need the video to be compatible with IPAD or IPOD?
  • Do you want a survey at the end of the course? Where would results go?
  • Do we want a picture or video of the presenter?
  • Where will the course reside, your web server, Amazon S3?
  • Do you need to track people who take the course?
  • Will the course be downloadable or just be available from the web?
  • Do you want the video standard size or widescreen ?


Creating Objectives and goals for the course:

  • What is the big learning the audience will be able to do and know once they complete the course?
  • Do we need a task analysis to break up the overall goal into procedures or is their already documents that do this?
  • Are there any prerequisites for the course? Are there classes the student should have already taken or things they should definitely know prior to taking this course?


Questions to ask to about the content:

  • What content exists already that can be reviewed?
  • Who is the Subject Matter Expert (SME) for the course?
  • What is their availability? Do they travel?
  • If software based, will I have access to the software? (if no, I will need more time with SME to teach them how to do the mouse movements in advanced)
  • Will you want quizzes- Will I create the questions or will you? Where will the quiz results go?
  • Do you have resources you want to link to that students can get more information?
  • Does your company have an image library or am I free to purchase stock photos as needed?
  • Will we want to create a fake person to be the subject during a software demo?
  • Do we want to start the course using some kind of story/scenario so the students will better be able to relate to the material?
  • Would you like a custom splash screen to introduce the course and brand it to their e-learning library?
  • Do we need to worry about using closed captions for the hearing impaired or because people may have to listen without audio?

Hope you find these helpful and you can download them in a pdf here to adapt them to your own needs.

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Denise OBerry Reply

Wow Michelle! That is a really comprehensive list of questions. As a person who has created quite a few courses during my career (and know how difficult it can be if you don’t set a good foundation), I salute you for being so generous and sharing with your audience. You and Lon are the BEST. 🙂

Michelle Schoen Reply

Thanks, Denise, for your nice comment and also for posting your greenscreen video over at the forum. I have been watching it and some of your others this morning as I set up my own. Like your use of speech bubbles!

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