For a recent MicroLearning project, I was tasked with learning a new (to me) digital media technology tool or application that could support me as an Instructional Designer. I actually used several freeware applications to create a quick video for new business owners, or anyone wanting to create their own website for free without having to pay a designer (see below). As a self-directed, hands-on learner, I taught myself how to use Shotcut in the same way that I taught myself to read and write HTML code so many years ago: by playing with the software until I got stuck, then researching online tutorials and walking through the steps until I figured it out on my own.

(Disclaimer: I do have some prior video editing experience as well, so some of the software was fairly intuitive and user-friendly for someone who has experience using other programs for video editing. I was able to take a Constructivist approach here by building upon what I already know and reaching out to more knowledgeable people for additional help and resources.)

Luckily, this is no longer the 1990s and we have resources such as micro-learning, blogs, Google (and other search engines), and YouTube video tutorials to assist with rapidly learning new technology such as this one. YouTube videos were extremely valuable in my ability to quickly learn my way around Shotcut, Screencastify, and WordPress.com (which was shockingly different than the WordPress interface that I use when designing client websites). I also followed along with YouTube videos for using Canva (which I was already familiar with) for making YouTube video intro images (which I had never done before).

As someone who is intrinsically motivated, this type of Connectivist + Constructivist learning process worked well for me. I was able to quickly master the skills required for this video, utilizing a variety of digital media tools, and rapidly turn my knowledge into a tutorial that I could immediately share with other self-directed learners on YouTube. I plan to use these same tools to create other video tutorials on my channel and may even create a behind-the-scenes tutorial on how I combined all of these tools to make this video (in case other learners want to accomplish the same thing).

Biggest a-ha moment: While self-directed and intrinsically motivated, I’m used to blending Connectivism with Constructivism for my own technical learning & it’s made me a bit of an impatient learner. I get frustrated when interfaces are not user-friendly enough for me to intuitively figure out how to use them, and I click away from YouTube video tutorials that don’t immediately dive into the lesson & tell me steps for doing something I’m trying to accomplish. This is an important realization that could play into how I learn, as well as how I create YouTube videos and especially tutorials for other learners in the future.

I found the user interface and limitations of the “free” version of Screencastify frustrating. While learning, I ran into issues getting the audio and video to export in a format that I could use for video editing purposes. It was difficult to transfer these files to YouTube compared to Screencast-o-matic and Overwolf, which I have used frequently for other projects in the past. I have decided to stick with Overwolf and Screencast-o-matic for this reason, although Screencastify gets the job done if you need a nice in-browser app for Chrome.

On the positive side, this gives me an idea to start including an index on any YouTube tutorial videos that I upload (and maybe also mentioning at the start of the video so that people can immediately skip ahead if they want). Thanks, Debra!

You can watch the video and learn more about the tools I used to create it here:

Video Tutorial: How to Create Your Own Website Using WordPress

Tools Used:

Screencastify (in-browser screen capture for Chrome… after using this tool, I actually prefer Screencast-o-matic or Overwolf for user interface and ease of transporting files to video editing software or YouTube)

Shotcut (free video editor – an excellent alternative to Adobe Premiere Pro, very intuitive and lightweight, renders quickly – even on a laptop that is not indented for video editing)

Canva (photo editing site – excellent free alternative to Photoshop)

WordPress (create your own website for free)

YouTube (free video hosting site)

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