I have to take a video-based course. This is not how I best learn. Help!
March 27, 2013 10:27 AM   Subscribe

I am taking an on-line course that is mostly video-based. This is not the best way for me to learn. I am falling very behind and struggling with it. More inside.

The course is an on-line certification for a program I use at work. It has ten modules, each of which has ten lessons each with multiple 20-minute videos, and then assignments. There are several issues for me with how this whole setup works :)

- Firstly, I learn best by reading. If the material were written, I could learn it in a fraction of the time. I feel resentful and annoyed that I have to sit through these long videos and have to sometimes do it more than once if there is a lot of information. I could literally absorb it in a third of the time if it was a book or webpage.

- Secondly, the videos require a certain setup to play correctly. Our work computers don't have the right setup, so I have to do it at home, and after a full day of work, I am tired. I think I would be able to manage all of this video a little better if I could at least download it to my phone or something to watch during my commute. But no, I have to be on a computer, logged into their silly site...

I just am really struggling with it. I don't think there is a way around it other than to just make myself sit there and do it, but even though I understand this and even though I know the credential will be useful and am, on that level, motivated to do it, I am really struggling. I am falling very behind on it, and my attitude isn't great because I feel so resentful at having to do things in what I perceive to be such a needlessly difficult way, on my own time when I am tired at night (even though I have time during the day) and in a pointlessly time-consuming fashion.

At ideas or suggestions for making this suck a little less?
posted by JoannaC to Education (11 answers total)
I took an optional online video-based course a couple of years ago and watched after work or on the weekends. I'm with you on learning this way - it's like being the target of a firehose. I didn't pass the final exam, but there was a lot of coursework outside of watching the videos and I just wasn't motivated enough to persevere, so don't let my failure deter you.

If this is a required course for your job and you really think you would do better by watching the videos on your commute, look into getting a Chromebook or inexpensive Intel-based laptop + a pay-per-month mobile hotspot (Virgin Mobile has some). You might also be able to tether your phone to the laptop/Chromebook instead of using a hotspot. Then watch the videos on your commute or at work. I'm assuming the video is Flash-based, which the Chrome browser should be able to handle. Make sure whatever you get can handle the video format of the courseware.

Alternately, find out if the courseware is available on DVD. If so, get yourself a little portable DVD player ($50) or so and watch wherever you're comfortable.

Take notes as if you were in a college lecture and review them when you can. This saved my bacon through 4 years of high school and 4 more years of college.

Good luck. Sometimes the fact that the Internet exists makes things harder for us!
posted by Currer Belfry at 11:29 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is probably a long shot, but have you looked for a 'transcript' feature in this course? When I've helped design courses with training videos in the past, we've usually included that for people who - understandably - would rather not sit through the videos (or had difficulty doing so for whatever reason). If the feature isn't immediately obvious, maybe contacting customer service, if it exists, could help to hook you up with transcripts?
posted by DingoMutt at 11:30 AM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: JoannaC, you sound just like me. A webinar is the kiss of death. I was going to suggest trying to find a transcript but Dingo beat me to it. I'm afraid I have no advice other than to swallow that resentment and get whatever you can out of it. As with many onerous tasks, maybe breaking it down into tiny pieces would help - half a session per day, for instance. I feel for you. Good luck!
posted by scratch at 11:35 AM on March 27, 2013

Treat it like a college lecture course. Take notes. That should at least prevent you from having to watch the videos more than once. Make a nice cup of tea to drink with it, and try to have a set time that you do all this, so it becomes sort of a ritual until it's done.

This is a program that you are already using? When you are at work, since you said you would have time to watch it if you had the proper setup, can you practice doing stuff in the program that the video talked about? Or get more familiar with the program so that not everything covered in the videos is brand new?
posted by wondermouse at 11:35 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Some video setups will let you play at a higher speed, so that might be worth a try. (If this is Windows Media Player-based, try Ctrl+Shift+G.)
posted by asperity at 11:47 AM on March 27, 2013

If you're in the US, the provider should offer alternative forms of the info to meet Section 508 accessibility requirements. In other words, there really should be closed captioning or at least a transcript. If there's no obvious link to a transcript, write the provider of the course and ask for it.

If the provider says there's no transcript, depending on how irked you are, you can inform your employer that the course that they're requiring employees to take doesn't meet basic federal accessibility requirements and that they might want to use another provider who does. Copy the provider of the course on that and see how quickly a transcript appears. I guarantee they have one, since the boring talking heads had to have a script to read from.

I also hate video. I turn off the sound, read the transcript or closed captioning, and speed up the video if at all possible, assuming the visuals are actually useful, which often times they aren't.

Good luck!
posted by ceiba at 11:54 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

There are programs around for ripping streaming media from youtube. Would it be possible to find something like that for these videos so you can at least watch them offline later on? Maybe if you post what kind of setup you need to watch them someone will have a solution for this?
posted by shelleycat at 1:03 PM on March 27, 2013

Another book learner here - I truly hate having to watch a video. (In person doesn't annoy half so much) However, it sounds like your resentment is making this harder than it needs to be. My advice is to bribe yourself for watching the videos. Every 20 minute video gets a small treat, each completed module gets a bigger one. (Just make sure you follow through and really give yourself the rewards - your subconscious will be notice and will be more cooperative with it trusts you to follow through the good part.)
posted by metahawk at 1:11 PM on March 27, 2013

Can you work from home for a day or a half-day and watch the videos then?

It seems crazy to me that your employer is requiring you to watch a video on your own time with your own equipment for training that is for your job. What do people do in your workplace who don't have the right computer setup at home?
posted by elmay at 2:51 PM on March 27, 2013

I take online classes and it really helps me to write everything down. I rarely look at them again but the combination of the process of writing as well as pausing the video really helps it sink in for me. In your case, it might help to have the notes to look at (during your commute!) to help you learn that way.

Perhaps you could describe whatever kind of error or setup is needed for your work computer. Maybe all it needs is a download, or perhaps a different web browser would work. Someone here might be able to help point you in the right direction.

Also nthing trying to find a transcript.

Another idea which occurs to me, do you have any coworkers who are also doing this that you can ask them to take good notes for you? There might be an opportunity to borrow or trade for them.
posted by cali59 at 4:14 PM on March 27, 2013

I agree with the spirit of what cieba says about Section 508 compliance, and it is worth asking for a transcript. I create these computer-based training modules for a living, so for what it's worth....

So that you don't go off half-cocked and look foolish, please be sure you understand the rules outlined in Section 508 before you demand it as a right under that law. Accessibility is the right thing to do, but Section 508 compliance is only required for federal information. It is almost certain that the course is not required to comply with Section 508.

Also, if the CBTs have voiceovers, it is not necessarily true that it was read from a storyboard, nor is it true that those would be kept, or kept current. If closed captioning is available on the CBT, then the software they used to create the CBT probably can spit out a report showing all the closed captions. If there isn't closed captioning, it may not be as easy as you think.

Like others, I recommend taking notes and setting up your viewing environment as close as you can to something conducive to learning (bright lights, cup of coffee, at a desk). Another option that's not been mentioned: If your employer requires this certification, why not ask them to provide a workstation that can play the videos?
posted by Houstonian at 4:20 PM on March 27, 2013

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