Online tutorials


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  • My perspective on this topic is that of an elementary school librarian, since that is what I am, and I have always believed that library skills and computer-based tutorials are a perfect match! The number of online tutorials that are on the Internet today is huge. Some are high-end professionally made tutorials, and some are simplistic and amateurish. The point is, if you want to learn how to do something, there’s probably an online tutorial to show you how. <div xmlns:cc="" about=""><a rel="cc:attributionURL" href=""></a> / <a rel="license" href="">CC BY-NC-SA 2.0</a></div>
  • Let’s take a look at how this all got started, and then examine some of what is currently available in the way of online tutorials. With so many results, it’s obvious that we will only be able to scratch the surface. Define Online Tutorials Explain the sequential format of online tutorials Relate the history of online tutorials List types of online tutorials Compare types of online tutorials and their intended use Identify some online tutorial resource sites Summarize the advantages of online tutorials Specify some online tutorial design, development and implementation considerations Select an online tutorial format to fulfill an educational need
  • Online tutorials are instruction for students or staff that use the internet to present knowledge electronically , referred to as eLearning, in a sequential, interactive, student-centered learning format that can be used synchronously or asynchronously, is accessible at anytime or from anyplace , and frequently includes review, reinforcement, and progress monitoring.
  • Effective online tutorials are sequential in their format. Content is presented interspersed with review, reinforcement, progress monitoring, and links to additional content. This format ensures motivation, participation, feedback, and individualization of instruction, which together ensure that learning takes place.
  • The precursors of online tutorials were self-teaching computer software tutorials. One of the earliest home computers, introduced in 1981, was the TI 99/4A, which came with little software tutorial modules. Data could be saved using a cassette player. Believe it or not, I still have a TI 99/4A in my basement! A few years later, a computer manufacturer by the name of John W. Scherer founded a company by the name of Video Professor upon the realization that the market for people wanting to learn how to use their computers was larger than the market for the computers themselves. In 1987 the company produced a VHS tutorial on the Introduction to DOS. <div xmlns:cc="" about=""><a rel="cc:attributionURL" href=""></a> / <a rel="license" href="">CC BY 2.0</a></div> <div xmlns:cc="" about=""><a rel="cc:attributionURL" href=""></a> / <a rel="license" href="">CC BY-SA 2.0</a></div>
  • When the Apple IIGS came along with speech and graphic capabilities, software developers naturally wanted to take advantage of. Roger Wagner was one such developer. He introduced HyperStudio in May of 1989. Incredibly versatile and easy to use, it largely targeted educators and schools. I authored my first tutorial using HyperStudio to teach second graders about the basic information found on any book’s title page. It included audio, scrolling text, animation (I made a mouse’s tail wag), and lots of buttons! No scripting was necessary, as the buttons and animations were pre-loaded and ready to use! The effect was pure fun! Powerpoint was emerging at about in this same time as HyperStudio. In 1987 PowerPoint was known as Presenter. It was later acquired by Microsoft, and was released for Windows 3.0 in 1990. <div xmlns:cc="" about=""><a rel="cc:attributionURL" href=""></a> / <a rel="license" href="">CC BY 2.0</a></div>
  • In 1995, The Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia appeared on CD-Rom. It incorporated maps and pictures as well as audio and video files, and was, in its own way, an electronic tutorial. (Kids in my library loved watching the video clip of mold growing on bread!) In 1996 Video Professor produced their first CD-Rom Tutorial, and by 1998 the CDs were outselling the VHS tutorials. All of these early tutorials allowed for some interaction, some flexibility, and some “just-in-time” training—things still important in today’s tutorials.
  • Now, fast forward to the 21 st century and the emergence of web-based tutorials. These tutorials take advantage of multimedia to provide simulations and illustrations to enrich the training. Let’s look first at some subscription tutorial sites. In 2000, Atomic Learning was created as a subscription database of online tutorials for the purpose of providing web-based technology instruction for education and professional development purposes. Atomic Learning was positively reviewed in School Library Journal in January 2008, and in the same publication a few months later was referred to as a “must have product” in an article about the 10 best digital resources. According to the Atomic Learning website, more than 2,000 school districts, universities, organizations and individuals in all 50 states currently subscribe to Atomic Learning. Conestoga Valley, where I teach, is one of them. Atomic Learning’s Technology Skills Collection boasts of nearly 40,000 tutorials on more than 120 software applications for Mac and Windows. Another subscription online tutorial site is, founded in 2002. Co-founder Lynda Weinman is an author of many web-design books.’s database consists of more than 42,000 high quality video tutorials on, all taught by professionals Their Photoshop Tutorials were awarded the 2010 TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award. Harrisburg University subscribes to In 2003 John Scherer launched Video Professor Online so that subscription customers have access to online tutorials 24/7, and they continue to offer computer learning software. Video Professor Demo:
  • Online tutorials can be as simple as a series of cards, documents or slides linked together, such as the old hyper card stacks. They can be audio or video files. They can even be videos of the action on a computer screen with audio narration, known as screencasts.
  • Let’s begin with Podcasts. One very popular podcasting software is Audacity. Audacity is Free Open source (source code is available to anyone) Available for Mac, Windows, and other operating systems An audio recorder, editor, and mixer Audacity is so simple, even a kid can use it. Let’s watch a screencast by a kid, for kids, on how to use Audacity. Once you create your podcast using Audacity, you need to convert it to an MP3 file using LAME before uploading it to the Internet Another podcast recording tool is PodProducer, a freeware tool. This software allows you to record and edit, and upload your podcast. You can also create an RSS feed. There are many other podcast recording tools, and podcast hosting software, but that is another presentation!
  • A screencast captures the screen and audio activity on your computer screen in a movie format. Three screencast software programs are Cam Studio, Jing, and Screentoaster. All are free, and all are incredibly easy to use. CamStudio is: Free Open source Able to create AVI files, and convert them to SWF files that use less bandwitdth From the people that made Camtasia Jing: Is free Screencasts can be saved on or as an SWF file Can be emphasized using arrows, text box, rectangles or highlighter Has a 5-minute limit Can be shared via Twitter Both CamStudio and Jing require downloads. Screentoaster: Requires no download Can be uploaded to YouTube Can be saved as .mov or .swf files.
  • There are other screencast applications for Twitter users. One application is Screenr, which was launched on August 19, 2009. Screenr is a free, web-based recorder, and therefore requires no download. Screencasts are ready-to-tweet, and play anywhere on the web, including on iPhones. The recording limit is 5 minutes. By default, all Screenr screencasts are public; there are no privacy settings. Screenjelly is another screencast application for tweets. Screenjelly has a 3-minute limit. A screenjelly screencast can be tweeted as a link, sent in an email, or uploaded. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the millions of tutorials on YouTube. I found a tutorial on making a screencast using CamStudio along with Audacity on YouTube. Be advised: there are all sorts of tutorials on YouTube (so if you aspire to look like Barbie or want to know how to use your neti pot, there are tutorials that address those issues).
  • Things to consider when implementing online tutorial trainings include resources for development and implementation, and time and money. Hardware will have to be acquired and maintained, and there will need to be adequate storage and retrieval available. In addition, the learner will need access to Internet-connected computers.
  • A very big consideration is the time necessary for design and development, and money for the designer and developer, as developing and designing tutorials takes time and money as well as resources. Another thing to consider is, once the tutorials are in place, how will they be met by the organizational culture?
  • Advantages and benefits of online tutorials, done well, outweigh any considerations. Online tutorials: Provide for 24/7 learning opportunities Remove time and distance constraints Provide flexibility for learner Accommodate learning styles Actively engage students Extend and supplement classroom learning Focus on specific task to be learned Provide "as needed" instruction
  • Recently I created a tutorial for my volunteers that teaches shelving of books using Articulate. I also had some 6 th grade students prepare Jing screencasts teaching various searches using the library’s OPAC. Tutorials are a great way to teach library skills.
  • Here are a few guides to free online tutorial resources. I am sure there are more!
  • Online tutorials

    1. 1. ONLINE TUTORIALS <ul><li>Then and Now </li></ul><ul><li>Amy Soule </li></ul><ul><li>LTMS 510 </li></ul>
    2. 2. Objectives <ul><ul><li>Define Online Tutorials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explain the sequential format of online tutorials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relate the history of online tutorials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>List types of online tutorials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Compare types of online tutorials and their intended use </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify some online tutorial resource sites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Summarize the advantages of online tutorials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Specify some online tutorial design, development and implementation considerations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Select an online tutorial format to fulfill an educational need </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Online Tutorials are… Student-centered Internet-based Interactive Synchronous or Asynchronous Accessible 24/7 Sequential eLearning
    4. 4. Sequential format of online tutorials <ul><ul><li>Presentation of content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Review and reinforcement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Progress monitoring </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Links to additional content </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Then…
    6. 6. Apple IIGS
    7. 7. CD-Roms
    8. 8. … and Now
    9. 9. Types of Online Tutorials <ul><li>Series of linked cards, documents or slides </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Powerpoint </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Articulate </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Audio files </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Podcasts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Video files </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Screencasts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>YouTube </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Podcasts
    11. 11. Screencasts
    12. 12. Screencasts for Twitter; YouTube
    13. 13. Considerations <ul><li>Resources needed for development </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>H ardware </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Acquisition </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Maintainance </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Technical support </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Training </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Resources needed for implementation </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Storage and retrieval </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Access to internet-connected computer for learner </li></ul></ul></ul>
    14. 14. More Considerations <ul><li>Time and money needed for design and development </li></ul><ul><li>Organizational culture </li></ul>
    15. 15. Advantages and Benefits <ul><li>Provide for 24/7 learning opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Remove time and distance constraints </li></ul><ul><li>Provide flexibility for learner </li></ul><ul><li>Accommodate learning styles </li></ul><ul><li>Actively engage students </li></ul><ul><li>Extend and supplement classroom learning </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on specific task to be learned </li></ul><ul><li>Provide &quot;as needed&quot; instruction </li></ul>
    16. 16. Tutorials  used in the Smoketown Elementary Library <ul><li>Volunteering </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Using the OPAC (student-created screencasts) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Author Searching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subject Searching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Series Searching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul>
    17. 17. Guides to Free Online Tutorial Resources <ul><ul><li>CBT Cafe - http:// / </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online Tutorial Resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tech n ology Tutorials Found on the Web </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Free Online Tutorial Sites </li></ul></ul>