The iPad: Cost-Effective Audio & Video Learning Production

“Why would I want to use audio and video as part of my learning program?” is a question that you may be asking yourself. There are plenty of reasons to like audio and video for learning:

  • Supports Varied Learning Environments: Face-to-face, blended, and online learning in synchronous and asynchronous environments.
  • Engages Learning Styles: Caters directly to auditory and visual learning styles and can be designed to support tactile learning.
  • Serves Numerous Learning Purposes: Teaching soft or technical skills, simulations or demonstrations, case studies, interviews, short, targeted lectures, and learner-developed multimedia projects.
  • Options for Accessibility: Free, publicly available, purchase through a vendor, or create your own.
  • Can Bridge Time & Physical Distance: Can bring the past, present, and future to life in a way that other mediums do not offer.

Advancements in technology over the past twenty years have created an explosion in the use of audio and video as a component of learning programs. For a long time, there were two significant barriers to using these mediums for learning: Cost and access. It was expensive to either make or purchase rights to quality audio and video that tied into learning programs, which limited access. As the cloud and social media began to take off, audio and video became more accessible as a passive consumer through podcasting and video sites and apps, such as YouTube, Vimeo, and iTunes, as well as through traditional content providers.

New innovations in mobile technologies over the past five years, including better cameras on phones and tablets and quality apps for audio and video production mean that now affordable tools for the production of audio and video are available for trainers to create their own content as well.

Before jumping in and using audio or video for learning, you should ask yourself several questions to ensure using audio and video are the appropriate fit for your learning program:

  • What are the objectives for the learning experience?
  • Will an audio or video clip provide the best method for teaching part of or all of the objective(s)? Why or why not?
  • How does audio or video complement the rest of the curriculum design in a way that ensures maximum impact and retention of content for learners?

If the audio or video you want for you learning program already exists publicly or is available at an affordable price for a vendor, your task is much easier. Often though, it would be useful to custom create your own content. When developing your own audio and video content, it is hard to know where to start. There are many technical facets to audio and video production with a variety of learning difficulties and costs. Trainers without a large budget are at odds for how to create a quality audio or video project without breaking the bank.

The iPad offers an exceptional middle ground that balances quality with price, a low learning curve, and provides you with an all-in-one multimedia production device. The built-in iSight Camera takes 5MP photos and includes basic features such as autofocus, backside illumination, and focus and exposure controls for video or still images. The iPad is capable of recording 1080p HD video with features such as stabilization and a 3x zoom. While there are many quality audio and video apps available for the iPad, if you are a novice and/or are looking to keep the budget to a minimum, the iPad offers the four basic apps you will need for free:

  • Camera: Take still photos or record video.
  • iPhoto: Organize photos, create slideshows, and perform basic edits, including colors, exposures, and effects.
  • iMovie: Create, organize, and share movies. Development tools timeline editing, audio editing controls, and the ability to add titles, transitions, and sound to movies.
  • GarageBand: Create custom sound tracks with a multi track editing board by plugging in an instrument or using Touch Instruments within the app.

If you are looking for accessories to give your audio and video projects a little more of a professional touch, there are a wide range of vendors offering microphones, lens attachments, and tripods at price points to match nearly any budget. Wi-fi only models of the iPad start as low as $399 (Mini) or $499 (Air). Even if you purchase several accessories to complement production on your iPad, you can have a fully functional, all-in-one, portable audio and video production device for your learning needs for well under $1,000.

Joshua Mathews Ailsworth currently serves as Informatics Educator Lead at Sidra Medical & Research Center in Doha, Qatar. Joshua is an experienced learning and development professional with a background in higher education, long-term care, and medical centers. Joshua is passionate about the philosophy and psychology of learning, learner engagement, and the role of technology in enhancing the learning experience.

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