Video Screencasts for Work Instructions



I write a lot of work instructions teaching how to use an ERP system for various transactions. My work instructions are stored as PDFs, which generally consist of a long series of static screenshots, each of which has call outs instructing the reader on how to fill out the various fields on the transaction record.

I wonder if there's a better way. I'm considering the use of screencasts as an alternative. For those unfamiliar with the term, a screencast is a video of activities on a computer monitor, with voiceover.

Here are my questions:

1. Have any of you done this in your organizations?

2. If so, what has been your experience?

3. If not, do you see any problems with my idea?

4. How would you handle ISO 9001 Section 4.2.3(c) as it relates to documenting changes?

Thanks in advance.


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I would think this would work well if the following items are considered:

1. Sound:
-----a. Do all computers that will be using these instructions have the ability to play sound?
-----b. Will the person using the computer be able to hear the voice instructions (background noise etc)

2. Video: I personally have found videos to be both excellent and pathetic choices for instructions depending on the speed of the instructions. At times the video needs to go faster (get to the meat) and at times they need to go slower (don't skip steps). This is a very hard one to control as each person is different.

4. How would you handle ISO 9001 Section 4.2.3(c) as it relates to documenting changes?

If I were to do this, I would specify a revision within the video for example at the very beginning of the video in the introduction, I would say something like "this video explains the use of the purchasing module and is dated May 4th 2015". This documents the revision level by data within the video.

I am curious as to see how this works out. If you do follow through with this, please let us know how it works out.


I think this is a generally a good idea. Michael M raised some good points. My one question is this this a one and done type of document use or will I need to pull it out every three months to refresh a screen or function I really use?

If it's the latter I may prefer knowing I need to flip to page X rather than sitting through a 3, 5 10 minute video to find the answer.


In my case they are used more for initial training than for ongoing reference. Once learned, the steps are performed frequently and repetitively.


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Your idea is very good. The first time I have seen such a solution was in year 1981 when I was attending training for maintenance at one of largest computer manufacturer in Japan. They were using video tapes with maintenance procedures. If a picture is worth 1000 words, then video is worth much more since it can show exactly how procedure should be performed. Later I saw the same approach at some car manufacturers (they were using CD to store videos).
My experience is good and I can't se potential problems.
To control that kind of documentation use filename containing serial number of procedure and revision number (i.e. video_xxxx_rev_yy) and take care to remove all older revisions from the reach of the potential users.


Involved In Discussions
I have been using a program called Camtasia Studio 8. I have been very happy with the outcome. Although it has many other features I only use it to make narrated PowerPoint presentations. It is very easy to use and the output looks good. We only have used it for new hire orientation not work instructions. So I have not had to concern myself with ISO9001 doc control issues. But thinking about it, you can embed the file in a Word document. That way I can surround it with the normal formatting, including a change log. So I would control it just as if it was a text only doc. The user would only have one extra click to start the program after opening the file. You would have to make sure that the workstation the user is logged in on has the screencast program installed.

P.S. For the record, I have no connection to program's owners.
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