Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Friday, December 29, 2006

Video Education: Free Online Learning Resources Mini-Guide

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2006 proved itself to be the year of online video, and as the medium has evolved more and more free online resources have become readily available for those willing to look for them. As universities get wise to the Open Courseware concept, and independent video producers share what they know with their peers there has never been a better time to get yourself a free video education.

Photo credit: Andres Rodriguez

In this Mini-Guide I gather together a list of totally free online video resources for anyone looking to learn something without having to pay for the privilege. As Web 2.0 evolves into a democratic, largely social landscape, online video proves itself to be a great asset in collective knowledge-pooling.

But even the micro-sphere of online video learning content is far bigger than could be shoe-horned into a single guide. As such I have cherry-picked a handful of the best and most relevant resources for those looking to brush up their video, presentation and independent publishing skills. Feel free to compliment this selection with your own recommendations in the comments.

The guide features the following resources:

  • University-sector video courseware
    Universities are catching on to the idea that learning content need not be so fiercely guarded, and at the heart of their collective endeavors is the Open Courseware concept: free to use, free to share lectures and screencasts that open up the ivory tower to the masses.
  • Tutorials in digital video production
    As video becomes an increasingly important way of communicating, production values are on the rise. Keep up with the techniques that will make your video stand out from the pack.
  • Flash design, animation and video
    Adobe's Flash is not only a ubiquitous delivery platform, but also a great way of streaming high-quality, low-bandwidth, interactive video content across the web. Free flash tutorials can give you the flexibility to make your website, slideshow or digital video come to life.
  • Web publishing and sharing
    It's one thing to read about blogging, social bookmarking and Internet television, but quite another to be guided step by step through the process in a video tutorial. These resources provide you with a ready collection of easy to pick up learning content for all things Web 2.0.
  • Presentations
    Whether you want to deliver online presentations at a distance, brush up on your PowerPoint skills or just learn what separates a good presentation from a boring one, these resources are going to be very useful.
  • Digital Imaging
    Nobody is born knowing how to use Photoshop, but that doesn't mean that you have to pay for the privilege.
  • Collaborative learning
    Sharing your skills online just got a lot easier, whether they be in digital photography and image editing, or drawing, creating music and modifying technology. With the advent of collaborative video learning resources, if you know it, you can share it.

Read on to see exactly how.

Open Courseware videos

MIT's Open Courseware concept has taken off in a big way, with universities queuing up to join in the sharing of higher education learning materials online. As Internet video becomes increasingly prevalent, so the audio-visual materials available as Open Courseware are growing. The following sources offer easy access to free higher learning video content.

MIT Open Courseware Videos


The service

MIT Open Courseware has been a trailblazing initiative to bring free university sector courses to the public via the Internet. While the content is primarily syllabus and reading list based, of late they have added some great video content across the range of their courses.

What you can learn

The service offers a diverse range of subjects, with an academic bent, across various disciplines. For example:

Access and file format(s)

Videos must be downloaded, along with the rest of the materials for a given course.

The Real Player format is used for the video content.

Additional Resources

While not entirely geared up to independent publishers, you may also want to check out:

  • Open Courseware Finder, a free service that will search all Open Courseware titles from a range of universities
  • For those of a scientific bent, Free Science Online may be of interest for its collection of science-based video lectures

Digital video production

Producing great looking video and publishing it to the web has certainly become a lot easier and more accessible in the past year, but how do you make your content stand out from the ocean of mediocre, amateur productions out there? The following resources are there to lend you a hand.

Izzy Video


The service

Izzy Video is the work of a single dedicated DV enthusiast, Israel Hyman, and offers a huge array of useful tutorials on digital video production.

What you can learn

There are a great many tutorials - 50 at the time of writing - covering the entire digital video production process, and these include:

Access and file formats

Movies can be viewed online (or downloaded to your desktop) in the popular Mp4 format, in both large (640x480) and iPod friendly (320x240) sizes.

Additional Resources

The Izzy Video Wiki gathers several additional resources, including the chance for viewers to request future tutorials to fit their specific needs.



The service

While GoToAndLearn is not strictly a digital video production resource, there are a great many tutorials dedicated to the use of the ubiquitous Flash format in the world of video production. Lee Brimelow is the man behind these well designed and great looking video tutorials.

What you can learn

In addition to a great collection of Flash tutorials there are several well-made tutorials on using Flash in your video production workflow. These include:

  • Using Flash FLV files in video production
  • Creating a Flash-based video player
  • Adding contextual menus directly into your video

Access and file formats

All videos are in high quality, large FLV format and can be viewed online straight from your browser, provided you have the Flash plug-in installed.

Additional resources

GoToAndLearn's videos are well supported by:

  • A very active User Forum
  • The ability to request future tutorials directly from the main site's Flash-based interface

Flash design, animation and video

Flash has long been a ubiquitous part of accessing the Internet, and since the explosion of online video it has become even more popular. Video sharing giants such as YouTube make use of the Flash Video format due to its ability to provide high-quality, low-bandwidth material.

But Flash is much more versatile than simply being able to serve up online video, and there are resources available that will teach you how to make the most of this powerful platform. In addition to the previously mentioned GoToAndLearn, Steve's Tutes offer various tutorials on the Flash authoring process.

Steve's Tutes


The service

Steve's Tutes bring together a comprehensive collection of video tutorials that will teach you how to create a number of effects and animations using Flash.

What you can learn

The focus of the tutorials is on using Flash to create animations and interactive web applications. Among the tutorials on offer are:

Access and file formats

All videos can be viewed online from your browser, and use Camtasia Studio's proprietary player.

Additional resources

In addition to the free video tutorials available, there are even more text-based Flash tutorials available from the same site.

Web publishing and sharing

As Web 2.0 expands the possibilities of what can be done online, it has become easier than ever to create, publish and share content from within your web browser. Inevitably a number of useful video resources have arrived that will guide you through the process of optimizing your new media productions.



The service

Tubetorial has a diverse selection of videos aimed squarely at bloggers and other independent online publishers. With a focus on getting things done online, and finding ways to monetize your efforts, this is an excellent resource for anyone interested in creating web-based content.

What you can learn

Tubetorial places a great emphasis on both putting your own website together, and finding ways to effectively monetize your work. Tutorials available include:

Access and file formats

All videos can be accessed online, through your browser, and make use of the Flash Video format.

Additional resources

Tubetorial actively solicits video contributions from it's site visitors, in addition to providing them with the opportunity to leave feedback on the tutorials offered.

Awakened Voice learning center


The service

Awakened Voice offer some very well put together video tutorials in the area of social media, covering all kinds of material relevant to those wanting to make use of Web 2.0 technologies.

What you can learn

With an emphasis on making use of online social media, tutorials include:

Access and file formats

All videos can be streamed online, open in a pop-up window, and make use of the Quicktime format.

Additional resources

In addition to being able to subscribe through RSS, email or iTunes, users can also make use of the Awakened Voice Wiki, a repository for information on social media.


For those looking to brush up on their public speaking and PowerPoint skills the first port of call is likely to be our own Masterviews site. But should you need even more in the way of presentation-focused video tutorials, the following rich media resource will doubtless be of interest.



The service

While Speakcast does offer a paid subscription service, it is possible to access the ten latest videos for free. Speaking expert TJ Walker delivers straight to camera advice on how to be a great speaker, and what makes for a powerful presentation.

What you can learn

As you would expect, the video content tends to focus on the needs of public speakers and PowerPoint presenters. Recent free videos include:

Access and formats

All videos can be viewed online or downloaded to your hard drive (if you have Quicktime Pro), and use the Quicktime format.

Additional resources

Speakcast has a number of other resources, including audio and text-based tutorials.

Digital Imaging

While there are certainly more ways that one to edit your images, the industry standard Photoshop continues to be the benchmark against which other applications are judged. But if it wasn't enough that the program comes with a hefty price tag, paying out for training in how to use it can soon add up too. Not anymore.

Photoshop TV


The service

With no less than 60 (at the time of writing) comprehensive tutorials on all things Photoshop, Photoshop TV is the definitive resource for anyone looking to improve their knowledge of this versatile, powerful application. The latest episode is always free, while archived videos are free to members of the National Association of Photoshop Users, or $1.99 per download.

What can you learn

If it's in Photoshop it is likely to have been covered. Recent tutorials include:

Access and file formats

The most recent video is free to view, with archived videos charged at $1.99 per view. The Flash video format is used throughout.

Additional resources

In addition to soliciting user feedback, Photoshop TV is affiliated with the previously mentioned NAPP, an organization dedicated to Photoshop users.

Collaborative Learning

While the majority of the sites mentioned above are the work of individuals and organizations, a new paradigm in online learning is emerging - that of collaborative learning. Just as YouTube relies on User generated content, so this new breed of video learning repository taps into the knowledge of its viewers.



The service

Instructables taps into its user-base to gather tutorials focused on the act of making something, from recipes to mechanical devices. Among this diverse mix are a great many tutorials likely to be of use to independent online publishers. While the tutorials are primarily comprised of sequences of still images, rather than full motion video, the sequential nature of the tutorials warranted inclusion in the guide.

What you can learn

In addition to the truly esoteric blend of tutorials available through the service, there are tutorials that will help you to:

Access and file formats

All tutorials can be accessed online, with video largely comprised of (flash-based) YouTube embedded video.

Additional Resources

In addition to social interest groups, Instructables also provides a user forums, which seem to be very active.



The service

While Instructables focuses purely on making things, and uses a combination of video and still images, Visuarios remit is a little broader - it is a hub for user generated tutorial videos of all varieties. Among the vast range of videos available through the service, there are a good many of interest to independent web publishers.

What you can learn

The Visuarios library is a vast one. You may find the following tutorials of interest:

Access and file formats

Videos, in the popular Flash Video format can be viewed online or embedded into your own blog or website.

Additional resources

It is possible to browse videos by popularity, by those that are most recent, or using a powerful advanced search. Users can also rate and leave comments on videos.


The resources for online video education listed here only touch the tip of the iceberg, and 2006 has seen the possibilities open up for independent learners to tap into a vast reservoir of collective knowledge. As Web 2.0 continues to enable social media, so the opportunities to learn and develop new skills are growing exponentially.

Please feel welcome to add your own favourite video learning resources in the comments section here below.

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posted by Michael Pick on Friday, December 29 2006, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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