5 Tips for Creating Videos for eLearning Courses

16th October 2020

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Table of Contents

Video is one of the most preferred formats for consuming content online. With internet speeds becoming faster and access becoming more ubiquitous, Cisco predicts video will account for 82% of all internet traffic by 2022.

Video is also inherently engaging on a sensory level without requiring too much effort on the viewer’s part, allowing it to actively engage employees. A Forrester survey of video vendors shows that nearly 65% of their customers use enterprise video solutions for effective employee training.

In Wyzowl’s State of Video Marketing 2020 report, meanwhile, 95% of video marketers say that video helped increase user understanding of their product or service, while 96% of people have watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service.

It’s apparent now how videos play a vital role in eLearning efforts. It is, therefore, imperative that you get the process of creating videos for your training courses right to maximise their benefits.

Related reading: Everything you need to know about our eLearning production service

Establish the Purpose of Creating Videos for eLearning Courses

(Source: Natural Cures)

Before you even start brainstorming ideas for what your video should be about, you need a clear reason for making one in the first place. Videos are powerful educational tools, but they come at a relatively high resource cost, especially if you want professional-grade production value.

The most common purposes for making a video include:

  • Visual demonstration of a task for easier understanding
  • Underscore the importance of an issue
  • Summarise a unit/module/course in a digestible manner
  • Tell an engaging/emotional story that takes advantage of the multi-sensory strengths of the medium

Pick the Appropriate Format

Once you have established the purpose of the video you’re creating, you then need to decide which format it will take. There are multiple formats that have unique strengths and suit particular messages. The main goal here is to match your video’s message with the format that can best deliver it.

Narrated slides

(Source: Pat Flynn)

Slide presentations are a staple in both work and academic fields. They provide the simple utility of presenting ideas in a straightforward manner and in bite-sized chunks, acting as supplemental materials for presenters giving a lecture or making a pitch.

By adding narration to a slide presentation, you can create a video that can slot into an eLearning course. PowerPoint for Windows and Keynote for Mac both have built-in features that will let you easily record audio with slides. All you need is a decent microphone.

Narrated slides are also handy for when you want to save on resources by repurposing existing educational content for neat summaries of big topics.

Screencasting

(Source: RDKtutorials)

For demonstrating technical tasks that are bound to interfacing with the software on a computer or mobile device, screencasting is the way to go. It is basically capturing a video recording of your device’s screen as you go about completing a task. Screencasting is very useful for step-by-step instructions for software training.

Depending on the recording equipment and video editing tools you have, you can add your voice to clarify specific steps or add graphics to the recorded video to highlight certain elements on the screen.

Presenter video

(Source: beautybakerie)

Live training sessions can also be repurposed as instructional video content by simply recording these sessions with a camera. You can make this as plain or as polished as you want, depending on your editing skills or access to a video editor.

Presenter videos are perfect for product demos. Record yourself or a product specialist showing how to use a product properly, going through each step as meticulously as possible for absolute clarity.

Animation

(Source: Headspace)

Animations are slick audio-visual productions that can be highly engaging if done well. Explainers are best for this format because of how one animation can condense a lot of information and present it in a fun or compelling way that is comparatively quicker to consume than a full-length article.

The most obvious obstacle to creating an animation is that it is much more resource-intensive than other formats. You need technical and artistic know-how to produce quality animation in-house. You can also enlist third-party services. Either way, the lead time can be longer than any of the other basic formats.

Write a Script and Storyboard

Video content needs structure. Without structure, your video would be an incoherent mess that will either go on for too long or end abruptly. A script and storyboard provide that much-needed sense of order.

Having a script to follow adds professionalism to your video. You won’t have awkward silences and “uhhs” and “ums” filling out dead air as you compose your thoughts mid-recording. With a storyboard, you have a direction for sequencing scenes, and you can visualise how you want to frame your scenes in a compelling way. Both a script and storyboard give you a clear storytelling arc.

If you have visual materials to base your storyboard on, take screenshots or pictures to guide you in the storyboard development process.

Get the Right Equipment

Unless you are fine with having the most barebones production, you will have to invest in quality recording equipment to produce quality videos.

A video camera is the most obvious piece of equipment you need to procure. Fortunately, it’s not absolutely necessary to look for professional-grade cameras that cost 5 digits. High-end smartphones nowadays can record videos in full HD.

Good microphones are mandatory for videos that will have any sort of voice work. Video editing software should also be a serious consideration for your budget if you are producing videos in-house.

Edit and Annotate

Once you have recorded all the footage or created all the frames of animation you believe you need, it is time to start editing:

Mind the video’s length

You have to come into editing with the mindset that your video should only be as long as it should be to get its message across—even if that means cutting out parts that you think look great or initially thought were crucial.

Remove extraneous footage

It can feel agonising when you have taken a lot of time and effort to perfect a specific shot only to realise in the editing process that it isn’t all that necessary. However, you will have to make these creative decisions to remove any extraneous footage to ensure your video is as lean as it can be.

Apart from making sure that your video is at its most impactful, another reason for trimming its length as much as possible is that people’s attention spans for learning are still limited even for video content.

In fact, based on two separate studies, the optimal length of video content aimed toward learning is 6 minutes to 15 minutes.

Add annotations, text overlays, and animations

You should also find the time to add annotations and text overlays during the editing process. These are useful for highlighting certain points in your video and providing more context for complex concepts.

They also work to guide viewers’ eyes toward the most important on-screen elements. Consider animating text if your video relies heavily on them to keep viewers engaged.

Show the speaker

Lastly, don’t be shy about showing your speaker for narrated videos. Having a human face on your video establishes an emotional connection with the viewers. You can do this at the beginning and at the end of your video. Just make sure that your speaker is presentable with an outfit that suits the tone of your video.

Videos with Direction

The immediate impact videos can have on your eLearning courses make them extremely valuable assets. You, however, need to acknowledge that a significant amount of resources and effort have to be put into creating videos. That is why it is critical that you get the process right, having a distinct direction that is supported by the right format, structure, and tools. Get any of these wrong and video creation will cost you more than it benefits you.

Reap all the eLearning benefits of video while avoiding resource pitfalls with the help of Wahoo Learning. Our production team has the technical and creative skills to deliver video-based eLearning content that will meet your standards and deadlines.

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