5 Tips for Creating the Best Instructional Videos for eLearning
The realm of eLearning has expanded dramatically in recent years, with widespread adoption in education, and even in professional training. However, for all the benefits it offers, text-based training can be cold and impersonal. Instructional videos from instructors, professors and other teachers can add the missing human touch and help ensure that students learn better. The problem is that creating instructional videos for eLearning isn’t as easy as you might think. To simplify matters, the following five tips should be followed.
Avoid the Talking Head
Too many instructional videos feature nothing more than the instructor’s head and shoulders. While this can be used to an extent, your video should not be limited to only talking heads. You need to go beyond, even if you’re creating videos for professional training where physical demonstrations are unnecessary. Incorporate other elements to really engage viewer interest, from charts to screens to props to make the experience more immersive.
Write a Script and Practice
Most videos are produced with a script in mind, but too few presenters take the time to practice that script so they know it by heart. This results in stilted speech patterns that make it obvious the presenter is reading from a cue card. Obviously, that’s going to take away from the overall experience. Write the script and then practice it until you know it so well that you don’t need the cue card. You’ll find that this provides a better experience for eLearning students of all ages. It also frees you to incorporate other elements into the instructional video that can provide greater engagement (think jokes, anecdotes, props and the like).
Know Your Audience
It’s incredibly important that you know your audience and cater to them with your video. If you’re creating an instructional video for use during in-house professional training, feel free to add some humor that appeals to adult students. If you’re creating an instructional video for elementary students, go with puns or more obvious humor. Catering to your audience also applies to everything from the color of your background to the clothing you wear during the video.
Instructional videos don’t have to be of real people. While that can give them a human touch, you can also achieve similar benefits using animation. Depending on the audience, animation with human narration can sometimes yield better results, as well. For instance, younger audiences will definitely respond better to the use of animated characters in instructional videos, while older students and adults will tend to prefer actual people presenting the information. This tip ties into knowing your audience and catering to their learning needs.
Lighting and Distractions
No matter your audience, you need to strive for the most professional video production possible. That means paying attention to the lighting to ensure that you’re clearly visible and the video is not dim or grainy. You also need to limit distractions, such as a shaking video camera (use a tripod) to standing still while presenting your information. Distractions can make it difficult for your audience to focus on the message of your video, so be as critical as necessary of your performance to deliver the highest quality product.
In the end, creating the best instructional videos really comes down to knowing your audience and then taking the steps necessary to ensure that you’re producing a distraction-free video that speaks to those learners. It definitely pays to have professional quality equipment, including lighting, but catering to your audience in video content and style (live or animated, for instance) are also essential considerations for eLearning students.