25 October

eLearning Videos: The Complete Guide

If you’ve been spending time on the internet lately, you’ve most likely noticed that video is everywhere. Not only has this medium taken over digital ads and social media posts, but video sharing platforms like YouTube and TikTok are some of the most popular apps out there. So it appears the verdict is in – people like video.

And the power of video is not limited to the spheres of marketing and entertainment. Video has made big waves within education and corporate training as well. Although eLearning videos are not a novel concept, relatively recent advances in technology and new tools have made videos more accessible to create and watch than ever before.

So if you’re not leveraging the full power of video in your eLearning instruction, the time to start is now. And this article gives you all the tips you need to create engaging eLearning videos that will help you better achieve your learning outcomes. 

Advantages of eLearning videos

Before we dive into how you can start creating your own eLearning videos, let’s look at some of the benefits of using videos in instruction. Below are three of the main advantages that can come from using eLearning videos:

Higher engagement

When learners are engaged with the content, they are more motivated, focused and in a better position to learn and retain information. And videos are a great tool to foster learner engagement. 

One of the main reasons that videos can lead to higher engagement is that they promote social learning, which involves learning through observing others. Unlike reading text, learners are able to observe and imitate instructors they watch in the video. Therefore, learning by video can be a more natural way to learn.

Extensive research has also shown that another reason videos promote higher engagement is that they are simply a more enjoyable, satisfying and stimulating way to learn. And when learners are engaged with the material, they have higher positive emotions – and an increased capacity to learn. 

Ease of access

A further advantage of applying eLearning videos to your instruction is their availability and ease of access. This is because with a mobile device, videos can be watched from almost anywhere. So learners are able to watch eLearning videos on-the-go or whenever it is convenient for them.

However, videos aren’t only easy for learners to access, but also for instructors to develop and acquire. Creating eLearning videos often does not require a crew, equipment and production team – but rather just some simple tools.

There are various eLearning video tools, (which we’ll dive into further down), that are applicable for users with various levels of video production skills. And if you’re not yet ready to create your own videos, there are ample eLearning videos that are already made, which you can easily access.

Articulating concepts visually

A further benefit of eLearning videos is that it enables you to provide learners with visualisations of learning material. And research has shown that visualisations of textual content can support learners’ ability to process the content.

One explanation for why visualisations of content, like eLearning videos, are so beneficial is because they lower the cognitive load required to learn. According to the Cognitive Load Theory, our working memory only has a finite amount of resources – and learners are only able to process and retain a certain amount of information.

Therefore, since videos take less cognitive load and reduce the need for learners to imagine their own visualisations in their head, eLearning videos can be a highly beneficial medium for learning and retaining information.

Types of eLearning videos

There isn’t only one type of eLearning video. And depending on your learning outcomes and learners’ needs, the type of eLearning video will vary. Below we cover three common types of eLearning videos:

Microlearning videos

Microlearning is a method of delivering content that involves providing learners with nuggets of information that they can obtain on their own time. Since it has been shown to be an effective method of learning, it is increasingly being applied to both educational and corporate training purposes. And one of the most effective mediums for microlearning is video. 

Microlearning videos can either be part of a course or training, or be created as standalone videos for a specific purpose. When creating microlearning videos, it’s important to keep in mind that since they are typically only around 2-3 minutes in length, it’s vital that they are concise, and without excessive details or fluff. 

Animated videos

Animated videos involve the sequence of static images that move in a life-like way. They are a common type of eLearning video since they don’t require live action recording – but rather can be created entirely with software tools.

It is also no longer the case that specialised skills and artistic ability are required to create animated videos. In fact, there are various user-friendly tools with premade graphics and templates that make it easy to customise video to your learners’ needs.

Tutorials

Tutorials are a type of video that include step-by-step instructions. Tutorials include how-to videos, screencasts, whiteboard sessions and explainer videos. You can also create tutorial videos with animation or live recording.

The benefit of tutorial videos is that they promote social learning. Learners are able to visually observe concepts and then mimic them. For example, a tutorial video would work exceptionally well for safety training as learners can visually see how they are supposed to act in particular situations.

Instructional videos

Instructional eLearning videos include lectures, presentations, interviews and webinars. They are typically led by an instructor or SME. As instructional videos can also include screencasts and whiteboarding sessions, there is some crossover between instructional videos and tutorials. 

Instructional videos are commonly used for both education and L&D purposes. For example, an instructional video would be well-suited to onboard new employees about the company history and ethos. In education, a lecture could easily be made into an instructional video with a screencasting tool.

Top tips for creating eLearning videos

Now that we’ve covered the advantages of using eLearning videos, as well as the different types of video formats, let’s dive into how you can start creating your own eLearning videos. Below are seven top tips that you can apply to your eLearning video creation process.

  1. Understand your learners

The most important aspect to keep in mind when creating eLearning videos is to understand your learners. Are you creating a video to train customers, teach university students or onboard new employees? Depending on who your audience is, they may have different needs and preferences. 

Creating learner personas, which are essentially profiles that represent your target audience, is a great method of better understanding your learners. To begin creating learner personas, consider the background, needs, pain points and skills of your target audience. You can then build personas based on this information.

  1. Establish learning outcomes

It’s imperative to define learning outcomes before starting to create eLearning videos. After all, without knowing what your learning outcomes are, it will be difficult to stay focused and ensure the video meets the intended objectives.

When establishing learning outcomes, you’ll want to be careful not to stuff too much content into one video, which could overwhelm learners. Instead, you could create a learning path with a series of shorter videos that each cover one learning outcome.

  1. Plan ahead

As tempting as it may be to just jump in, planning ahead is vital in order to create high-quality videos that are more likely to achieve the learning outcomes. One of the most common and effective methods of planning eLearning videos is to create a storyboard.

A storyboard is essentially a visual representation of the video that is created in advance of production. It involves mapping out the sequence of the content to ensure it is logical and covers all material required for the instruction. Once you have the storyboard, you can then write your script to align with it.

  1. Consider accessibility

Since videos can be accessed from almost anywhere without stepping foot into a classroom, they are an accessible way to learn for learners with mobility limitations. However, when creating eLearning videos, there are further ways you can ensure your video is accessible for all learners.

Creating captions and providing the video transcript can make the video more accessible for any learners with hearing impairments. And giving learners the option to enable audio descriptions of visuals can make the video more accessible for learners with visual impairments. As learners may not readily disclose disabilities, it’s important to be proactive and always consider accessibility when creating eLearning videos.

  1. Add interactivity

One way to make videos even more engaging is to include interactive elements. As opposed to students passively watching the video, interactive elements enable them to participate in the instruction. 

One example of an interactive element that could be incorporated into the video are quizzes that appear at certain points. Learners could be asked to pause the video to answer the questions, which helps with active learning and knowledge retention. 

Another way you can make a video more interactive is by using hotspots, which are clickable points within a video. These hotspots can lead learners to further information, such as PDFs or online resources.

  1. Keep it concise

As mentioned earlier on in the article, microlearning is a highly effective method of instruction due to its ability to keep learners engaged. However, even if you aren’t creating microlearning videos, conciseness is still an important factor to keep in mind.

Try putting yourself in a learner’s shoes. You could either watch a two hour long video of a lecture, or eight 15-minute videos that are concise and each cover a specific subtopic in the lesson. Which one do you think would be more engaging?

  1. Pay attention to details

When it comes to instructional design, details matter – and this certainly applies to eLearning videos as well. So make sure to pay attention to details so that you can make your eLearning videos as professional-looking as possible. 

Some tips to make your videos look more professional are to use adequate lighting when recording, use high-quality audio and to avail of helpful tools that can make your videos look more polished with minimal effort. 

Types of eLearning video tools

If you’re just getting started with creating eLearning videos, you’ll quickly find that there are ample tools out there for this purpose. Since the sheer number of video tools can be overwhelming, we’ve broken down the two basic types of eLearning video tools: animation, and audio and video tools. 

Depending on the types of eLearning videos you’ll be creating, you may not require multiple types of tools. For example, an animation tool may not be relevant if you are creating videos of lectures. However, as tools play a critical role in the effectiveness of video-based learning, you’ll want to choose the most appropriate tools for your learners and learning outcomes. 

Animation tools

As mentioned earlier in this article, one of the most common types of eLearning video tools are animation tools. This type of tool provides digital learning professionals with nearly endless options to create customisable animated videos. Many animation tools are designed for digital learning professionals with little or no design and tech experience.

One example of a popular user-friendly animation tool for both education and corporate L&D professionals is Powtoon. With Powtoon, users have a library of templates, characters, backgrounds and audio tracks at their disposal. This means that very little design and technical experience is required. In addition, users are able to use Powtoon features and pre-made elements to easily create impactful videos that align with their learning outcomes. 

Audio and video tools

The second category of tools for creating eLearning videos are general audio and video tools, of which there are an infinite number. It’s important to make sure that the tool matches your needs and technical skill level. For example, although Adobe Premiere Pro is one of the most well-known video tools, it may have more features than you need. It also requires some advanced knowledge and skills to use.

However, there are various audio and video tools out there that are specifically designed for digital learning professionals – and not specialised video editors. Two examples of these types of tools are Camtasia and Screencast-O-Matic. These are both screencasting and video editing tools that enable users to create professional-looking videos with limited video editing experience.

Final thoughts

With the above tips, you can start creating your own impactful and engaging eLearning videos. And there are ample reasons to do so. Using video in your instruction can lead to higher levels of learner engagement and an increased likelihood of achieving learning outcomes. Videos are also relatively easy for digital learning professionals to create and learners to access. 

If you’re just starting out with creating eLearning videos, enrolling in the Professional Diploma in Digital Learning Design course is a great way to quickly develop the skills you need. You’ll learn all about the latest tools, technology and methods to upskill in eLearning video creation – and boost your career as a digital learning professional as a result.