Basics to Creating Effective Educational Videos

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

What tool would you prefer if you were to learn about something: a video or a text? Chances are you’re going to select the video because 65 percent of people are visual learners. This means that if teachers choose to lecture without any visuals, they may be reaching less than half of the class. This is something every educator has to avoid.

In fact, if you’re reading this, you might discover that yourself and want to learn how to create effective educational videos. Whether you need to produce videos for a lecture, educational website, or other education-related purposes, you’ve come to the right place.

Right now, we’re going to take a deeper look at educational video design and production so you know how to create truly engaging and effective videos.

Here are the steps covered in this article:

  • Know the purpose of the video
  • Plan with a storyboard
  • Remember to Avoid Information Overload
  • Maximize engagement
  • Don’t forget about equipment.

1. Know the Purpose of the Video

The first step in planning your educational video is to decide whether a video is the best option for your students. In other words, ask yourself a question: is the video the best way to present the content to the students?

Next, define the main goal of your video.

What are your goals for producing this video? It can be used for a variety of purposes, including the introduction of new content, review, support of learning, examination, or reinforcement of an essential content that has been previously introduced.

Being clear about how the video help students focus their learning will make it much easier to achieve other goals such as writing the script.

2. Plan with a Storyboard

Planning your video is a critical first step that you should not skip. What should you use to create the video? How should you split up your script into smaller segments? These questions are obviously important and need to be answered before you engage in production.

And this is where storyboard comes in.

Originally developed by Walt Disney Productions, a storyboard helps to define the plot, tells everyone their responsibilities and roles, and, of course, gives answers to these questions. Essentially, it’s an outline of your text and visuals that:

  • Describes what the people involved in the video would say
  • Outlines visual elements
  • Describes the application of design principles
  • Determines the sequence of material.

Here’s a simple and short storyboard for you to get the idea:


The first shot: image 1

(music starts) An introduction to Astrobiology

Shot opens on Chris centered on the camera

Chris: Hello. My name is Chris Johnson, I’m a scientist from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Astrobiology is an exciting new science that studies the origin of life in the Universe, conditions under which life developed on Earth and may have developed on other worlds.  (static shot – 5 seconds).

Next shot: (Chris continues): after watching this video, you’ll be able to:

  • Define life
  • Define the conditions under which life as we know it started
  • Define the second genesis
  • Identify the places in our Solar system where life may have started (besides Earth).

(screen fades to animation)

Chris continues…


3. Remember to Avoid Information Overload

Remember videotaped chalkboard lectures that many universities and colleges used to make? A bad light, monotone narrating, and low-quality audio will not be missed. In addition to these production-related issues, many video creators also made a huge mistake by trying to give as much information as they could in one video.

Anyone watching such video would feel a significant information overload due to considerable cognitive processing demands. Simply explained, this overload was caused by an abundance of information that the brain simply cannot cope with.

Clearly, this is something to be avoided if you want to make an effective video.

Here are tips to avoid information overload:

  • Limit extra content. Offer only essential material and avoid bombarding the viewer with additional information regardless of how important it is (if you feel like you still need to give that extra info, give the viewers the link to where they may find it later).
  • Break down the essential content. To ensure an effective learning, break down your content into digestible, learner-paced segments.
  • Use helpful visuals. They include tables, charts, images, and other visuals that make information presentation more efficient.
  • Use natural, conversational language. “Your viewers will appreciate if you limit the use of academic language that involves a lot of concepts that may now know or understand yet,” explains Leah Thurber, a video marketer at Trust My Paper. So, avoid a formal style and speak naturally, and your viewers will find it a lot easier to understand and connect with you.

4. Maximize Engagement

Obviously, engaging someone through a video is a difficult task, so we’re going to review a wide range of techniques that increase the engagement element.

Here they are.

  • Don’t overdo it. Do you like videos with spinning transitions, a wacky music, or goofy fade-ins? Exactly. Don’t let your own viewers also experience the feeling like they’re watching a video made a high school student.
  • Smile. This helps everything! Ron Gutman, the CEO of HealthTap and a well-known public speaker said during a TED talk that facial feedback (smile, that is) modified the neural processing of emotional content in a way that helps people feel better. As the result, it can stimulate the brain in a way that even chocolate cannot match!
  • Look directly into the camera. If there’s a lecturer in your video, instruct them to look right at the camera lens because, well, looking anywhere else looks weird and encourages the viewers to lose interest.

5. Don’t Forget About Equipment

While this goes without saying, I still should mention that low-quality audio and video are a bad idea when it comes to educational videos (and all videos, for that matter). They undermine your credibility and makes viewers lose interest pretty quickly.

Wrapping Up

The importance of videos in education cannot be overstated. We are visual creatures, so we appreciate to learn using this medium. Hope this article will be you go-source for tips related to video planning and production. Happy filming!

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About the Author

Leah Thurber
Leah Thurber writes content for Trust My Paper company and writes guest posts in her spare time. She likes to write about new marketing trends, content marketing strategies, social media, and content writing. You can follow her on Twitter @leahjthurber.

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