3 Tips to Create Engaging Videos for eLearning
As a brand consultant and filmmaker, I frequently meet customers who wish to create videos for their company website. Some videos focus on customer acquisition and education and others are part of employee-training initiatives. Here are some creative approaches to consider:
Animated explainers Vs Screencast/Screengrab Videos
Some videos are animated ‘explainer’ videos, while others are ‘screencasts’ or screen capture videos. Explainers are a good way to put across your business proposition or explain a concept. Screencasts, on the other hand, function like a step-by-step tutorial - explaining how an app, software tool or website works, feature by feature. For instance, an explainer on ‘Three Advantages offered by ULIP Policies’ can educate your employees on how to sell insurance products to customers, whereas a screen animation can focus on a micro-aspect, like, ‘How to Onboard Customers in Three Easy Steps’, using a particular online investing platform.
Live Action or Live Shoot Videos
Some trainers can choose to conceptualise, script, produce and edit ‘live action’ videos. Your live action video can feature customer testimonials, subject matter experts talking, actors acting out a specific scenario, or a product/service being unboxed or used.
Sections of the video featuring subjects addressing the camera are called ‘Talking Heads’ and this footage is cut with ‘B Roll’. B Roll can include any visuals that offer context, and offer a break from the monotony of seeing the same person speak at length. For instance, a tutorial on the ‘Right Procedure to Handle Instruments in a Pharma Lab’ can feature an in-house expert talking about dos and don’ts, overlaid with B Roll demonstrating an employee washing his hands, putting on protective gear and following proper procedure. B Roll can also include still pictures (that you can pan over), movie clips, slides, among other things.
While it is always advisable to hire a professional videographer and team to create videos for eLearning, if your budget does not permit this, here are a few tips to keep in mind while exploring a DIY approach.
1. Keep Videos Short and Focused
It is very tempting to cram a single video with a variety of information. And it can be frustrating to figure out which points need to be given importance over others. However, it is well worth the time and effort to figure out a ‘key takeaway’ from each video.
Spend some time narrowing down the focus of your video. Do you want students or employees to learn how to deal with workplace conflict in more healthy ways? Can you find one or two scenarios that will communicate this idea the best? It is preferable to create a series of short videos, think under a minute or two in length, centred around a theme, than one long video that goes on and on.
2. Mix it Up
Video offers immense possibilities. You can include copyright-free or paid-for video clips to illustrate your argument. Be creative - is there a scene from ‘Jerry Maguire’ or ‘Thor’ that can liven up your lesson? Use it. Unless you are presenting to a very formal audience, where seriousness and subtlety will be appreciated, do not be afraid of using pop culture references or humour to breathe life into your content.
Use slides, still photographs, short animations and ‘text on screen’ cleverly, to support your lesson. Never use text to make the exact same point your voiceover or visuals are conveying. Each element must further your cause, and not just reinforce or repeat the same idea.
3. Show Don’t Tell
And when in doubt, remember the axiom to ‘Show. Don't Tell’. Can you demonstrate the wrong and right way of doing something, rather than lecturing about it? Can your team members double up as actors, to demonstrate the right body language to succeed during an interview? Or will an simple animation using line drawing do the trick? Can you show your audience how to access a little-known feature on a camera, or use a piece of equipment? The endless possibilities of video makes it an exciting teaching tool.
Preeti Prakash | Journalist