How To Make An Engaging Video Course: 8 Tips for Online Classes
Article updated: November 9th, 2023
Fully online MBAs and college video course sessions, internationally accredited classes, and acknowledged certifications that you can get 100% online: the classroom of the future is virtual! The eLearning trend has seen dramatic growth and we couldn’t be more grateful that the educational experience no longer knows the boundaries of physical confinement.
We all vividly remember the COVID-19 pandemic status quo: with face-to-face contact being limited or completely stopped, people were forced to find new ways to learn and develop their skills. Not only this, but people also had a lot more time on their hands that they wanted to fill by doing things that might have pushed their lives in different directions. All of these factors have led to an online learning boom, so naturally, we need to explore all you need to know about video courses.
However, it can be tough to make online courses engaging since body language becomes harder to read, and people have a lot more distractions within their homes than they do when in a classroom. In other words, traditional classroom learning does not always translate well to online learning. At least that’s the theory, but if it’s one thing the past couple of years have taught us it’s that theory and practice sometimes don’t align 100%.
This is why with a few simple tips for online classes in mind and tricks up your virtual sleeve, anyone can easily create online courses that are fun, engaging, and interactive for students!
Here's how to keep your online students involved, attentive, and even entertained while learning and studying online, and some bonus tips for online classes success:
What are the types of online courses?
Traditional online courses
While the word “traditional” barely manages to encapsulate the meaning, we’ve all gone through at least one of these courses. These are the most popular formats of simple online courses we can encounter:
PDFs are an excellent choice when it comes to written content and visual elements such as images or graphics. They’re easy to access, easy to download, and even easier to read on the go, on a tablet or even on a student’s phone.
Much like PDFs, e-books are a great way to pack a lot of information and photos that make for a concentrated learning experience. Accessibility is yet another bonus, since they can be re-read and students can annotate them and highlight key passages so they can process the information easier.
Slides or PowerPoint presentations
Any teacher’s go-to for delivering information in a structured manner. The efficiency of slides or PPT presentations is especially noticeable in the case of complex concepts, as you can break down information into small chunks of data and graphics.
Virtual notebooks are perhaps one of the most interactive types of traditional online course assets. Having an assignment and filling out answers to questions encourages students to turn theory into practice right away.
What do they all have in common? Well, they require less involvement in shooting videos and can effectively teach information to students without additional, on-camera effort. More simply put: clear and to the point and focused on visual learning by eliminating potential distractions such as sounds, transitions, and a preset pace that videos come with. However, when it comes to auditory learning or even visual learners who prefer more dynamic elements to their learning experience, you may want to consider the video format.
Video online courses
Integrating a mixture of visual and auditory learning is one of the top online courses tips. Why? Starting from better engagement due to interactivity, fostering a personal connection and turning the activity of learning from a chore to a hobby through watching video, it’s pretty clear that this is now the way to go. Here are the most well-known types of online learning videos that incorporate multisensory learning:
Whiteboard explainer video courses
This is a classic: picking up the chalk or a marker and going to the board to teach. This is the right equation result as one of our main suggestions to improve online classes for students. Setting up a camera or even your phone to film it means there’s no extra hassle, and your student will be able to watch, rewatch and rewind as many times as needed.
Demonstration video courses
Ever since we were kids we’ve wanted our physics teachers to demo how a controlled explosion would go, right? That’s a pretty niche example, but having a show and tell can definitely add value to your online classes by teaching your students the HOW TOs firsthand.
Instructor lecture video courses
The use of body language and facial expressions can foster the creation of a more personal connection between the teacher and students.
Slide presentation video courses
Since we’ve already talked about slides, the video version of this type of presentation is a step up through the added value of having an instructor narrate the content and come with additional explanations. What’s even better is that you can integrate animated visual elements that will make learning much more enjoyable.
Animated video courses
We’ve already established that animated visuals can make an online class much more fun, so why not consider creating an animated presentation from scratch? This style can definitely appeal to many students, as the colorful approach would ensure that key takeaways are memorized.
Now that you’ve got the basics of video courses down, the best thing to do is actually start shooting and editing. Here’s where we come into play with some invaluable pieces of advice:
You don’t need state-of-the-art equipment. You can keep it as simple as recording on your phone and enhance video quality during the editing process.
You don’t need to be a video editing expert. Even as a teacher, you may find yourself in a position to learn to use new software. Don’t stress, and go for an online video editor with a friendly, easy-to-use interface.
You don’t need to put pressure on yourself. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind, as mental health is something that isn’t necessarily taught to us, but it’s vital.
8 tips to teach an online course
In our line of work, many creators are looking for online video course tips, so we’ve handpicked a couple of DOs and DON’Ts that will help you level up your online course game:
1. Prepare your curriculum and script your videos
Preparation is critical when designing an engaging online course. Whether you're making your own content or hiring an instructional planner, you'll need to map out your course content strategy.
Identifying the learning objectives or goals that you want learners to accomplish as a result of completing your course should be your primary objective during the preparation stage. After that, you can plan your course around the target goals.
Since your learning objectives will shape the basis for your course material, each lesson or module should have a particular purpose rather than a general overarching goal.
Steal our video script template
2. Incorporate storytelling into your video lessons
As human beings, we're wired to empathize, and stories help us do just that! Personal meaning and the opportunity to internalize what we've learned both come from empathy.
You can better teach challenging skills like problem-solving, teamwork, and imagination by adding stories and making students act out or analyze scenarios and case studies or by adding fun quizzes. This makes your lessons more fun and will encourage students to return to your online course.
Plus, it also ensures that they'll remember what they've learned, which is more important than having them memorize the answers to a series of questions. After all, isn’t that the goal of learning?
3. Spice things up with b-roll, slides, and graphics
B-roll, slides, and graphics are invaluable tools for teachers creating video courses, enhancing engagement, clarity, and retention of material. B-roll adds visual diversity and can illustrate or emphasize key concepts, helping to maintain student attention and make abstract ideas more tangible. Slides offer a structured way to present information, aiding organization, and providing a clear visual aid to complement the spoken content. They can be used to highlight important points, guide note-taking, and share additional resources. Graphics, including charts, diagrams, and animations, can simplify complex ideas, add interest, and serve as mnemonic aids.
For these tools to be effective, it is crucial to provide relevance, maintain high quality, opt for simplicity in design, uphold consistency across the material, and ensure accessibility for all students. By thoughtfully integrating these visual elements, teachers can create enriched and engaging learning experiences, fostering a deeper understanding of the course material.
4. Keep videos and modules short for maximum engagement
A learner's attention span is usually much shorter than most learning modules. Traditional in-class education misled many into believing that students would pay attention for 45 minutes or more. However, fifteen minutes is said to be the optimum time frame for complex learning modules.
Students can easily keep focus for 15 minutes, but they need a break to process the information they've absorbed and reset their attention span.
The critical point is to break the content down and deliver it in small bites to be more manageable to students. You can even aim for videos as short as 2-5 minutes so you allow for shorter breaks in between modules.
5. Create a dynamic content mix with companion materials
With today's access to technology, it's easier than ever for people to learn remotely and take courses online. However, the main challenge of online learning is the distractions that people have at home. Therefore, it's vital that online courses are appropriately prepared, include storytelling elements, and contain a dynamic mix of course material. Create online courses that are eye-catching and include interactive visual elements and this way, your students will be grateful for an enhanced learning experience.
Differentiated instruction is a teaching philosophy that recognizes that different students learn information in different ways. In other words, some students are hands-on learners, while others are better at absorbing knowledge by reading it or seeing it in a video. You can even use an online voice recorder to make sure that your students who prefer auditory learning also benefit from a compelling learning experience.
So, make sure your courses contain a variety of learning mediums. Use written texts, videos, live sessions, AMAs, audio recordings, and more to make the best impact possible!
6. Give your students a community and stay connected
Humans are social creatures. Therefore, you should always incorporate social learning into your online learning courses. Having a community built around your course will provide students with a place to discuss course concepts, answer one another's questions, and work on assignments together.
Students develop a sense of responsibility as a result of their involvement in the group. They're no longer isolated individuals responding to simple questions on a computer screen; they become part of a much bigger picture. Students often meet in study groups outside of class in conventional teaching environments to discuss content or prepare for exams.
Therefore, whether you set up a blog, forum, or social media pages for your courses, having a healthy, active community is essential in making your online courses as engaging as possible!
7. Refresh, and keep the content fresh
Refreshing content is crucial to ensure that your materials remain relevant, engaging, and effective in your mission to facilitate learning. The rapid pace of change in various fields means that information can quickly become outdated, and you need to regularly update your content to reflect the latest developments, research, and best practices. Adding subtitles in different languages can make the content more accessible to a diverse audience, expanding its reach and impact. Repurposing existing content into different formats or for different platforms can also breathe new life into the material, helping to maintain learner engagement and cater to different learning preferences.
By actively seeking feedback and monitoring learner performance, you can gain insights into areas for improvement, ensuring that the content remains effective and relevant. This not only enhances the learning experience but also contributes to higher learner satisfaction and better educational outcomes.
8. How NOT To Engage Students
It's common for online training courses, as an example, to include many slides that students must read or listen to, some question-answer matching exercises, and then a final quiz that they will have to retake.
This typical routine isn't only dull, but it's also tedious for students to work through and often stops people from returning to your online courses. That being said, it's a good idea to think outside the box and avoid using boring slides and simple multiple-choice questions in your courses. Instead, use unconventional learning techniques like games and puzzles that make your courses fun and more engaging. It’s a good idea to make sure that your preferred editing software has a rich selection of video editing tools that empower you to add interactive elements that translate from 2D to real life seamlessly and in a fun way.
If you don’t already know this, good news! You can monetize your online video courses. The beauty of the internet means that you can create training videos and transform them into a constant income source. Hubspot is a great example of this: they have started by selling free courses, and once the students are hooked, they can get access to paid content as well. Other similar platforms, where you can browse courses by topics and learn by watching videos are Coursera and Udemy. Pretty cool, right?
By applying these online course tips, you’re increasing your students’ chance to benefit from a fun, interactive learning experience. Besides, we’ve all heard of the teacher’s pet, so it only makes sense that incorporating this advice into your video courses will make you the favorite teacher in the virtual classroom.
If you want to create engaging video materials for your courses easily using only your web browser, try out Flixier!
Frequently asked questions
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