How To Make Better Instructional Videos
Whether you need to help your online students catch up on a subject or have to train employees on how to use a new software suite, instructional videos are an incredible teaching and training tool.
They’re easy to share and send around, everyone can watch them at their own pace and they benefit greatly from the flexibility of the digital medium.
Not only that, video tutorials are also very popular on YouTube. Since most people prefer to be shown how to do something rather than told, a tutorial on a popular topic can make for a great piece of evergreen content that will continuously draw new viewers in to check out your channel.
With that being said, not all instructional videos are created equal. Anyone who has ever had to learn how to complete a task solely by watching a video on it can tell you that there are good and bad ways to make a video tutorial.
In this blog post, we’re going to give you guys some tips on how to improve the quality and effectiveness of your instructional videos:
1. Write a Script
Having a script to follow is probably the most important step to making a good instructional video.
Just like a lesson plan, a script helps you stay focused on what really matters and keeps the video flowing along smoothly. There’s nothing worse for a viewer than watching a tutorial only to have the person in the video trail off and ramble about something unrelated.
Reading off of a script or having it memorized will also help you sound more confident, as well as prevent any mistakes in the narration. This saves you time and increases productivity, since you don’t have to record the same thing over and over again.
2. Make sure your video speaks to your audience
This is something that you should definitely be considering while working on your script. After all, you’re recording these videos in order to educate a certain audience, so you need to take them into consideration the most during the creation process.
That means you need to present and word your ideas in a way that your audience will understand and be able to relate to.
For example, if you’re making a video to train the company’s marketing department on how the new log-in and authentication system works, you should avoid using technical terms. These employees haven’t received the same technical training you did, so you should try to put yourself in the skin of a regular user and word your explanation accordingly if you want your video to be effective.
3. Take it slow and pause on important moments
Another useful thing to consider when making your videos is giving your viewers time to take in your message.
Sure, one of the advantages of instructional videos is that they, themselves can pause and rewind at any time, but that doesn’t mean that you should rush through the content.
Having to slow down the video or constantly pause and rewind can ruin the flow of the entire tutorial and leave your audience more focused on working the video controls rather than the things you are trying to teach them.
You should, instead, try to do the pausing for them. Pace your narration and video in a way that allows viewers to fully take in what you’re saying. When something particularly complex or very important comes up, make sure to leave it on the screen a little longer to make sure that your message fully registers.
4. Annotate your videos
This might not seem like a big deal, but studies show that the majority of people are visual learners. While watching instructional videos is a visual form of learning in and of itself, you can contribute to that by annotating your videos.
This can mean adding text to help your viewers retain key concepts of ideas, inserting images that illustrate your point or even using diagrams and infographics to help illustrate abstract concepts better.
When it comes to instructional videos that include screen recordings, using arrows and other graphical elements to guide your viewers’ attention towards certain areas of the interface such as buttons or menus can also come in handy.
We know that adding all of this to your videos can sound intimidating or time-consuming, but don’t worry, it’s really not. Flixier allows you to do it all straight from your browser and it won’t take more than a couple of minutes.
In fact, we even made a video on the topic that you can check out below:
5. Make sure your audio is good
Having good audio is pretty much universal advice when it comes to making videos, but it’s even more important when you’re creating content that is instructional in nature.
People need to be able to follow what you’re saying and that means being able to hear you loud and clear. It’s highly recommended that you use an external microphone when recording instructional videos and that you try to do it in a quiet space with as little background noise as possible.
You should also try to work on your annunciation. Speaking clearly can help alleviate some of the shortcomings of you audio equipment and help your viewers understand you better. A while back, we made a list of the 7 things you can do to improve your mic quality before you ever press the record button. Feel free to check out if you want to improve your audio!
For those of you who want to improve their sound even further, we also made a video guide to teach you how to make your voice sound better and clearer for free using Audacity:
6. Don’t make it too long
It goes without saying that there is no universally accepted ideal duration for a video. It should be as long as it takes to convey the message.
That being said, when it comes to tutorials and other types of instructional videos, it’s best to try and keep it as short as possible.
Since this type of content requires your viewer’s full attention in order to be effective, you want to make sure that you can deliver your message before they inevitably drift off or get distracted by something else.
Ideally, you should try to keep your instructional videos somewhere around 2 to 6 minutes, if possible. This lowers the risks of your audience losing interest halfway through your video and missing the most important parts.
7. Add time-stamps
In keeping with the previous point, time-stamps are essential for longer videos that touch on multiple topics.
If you have viewers that are already familiar with some of the things you’re presenting, they can use the time-stamps to save time and skip straight to the part of the video that concerns them.
Similarly, if there are any users that drifted off or got distracted while watching the video, they can use the stamps to easily resume watching and pick up wherever they left off.
Thank you for reading this to the end! If you enjoyed this article, please consider checking out the rest of our blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more step-by-step tutorials!