Making educational videos for your students is a good thing! But making great educational videos that captivate your audience is even better! In this article, we give you our pieces of advice on how to optimise your videos and deliver video content that will make your students actually want to learn!
Before diving into the subject much deeper, let’s review the basics!
What is a (great) educational video?
Educational videos are video clips made for educational purposes. These videos are part of the asynchronous learning format in which teachers deliver some of their courses (mostly theoretical content) on video. Videos are set to be short (around 10 to 15 minutes max.), addressing one key idea, concept, topic or chapter. Then students watch and rewatch the theoretical videos on their computer at their pace whenever they want and wherever they are.
Great educational videos are interactive as much as possible. Depending on the tool that is used, teachers and students may add comments or files on a sidebar, or participate in quizzes for example. The goal is to engage students who are not physically in the same room and do not watch the video at the same time, so they do not get bored and instead actively participate on their own schedule.
Note that asynchronous learning is often part of a hybrid setup (blended learning for example), with theoretical content available online beforehand, in order to prepare for discussion and activities in class on campus.
So now, let’s go back to our 3 steps!
1. Before the recording
The first step before you start recording your video clip is to prepare the script!
Yes, just like for a movie, you must prepare your video as much as possible. What for? By scripting your video from A to Z, you will captivate your learners more thanks to a clear, concise speech and a determined educational objective.
Start by writing down the parts and themes you want to cover in your video. Be careful: we advise you to limit yourself to 2 or 3 key ideas for each video, so that the content remains easily digestible for the students. You could even consider producing a theoretical video addressing one specific topic! As a reminder, the ideal is to produce a video that does not exceed 15 minutes, otherwise you may risk losing the attention of your audience.
Then think about the additional resources you want to add to your video. Depending on the tool or platform you use to stream and share your video, you may be able to link to additional resources (videos, web pages, books, etc.) - so that your students can go deeper into a subject - directly from a sidebar for example.
In the same way, it is important to ask yourself whether you want to integrate interactive elements to judge the understanding of your students. If the answer is yes, then you may add quizzes, questionnaires, surveys, etc. Depending on the tool you use you will have more than one option available!
If you want to be guided step by step in the making of your educational script, do not hesitate to consult (and fill in!) our template.
Once the content of your video is ready, move on to the form! Prepare your presentation material and make sure it is very visual.
Equipment is not everything, of course... but getting a decent camera and microphone will greatly improve the quality of your videos. The risk with a bad audio and a poor image is that your students will drop out quickly after the start of your video. But rest assured, you can get a very good result with very little, and for very little!
To do this, check that the quality of your webcam is good enough. If not, or if your computer doesn't have one, get one for a handful of euros/dollars/pounds. And if you are willing to spend a little more money on it, we highly recommend the Logitech C920 webcam.
Then, test the audio! Chances are that the sound coming from your computer is not up to par. Don't panic, it's normal! To remedy this, opt for a clip-on microphone, it is a very good way to ensure you have a great quality audio source! We recommend the XS Lav USB-C microphone from Sennheiser.
Once your equipment is ready, make sure that :
- The camera angle is optimal: compose a balanced shot and position the camera at the right height: not too low, nor too high, that would give you a condescending look.
- Your face is well lit and you are not against the light: no window or source of natural light should be directly behind your desk, otherwise the quality of your image will be affected.
2. During the recording
To show your students that you are speaking directly to them, we strongly recommend that you look at the webcam rather than the screen. Otherwise, your students will get the impression that you are busy with something else and interest can quickly evaporate.
The tone of voice
- Try to be as relaxed as possible: remember that you are not speaking to your students live, and that it will be possible to correct some parts of the video in post-production.
- Adopt a clear and understandable diction as well as an optimal rhythm: don't go too fast or you may lose your audience, but don't go too slow either, remember your learners will be able to pause the video easily and as many times as they want.
- Don't be too formal: by adopting a way of speaking that is close to the one you use every day, you create more proximity with your audience. Don't use complicated words when possible, make complicated concepts as simple as possible. Don't hesitate to use anecdotes to illustrate your point.
- And if you're comfortable, you might also consider storytelling! Depending on the subject matter, the added value of your content could be enhanced by delivering your course in story form. Not only will it captivate your audience, but it will also highly contribute to knowledge retention!
3. After the recording
Cut the video
Once the content is in the box, all you have to do is edit it. Cut out the blanks in the video, the moments of hesitation or those that you feel are not relevant. The goal is to reduce the length of the videos as much as possible to provide students with clear and captivating content that makes them want to learn and engage with the content.
Moreover, note that by scripting your video beforehand (see step 1 above), you will stammer less and search less for words, you will go straight to the point and save precious time when editing the video.
Make your video interactive
Last step before sharing your video: optimize it by enriching it.
To do this, use your script (see step 1 above) if you have developed one, or include additional resources that seem relevant afterwards.
Ask yourself the following questions: Did I mention a reference at any point in the video? Did I only address a part of the lesson? Do I want my students to autonomously explore a particular topic and/or go deeper?
If the answer is yes, then all you have to do is add the content to your video in the most appropriate form (web page, video link, podcast file, PDF etc.). Depending on the tool you use, this can be done via the sidebar next to the video player for example as it is the case with Nudgis by UbiCast.
Another possibility that could be useful to make sure your students understand the material is to create a quiz! This will also allow you to adjust the level of difficulty of your next courses, or to come back to topics that are not well understood, and to help students who are having difficulties.
You are now ready to make awesome educational videos!