From PowerPoint presentations to spreadsheets and online quizzes, e-learning can use a variety of different content types. Yet one of the most popular and engaging continues to be the e-learning video.
As a voice over artist with more than 22 years in the industry, e-learning video narration has come to make up a good portion of the consistent work I do. This has allowed me to see what works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to effective e-learning videos. Here are the top tips I’ve picked up along the way.
Set the Video Foundation
The first step in any effective e-learning video is to set the foundation. That means writing a script and creating a storyboard. Storyboards let you map out each scene’s audio and video to ensure they work together as a whole. Having the entire video outlined on a storyboard saves you tons of time and makes production much easier.
Tell a Story
People love stories. They’re intriguing and memorable, which makes them ideal format for learning. Telling a story with an e-learning video can involve creating different characters to carry out the action, but it doesn’t have to. The main goal is to use the traditional story arc formula to attain and then retain the viewers’ attention. The formula can be condensed into three parts:
- Exposition, or story beginning
- Conflict, or climax
- Conflict resolution
In an e-learning video that explains a product, for example, the story could break down into something like:
- Introducing the product
- Introducing a common problem that nothing seems to resolve
- Resolving that problem by using the product
Choose the Optimum Video Length
While 60 to 90-second videos may work for quick explainer videos, the optimum video length for more extended e-learning content is seven minutes. A University of Rochester study provides strong evidence for this as well. The study looked at the average time students spent viewing video for their online courses. It found students watched the greatest amount of video content when the video length was nine minutes or less.
Students watched less of the video content when videos were more than 11 minutes long. Once videos hit an even longer length of 15 to 40 minutes, students ended up watching no more than three minutes of the video.
Make the Most of the Visuals
E-learning videos tend to most effective when they showcase what’s being explained. Static images can be a waste of valuable video space that could instead be used to demonstrate how to use or do something. This could be how to use a product or service, how to treat customers in difficult situations, or how to successfully complete a project or a task that’s part of the e-learning curriculum.
Use Videos Strategically
You can certainly use a longer video to cover an entire lesson on a specific topic. But you can also use videos in a variety of other ways throughout the e-learning experience. You can use shorter videos to break up text documents and emphasize a point. Or use a short video at the beginning of a lesson to grab attention, another in the middle to demonstrate a specific task, and a third at the end to sum up the points made throughout the lesson.
Videos likewise work well when paired with hands-on training exercises. Your video could be explaining a task while your viewers are actually attempting the same task in real life.
Invest in Quality Audio
Quality audio refers to several things. One is the actual quality of the recording, which needs to be crisp, clear and free of background noise. It also involves the voice over artist you hire to narrate the e-learning video. Because e-learning requires careful listening, you want a voice that is likable, pleasant and trustworthy.
Steer clear of voices with too much breathiness or other distracting qualities that could possibly detract from the learning process. You can find additional qualities to look for in e-learning voice over narration in a past blog post.
Keep these video tips in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to creating an e-learning video that’s engaging, intriguing and highly effective at meeting your goal. Check out samples of my e-learning, instructional and tutorial videos for a look at effective videos in action. Also feel free to reach out for a custom quote or audition if you need narration for your next e-learning project.