5 Simple Tips for Creating Engaging Instructional Videos
If you've ever Googled a how-to question, you already know the power video has with teaching you something more effectively than a block of text. Videos aren't just booming in popularity—they're also a primary format for learning. "YouTube is my favorite teacher," is not uncommon to hear from students of any age, so it makes sense to harness the power of video to enhance blended learning.
Video can definitely increase student engagement by making learning more interactive and helping your students get to know you on a more personal level. It can also be a key component in flipped instruction, as it allows students to easily access new material on their own before returning to class to wrestle with concepts in person.
However, for instructional videos to be effective, they need to be engaging. Here are some tips for creating great instructional videos that reach out and grab your students' attention.
#1 Be Yourself
Your students want to connect with you on a personal level, so you should at least make an appearance in your videos. Talk directly to the camera and explain concepts in the same everyday language you would in the classroom.
You don't need a script—though an outline is never a bad idea—just deliver the same great lesson you would in person.
#2 Compartmentalize Points
Most of us have short attention spans, so if you want your students to remember the important points of your video lesson, it can help to break it into short chapters. When each of the key points has its own section in your lesson—complete with it's own chapter headings, imagery, activities, etc.—it's easier to remember.
Imagine if this article, for example, didn't have numbered headers and was formatted as a few large blocks of text. You'd be hard pressed to remember what was said in the middle by the time you reached the end.
#3 Ask Questions
There's a reason children love Dora the Explorer—she asks questions of young viewers and pauses to give them time to think about their answers. This is actually a powerful way to engage students of all ages and encourage them to work through difficult concepts instead of sitting passively. Consider having your students answer questions in a related online discussion or as written work for the next class meeting.
#4 Give Directions
Talk directly to your students as you would in the classroom to keep them focused on the material. You'll snap them to attention when you remind them to write something down, encourage them to bookmark the video to study later, or tell them to sit up and pay attention to an important fact. If you can do this with humor, it's even better!
#5 Get Feedback
Encourage your students to respond to you by having them comment on your video to ask questions or give an opinion. You can also check in with them about the pacing, production values, and ideas for what might make the videos better in the future as you begin the process of adding more videos to your lessons.
Great videos don't require Hollywood-level equipment or professional acting skills. Pretend that your students are right in front of you, and you'll be able to create a relatable instructional video for any course.