Videos are an effective method of combining text, images, and audio to increase engagement and create an immersive learning experience for students in your online course. Here are a few tips for creating engaging videos in your online course:
Set Goals for Your Video
For videos to have a valuable impact on the learning experience, they must have a purpose and a clear focus. Before you record a video, consider how it supports your overall course goals and outcomes. Ask yourself:
- What are the learning goals I hope to address with this video?
- What do I want students to know or be able to do after watching the video?
- How will I assess student learning?
Once you have a clear focus and purpose for your video, you can start to plan for it. Select a video type that best supports your desired outcomes.
Create an Outline or Script
For the best experience during recording, plan out your video by creating an outline or script. To build a connection with your students, consider how to transform your content into an organic conversation.
Keep it personal. Include some best practices, case studies, and lessons learned from your own professional experiences in the video. Use the words "we," "you," and "us" to connect with your students on a more personal level. And finally, be sure to practice prior to recording. Read your script aloud to see if it flows naturally or if you need to add more personality and warmth to your narration.
If you have an outline, do a practice run to ensure that you keep your focus on the topics and stay on track. Don't worry if you stumble over a word or two and need to correct yourself. Sometimes it's the imperfections that make a video more authentic and let students know that there is an actual person behind the screen.
Keep Your Videos Bite-sized
Microlectures are short videos (typically 6-7 minutes) that focus on a single key concept or specific skill set. The short video format helps students stay engaged and maintain focus, provides students with manageable chunks of content that they can more easily retain, and allows students to reengage with the content when needed.
If you have a longer lecture that you typically present to students, divide that lecture into smaller parts and create a series of focused microlectures that build on top of one another.
Microlecture Video Approach
Consider this format for a microlecture video:
- 30 seconds: Start with an intro or overview of what students are expected to learn.
- 5-6 minutes: Present your single concept or skill set.
- 30 seconds: Summarize the learning objective or key points. You can even provide students with a question or set of questions to consider. Let students know how they can use/apply what they just learned.
Tip: Additional Considerations for Recording Videos
Explore these additional tips when preparing and recording educational videos for your course:
- If you're recording talking head videos, be sure to make eye contact (i.e., look directly at the camera).
- Optimize the light and sound quality. Check out our recommended equipment for remote teaching.
- Use relevant images more than bulleted text. Consider a new visual element every 10-15 seconds to keep your students' attention.
- Consider making your videos interactive by adding quizzes and links, or even directly addressing your audience with questions that make them feel like they are in a live class.
- Examples: "How would you feel in this situation?" or "Have you ever been in this situation?"