The digital age has opened up myriad ways to learn new things and educational videos are one of them. Tutorials, lessons, and how-to videos are all over the internet today and everyone can learn about anything from baking wedding cakes to ancient East Asian history whether they’re free videos on YouTube or e-courses comprised of several longer videos. When making educational videos, planning what you want to teach and show is essential as well as what needs to be shot and what can be done predominantly with images.
Define the topics you want to cover, but also enable the viewer to skip various topics. For videos meant to be used in learning modules in schools, or even just uploaded to YouTube to be available for free, if the video is on the longer side then the different topics covered should be easily split into segments so the viewer doesn't have to watch the whole video.
The length should be digestible. Educational videos are meant to be used in conjunction with classroom discussions, assignments, and required reading. If the videos are more tutorial-like in nature for something not taught in schools, the shorter the better, around 5 minutes or less. Educational videos meant for the classroom don't have one ideal length, but 12-15 minutes broken down into 1-2 minute segments (such as topics) is a good benchmark.
Stories increase engagement. Students don't want an info dump of the topics they're learning about. What kind of stories can be incorporated into the material that they would relate to? Is this story being told through an interview or testimony, spoken word, or with visual cues like images and animation? Whether it's through reenactments or stock footage, adding historical context to an educational video is a great way to tell a story that the viewers may relate to and find entertaining.
For instructional videos, use equipment and lighting that can clearly show what is being done every step of the way. For educational videos that demonstrate how to build structures, operate equipment, perform science experiments, prepare food, and other hands-on activities, the proper lighting and camera angles is direly necessary. If a presenter is showing the steps of a recipe, focus on their hands and the tools they're using. This may require several takes and skillful editing, as well as doing fast-motion for more tedious processes to both entertain the viewer and keep the length short. Adjust the lighting as necessary for areas that hands, other body parts, equipment, and furniture might accidentally cast shadows on which make it hard for the viewer to see what the presenter is doing.
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