How to Create Your Own e-Learning Video

Do you ever wish you could include video in your online training? There are plenty of procedures and techniques that would benefit from a visual demonstration. For example, you could show learners:

  • How to Perform CPR
  • How to Close a Sale
  • How to Change an Oil Filter
  • How to Tap Dance
  • How to Train Your Dragon

Equipment You’ll Need:

  • Camera: Doesn’t have to be fancy, but ideally choose one that records high-definition (HD) video.
  • Tripod: I can’t stress this enough. A tripod makes all the difference. No one enjoys watching shaky video. You can create a low budget video that doesn’t look like a submission to America’s Funniest Home Videos. If you want to be able to pan across a scene, you’ll need a tripod with what is known as a “fluid head,” which can easily be found on Amazon or at your local camera store.
  • Microphone: Another little thing you might be tempted to skip. Don’t! Unless you’re hiring a professional for the voiceover, you’ll want an external microphone, preferably the kind you can clip to your collar. It will make your audio so much clearer.
  • Lights: For shooting indoors, adequate video lighting is essential. You can always just borrow your coworkers’ desk and floor lamps for a few hours. I would recommend returning them with cookies, though.
  • Video Software: The behind the scenes video and audio editing process is what really makes or breaks a training video. If you use Lectora® Inspire, you already have Camtasia®, so you’re set! If you don’t use Lectora Inspire… There’s this little free trial button I highly recommend you click. There are also many free tools out there for video editing. But really, check out that free trial!

Steps to Creating a Training Video:

  1. Write a Script/Storyboard
    I know, I know. Here at Your Everything for e-Learning Place, we’re always telling you to storyboard. That’s because it’s such an important step! Storyboarding allows you to plan out the order of what you want to say and how you want to say it. For a how-to video, that’s extremely important. This is also a good time to consider your audience. Do they really need a training video or would this content be better as a step-by-step list that they can reference whenever they need it?
  2. Record Multiple Takes
    Being in front of a camera can be awkward if you’re not used to it. So whether you are demonstrating the training yourself or enlisting employees as your talent (see step 5), give yourself time to record multiple takes. If you’re reading from a script, speak slowly enough for people to follow, but try to sound natural. Can’t afford a fancy teleprompter? Write the script on a large whiteboard and have someone hold it up off camera for your talent to read.
  3. Edit
    This is where you get to have fun with Camtasia (or whatever tool you’re using). But remember, simplicity is best. Save the crazy transitions for the holiday e-card you make of yourself dressed up like a dancing elf. For a training video, you want to get right to the important info. Avoid lengthy intros and long pauses between steps. It can be good to add occasional illustrations in between steps or a screen with a few bullets to reinforce key points, but don’t add too much text. This is a video after all, not a book.
  4. Create a Series
    Related to keeping it simple, consider breaking up your video into multiple smaller, shorter episodes if you have a lot of content. This will keep your learners from getting overwhelmed.
  5. Pick Your Talent
    If your budget allows, hiring pros is a great option because it ensures a cleaner end product and less editing time for you. That being said, including actual employees as extras or demonstrators will increase interest and engagement with the video. Everyone likes to see a familiar face!
  6. Be Positive
    Don’t waste time showing what not to do. That’s just reinforcing the behavior you don’t want. Only demonstrate the correct methods in your training videos. Keep your e-Learning focused on the results and behavior you’re trying to encourage. Don’t confuse your learners by showing a bunch of different methods that aren’t ideal. What if they remember the wrong one?

And now you’re ready to go out and create your own training video! For more tips like this and to see the follow-up post where Christie and I post a video on How to Train Your Dragon*, subscribe to the Lectora e-Learning Blog.

*Just kidding—I talked to HR, and they said our insurance doesn’t cover dragon bites…