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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsMaking a video has never been easier. Whether you use your phone, a tablet, or a video camera, you can point, shoot, and then make your video available through a whole range of platforms. In this short video, we'll look at how to make an effective educational video. We'll consider four essential elements of great video, the purpose of the video, the audience, the subject, and lastly, production quality. So why are you creating your video? What is the purpose? One way to approach this is to consider the key message, what are you trying to achieve? Then break this down into a number of submessages, and then if necessary, break it down further still.

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 secondsThe optimum length for an educational video is between four and five minutes, so keep this in mind. Let's take this video as an example. As we have already seen, the submessages are purpose, audience, subject, and quality. Take the time to develop a clear structure for your video before you start to think about filming. Once you have your structure in place, you need to consider your audience. Consider age, gender, nationality, interest. Think about the style and language you should use. If you are aiming at a younger audience, your approach may be quite different than a style you might engage if your audience is more mature.

Skip to 1 minute and 28 secondsOnce you've determined who your audience is, the next step is to consider the subject of your video. How are you going to tell your story? Having a clear narrative to your video will engage your audience and make it more likely that they will watch to the end. You have a number of options. The single talking head to camera approach is probably the easiest option, because it may not need any editing. It is worth taking the time to brief the person you are filming, and giving them time to plan what they are going to say. A list of bullet points held up beside the camera can help to keep them on track.

Skip to 2 minutes and 4 secondsIf you have some editing skills, you can be more adventurous. Images and music can provide a powerful message.

Skip to 2 minutes and 20 secondsOr the vox pop style, where you interview a number of people about a subject. It is advisable to steer clear of the discussion format, unless you have an external microphone available. That moves us on to the quality of the video. Although the visual quality of the video is important, high quality sound is vital. You may think it is a good idea to film outside, but unless it's a calm day, this can be the result. Equally, you might want to film in a busy environment. But again, background noise can be really distracting. Finally, think about lighting, in particular, the background light. If filming on a smartphone, background light can be disastrous.

Skip to 3 minutes and 3 secondsWe hope you have found this short introduction helpful, and you are now ready to have a go.

Creating a video

This short video provides an overview of how to produce an educational video.

Having watched the video, consider the responses you documented in the previous activity. Develop your ideas into a short script for filming: 150 to 200 words is a good length to work to.

Take your time doing this: as you will have seen from the video, the preparation for filming is important. Read your script out loud to make sure it sounds natural and the sentences are not too long.

If you have access to a device with video capabilities, follow the guidelines to film your script. Alternatively you may choose to create an audio file.

If you don’t have the resources or the time to do this, don’t worry- you can share your script as text in the following activities.

Have your say:

  • Share your experiences of developing the script: did you find it difficult writing concisely and in a way that translated to video?
  • If you filmed your script, how did that go? Did you face any challenges?

Please don’t share your video, audio or script at this stage. Concentrate on reflecting on the process.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Learning Online: Reflecting and Sharing

University of Leeds