Tips on structuring videos for your course

John Sherman

Video is the primary tool of learning and communication when it comes to eLearning these days. Of course, most courses do offer supplementary study books, audio, and reference sheets, but frequently the main driving force of an online course is video!

That’s why the ability to properly structure your videos is such an important concern. Your videos will be where students can see, as well as hear, what it is that they are trying to understand. Visual clues are vital for all types of learners.

In this article, we’ll offer some tips on structuring the video content of your course to make sure it is as engaging and effective as possible. If you’d like more tips about using technology for learning, then you can check them out here.

Show, Don’t Just Tell

It’s important that your video lessons demonstrate the learning objectives that you are making. Rather than simply telling students, you need to show them too.

Demonstration through visual means is an important part of the learning process.

There are many ways to do this. Demonstrate what you’re trying to communicate through real-life examples that students can relate to well. Characters, stories, and life lessons are also entertaining ways to illustrate a learning objective, while analogies are vital and offer another perspective for understanding.

While simply telling some students a topic will be enough for them to grasp the point, this won’t be true for all. Ensure that as many students as possible can comprehend your lesson by demonstrating your learning objectives through a variety of means.

Create a Compelling Story

One of the best ways to demonstrate a learning objective is through the use of fictional stories. Characters that are relatable, stories that reference real-life and clear resolutions are all attractive to learners.

The classic story arc is perfectly set up to explain a learning objective. Its conflict – climax – resolution template offers the eLearning teacher a great way to represent what it is you’re trying to address. The conflict sets out the dilemma facing learners at work, the climax explains the realistic problem that the student may face, and the resolution shows the positive changes that result from the implementation of the course objectives.

Personification through stories is an extremely effective way to teach a lesson. There are reasons that stories – from Greek tragedy to morality play – have been a successful tool for teaching for thousands of years.

Stick to the Point

Thanks to shortening attention spans and easy access to the constant sources of stimulation available on the internet, being both concise and engaging in the structure of your videos make the difference between students watching it or not. Put simply, if a student gets bored they’ll go elsewhere.

Not only will sharp, direct videos decrease the likelihood of students drifting off, but small snippets of information more effectively plants itself in memory. While everyone loves learning, the amount of information that you include in your videos should not be overwhelming. For this reason, you should include key points, and always offer a recap and “takeaway” advice at each video lesson.

Refer to Related Resources

As videos are usually the main component of eLearning courses, they need to work to incorporate the other resources within the course package. Rather than a flat, one-dimensional learning experience, offer your students a rich learning environment by referencing other resources in your course pack.

Structuring your videos to refer to and include the course’s other resources will promote interactivity and engagement in the course. For example, the video can pose a question and then request that the student refers to their course study book to complete a task. Or students can be asked to refer to tables or charts that the video touches upon, for a fuller picture.

In promoting the use of your extra resources, the course is far more involving and exciting than when one learning resource is used. If students are more involved then they will learn and thus your course is far more likely to succeed in teaching its learning objectives.

Ramp up the Drama

The use of music that tugs at the heartstrings or images that bring a tear to the eye are great ways to really involve students in the videos they are watching.

Emotion heightens attention and through using a little dramatic license, students will be further engaged in what they are watching. An image that quickens the heartbeat or a piece of music that brings a tear to the eye will always catch the attention of students.  

It is important to remember that images and music selected should be suitable to what is being taught. This is a teaching environment, after all.

But if you use all the tools at your disposal, including music and images, capture the attention and focus of your student group, then learning objectives are likely to be achieved. If students are invested in the course then their performance can only get better.
So there we have it. With videos as the focal point most eLearning courses, it is important that they are structured properly. If you can include some of these tips to refine your videos then student engagement will surely rise, and with it, the success of your course as a whole.

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