How to Create Training Videos
Learn how to create training videos, including examples, tips, and benefits
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Video is an essential medium for digital learning.
It’s one of the most popular formats for gaining new information. And the trend seems to continuing into the future.
Organizations have found video as a useful tool to scale-up employee training, at a lower cost. Plus, advances in technology have simplified the video creation process. Most of us walk around with a high-definition video camera in our pockets. The tool is in our hands.
Although we have the tools readily available, making a good training video requires planning.
The video must be effective at meeting the organizational learning goals. Which means, you must start with a robust learning strategy and a talented design team to bring them to life.
Training videos are critical to any organizational learning function. Onboarding videos, software tutorials, supply chain training. All departmental training can benefit from video-based learning.
What makes a great training video? This guide will help you organize, plan, and create the most effective training videos for your audience. Let’s get started!
▶ Before you start creating your training video, we recommend hiring a training consultant to help strategize, organize, and build your learning strategy.
What is a training video?
A training video is a video with an educational goal of teaching a skill or knowledge.
Or simply, a video that teaches someone how to do something. A training video could be for employee onboarding, compliance training, software education, or many other uses.
▶ A corporate example is when new employees at Chipotle need to learn how to properly chop an onion. Chipotle has created a step-by-step training video to teach new employees how to chop an onion.
▶ A non-corporate example is if you wanted to learn how to fix your lawnmower. You search on YouTube and find a video titled “How to Fix Your Broken Lawnmower.” This video is an example of a training video.
Benefits of effective training videos
Most training programs utilize a variety of content types – videos, guidebooks, eLearning courses, in-person lectures. If you’re considering using video for training, it’s important to know the benefits. Why are training videos beneficial for learning? Let’s take a look.
1. Increases engagement
Your employees like watching videos. Look at the popularity of sites like YouTube and its easy to see why training videos increase engagement amongst employees. Forrester Research showed that employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than to read text.
2. Improves recall
Using visuals and text together promotes information recall, according to Richard Mayer’s principles. Another study showed that employees recall 65% of information presented by video, opposed to 10% of information read via text.
3. Captures processes well
Especially for software tutorials and how-to videos, videos are the best medium for capturing step-by-step processes. They have the ability to showcase clearly defined steps in a process, making it easier for information to transfer to your employees.
4. Easy to distribute
Videos can easily be uploaded, shared, and distributed across the globe in a matter of seconds. This is a big win if you need to get information to a vast number of employees in a short period of time.
5. Reduces costs
Many traditional training programs involve flying hundreds of employees to a single geographic location for a week-long training workshop. As you’d imagine, that is extremely costly. Training videos are lower cost and can reach 10x the amount of people.
6. Eliminates human error
In-person training has its benefits, but there is always the chance of human error – a trainer shares incorrect information or performs a task the wrong way. Training videos eliminate human error by providing the most accurate information in the shortest possible time.
7. Allows for learner flexibility
Each person learns at a different pace. Training videos allow learners to pause, restart, and stop their learning anytime they wish. When learners have full control over their learning experience, they are more likely to engage in learning and increase their productivity.
8. Great for on-the-job learning
In our fast-paced world, employees need information now. They don’t have time to rummage through the file cabinet. Training videos provide an easily-accessible resource, exactly when the information is needed.
9. Humanize learning experiences
Digital learning has a reputation for being cold and isolating. Training videos provide an opportunity to bring human connection into the digital learning experience. Instructors can appear on-screen. Real-world scenarios can be explained. Videos media-rich qualities allow for
10. Allows for full customization
Creating a video begins with a blank slate. You can highlight your brand culture, show your personality, and bring in elements of humor. Training videos allow you to customize every tiny detail in order to effectively communicate your desired message.
Types of training videos
There are many video types to choose from. Which one is best?
Selecting a video type depends on your audience’s learning goals, budget, available resources, and sometimes, just personal preference.
In this guide, we will discuss six video types: instructor-led, screen capture, how-to, animated, interactive, and employee-created. Don’t worry, you don’t have to settle on just one type. From our experience, the best training videos use a blend of many types.
Here are a few for you to explore:
1. Instructor-led video
These are simply the video version of an in-person training. The instructor, or presenter, is shown on screen speaking to a virtual audience. Another word for these videos is “talking head videos” because the instructor’s head is on screen, talking to the audience.
For examples of instructor-led training videos, check out LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and Edx. All of these video-based courses rely heavily on instructor-led video.
▶ Skill level required: Beginner to Intermediate
▶ Time commitment: Medium
▶ When to use: Use instructor-led videos when you have an engaging, expert presenter.
▶ Equipment requirements: HD video camera, lighting kit, tripod, lavalier microphone, video editing software
2. Screen capture video
These are videos of screen recordings, most commonly used for software tutorials and demos. With the actual software on-screen, screen capture videos typically use a voiceover narration guiding the learner to complete a set of tasks.
These are incredibly effective and used by hundreds of large-scale software companies to help customers understand how to use their software. For example, check out our samples down below.
▶ Skill level required: Beginner to Intermediate
▶ Time commitment: Low to Medium
▶ When to use: Use screen capture videos for software tutorials or technical process instructions.
▶ Equipment requirements: USB condenser microphone (for recording voice-over), screen capture video editing software such as Camtasia
3. How-to video
These are videos of an individual demonstrating a task or guiding the learner through a process. They are also known as demonstration videos. How-to videos are commonly found on YouTube, where the instructor shows the exact process in the video.
The learning occurs when the viewer aims to replicate that process in their own experience. Examples of how-to videos would be “How to cut an onion” or “How to write in APA format.”
▶ Skill level required: Beginner to Intermediate
▶ Time commitment: Medium to High
▶ When to use: Use how-to videos to demonstrate step-by-step processes.
▶ Equipment requirements: HD video camera, tripod, lavalier microphone, video editing software
4. Animated video
These are training videos using fully animated visuals. They are great for explaining ideas, data, and complex processes.
Animated training videos use text, icons, and graphics to create a visually-engaging learning experience. Try editing software like Vyond and Videoscribe.
▶ Skill level required: Intermediate
▶ Time commitment: Medium
▶ When to use: Use animated videos to explain complex processes and ideas. Or if you’re looking to save time on development and coordination. Simple animation tools like Vyond speed up the development process, requiring no time to set up cameras, lighting, or audio equipment.
▶ Equipment requirements: USB condenser microphone (for recording voice-over), animation video editing software such as Vyond
5. Interactive video
Interactive videos are arguably the most effective for learning. These videos work best as scenarios, where learners watch a small clip and have to choose which path to embark on next.
While they can be time-intensive to create, they often serve as the most engaging types of training videos, requiring learners to engage and test their knowledge.
▶ Skill level required: Advanced
▶ Time commitment: High
▶ When to use: Use interactive videos as often as possible. If you have time and budget, interactive videos are the most effective training videos for human learning. But they also require the most resources to build.
▶ Equipment requirements: HD video camera, action camera, tripod, lavalier microphone, video editing software, eLearning authoring software
6. Employee-created video
We learn best from our peers. Employee-created videos are exactly that – training videos created by your employees.
This is a great way to leverage your experts and distribute their knowledge to the entire organization. Creating videos can also serve as a way for employees to practice skills they’ve learned.
▶ Skill level required: Beginner
▶ Time commitment: Low to Medium
▶ When to use: Use employee-created videos as part of a larger learning program. These are often best used as reflection tools; where employees create videos to reflect on what they’ve learned.
▶ Equipment requirements: LMS system for employee upload
Custom training videos vs. pre-made
As a decision maker in your organization, you have a few options when it comes to training videos: custom videos or off-the-shelf videos? Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Custom training videos
These are videos created specifically for your brand and business problem. You have full control over the look, message, tone, visual feel. This makes it easier to create targeted videos to solve your problem.
+ Pros: fully customizable, on-brand, allows for a deeper employee connection to company culture, can target very specific business problems, higher employee engagement
– Cons: more expensive, more time to produce, can be difficult to revise for future company changes
Pre-made training videos
These are videos purchased off-the-shelf, on a license basis. They often contain generic information and can easily be uploaded to your LMS.
+ Pros: less expensive, less time to launch
– Cons: overly generic, potentially irrelevant information, lower employee engagement
What’s our take?
Every company is different and has its own problems to solve. Choosing custom videos or pre-made videos depends on your specific training goals, budgets, and company requirements.
If you have the budget and you’re looking for a long-term training video solution, go custom all the way. If budget is constrained and you’re looking to maximize your dollars, consider pre-made videos.
It’s all up to your larger training strategy and the business outcomes you’re trying to achieve.
How to create a training video
If you go the route of creating custom training videos, we’re here to help. Or if you’d like to create your own training videos, follow the rest of this guide to learn the basics. Let’s start with the equipment requirements.
Equipment for video production:
- HD video camera
- Basic lighting kit
- Lavalier microphone
- USB condenser microphone
- Video editing software
- Video animation software
Equipment quality and price can vary significantly. Before you run out and purchase these items, make sure you know the type of video you’re creating.
For example, if you’re creating a fully animated training video, you won’t need a video camera. But you will need a USB condenser microphone to record a voiceover.
5 steps to create effective training videos:
- Set goals and objectives
- Plan your video
- Script and design
- Record and edit
- Share and distribute
Let’s take a look at each step in more depth.
1. Set goals and objectives
▶ Understand the goal: Before you begin creating, dig into the larger training strategy and understand the business goal. What outcome is this video trying to achieve?
Partner with your instructional design team and review the training needs analysis together. This will tell you the purpose for the training video and how it relates to the overall plan.
It also often provides you with access to current resources that may help in the video development process. Training support documents, outdated presentation materials, prior LMS data. All potential items that could help maximize effectiveness as you build a new learning resource.
Understanding the business goal will help clarify the full scope of your video project.
▶ Know your audience: Who is the training video for? Understanding your audience is key to designing an effective training video. Dig into their demographics to understand the average age, location, culture, background, and job functions.
Throughout the entire design process, always be thinking from your audience’s point of view. We’ll cover a few tips in later steps to continually put yourself in your audience’s shoes.
▶ Define the learning objective: As with any instructional content, always start with a specific learning objective. After watching this training video, what should employees know or be able to do?
Ensure the learning objective is clear, concise, and relevant. Learners should know the objective before they even start watching the video.
VIDEO TIP! – Put the learning objective in your training video title.
For example, use titles such as: “How to Submit an IT Ticket Request.” In this case, the learner already knows the objective before they even press play. As you move through each step of creating your training video, always make sure to refer back to your learning objective to stay on track.
2. Plan your video
Now that you know the learning objectives and project scope, it’s time to start planning. This means, understanding the subject matter, building a team, selecting a video type, and ensuring you have equipment to bring your training videos to life.
▶ Build your team: Depending on the project scope, you may need some help. Some training video projects can be completed by a single person. Others require teams of 5-10 people. It all depends on the amount of training videos and delivery timeline. It helps to have a team that has experience with instructional design, graphic design, videography, and video editing. Make sure you have the right people in place to get the job done.
▶ Select video type: What type of training video will you be creating? Instructor-led? Animated? Interactive? It all depends on your audience, message, goals, stakeholders and available resources. We covered training video types earlier in this article here. Give them a read and determine the best video type for your training program.
▶ Prep your equipment: Your equipment requirements will be dependent on the video type you choose. You may need a video camera. Or you may just need a license to video animation software. Check the equipment list underneath the training video types discussed above.
▶ Set up a project plan and management tool: Once you know the full scope of your project, it helps to put it on paper. Training video projects don’t typically consist of just one video. Most often, they are a series of 15-30 videos. This can be a bit overwhelming to manage. The best way to solve this is by setting up a project management tool to keep everyone on track. There are free resources such as Trello. Or you can create a shareable Google sheet that tracks your project notes, inputs, and delivery timelines. For larger projects, having a project management tool is essential to keep everyone on track.
▶ Get to know your SMEs: Building good relationships is essential to any project. Before you create a training video, you must get to know the SMEs you’ll be working with. The goal here is to build a relationship and simultaneously extract the necessary information to build your video. Working with the SME will be an ongoing effort to build your training video. Aim to minimize the amount of interaction. You want to maximize your information gathering without being a nuisance. Your SME is busy. And you need to be efficient with their time throughout the entire video development process.
3. Script and design
You’ve done the prep work. Now it’s finally time to get to the core of the video development – the scriptwriting and design.
▶ Write a script: A well-written script is essential to create an effective training video. Without a good script, your video will be confusing, disjointed, and extremely long in length. Writing a script takes a lot of practice. Make sure you dedicate enough time to ensure your video script is well-written, well-organized, and incredibly easy-to-understand. Here are a few tips to accomplish that:
- Start with an outline: Just like in school, an outline is the best way to capture your thoughts and make sure no important information is missed.
- Get focused: Writing requires long stretches of time and focus. Allocate your time in hour chunks that are fully dedicated to writing your script.
- Speak out loud as you write: Good training video scripts are conversational, not overly professional. To get started, talk the process out loud.
- Simplify your language: Cut out all the extra words and unnecessary jargon. Use small words that everyone understands. Shorten your sentences. Remember, your goal for this training video is to provide information to a vast number of people. Your message needs to be short, direct, and only use words that are 100% necessary.
- Edit, edit, edit: Read back through your script (yes, out loud again!). Trim down your sentences. Have a team member edit your script from their perspective. It also helps to have the SME edit the script. As the expert, they often give interesting insight into what language makes sense, and what is confusing.
- Work with a professional: If writing isn’t your strong suit, consider hiring a professional script writer. Remember that the script is the most essential part of your training video. You want to get this part correct. Look for an individual or company that has experience in writing scripts specifically for training content.
WRITING TIP! – At the top of your paper, write the name of a particular audience member you are writing to.
For example, use large text and write “I’m making this video for Tom.” It’s easy to forget who your audience is. This simple technique will help you subconsciously remember your audience as you begin writing your script. It also helps helps you think from the audience perpsective: “What would Tom think of this? Would this make sense to him?”
▶ Sketch out your ideas: What will your video look like visually? What images will appear on screen, and at what time?
With your script set, it’s time to match the text to visual representations. This can be done usnig a storyboard technique. Your storyboard can be set up using a simple table format: the script text on the left side and the visual representation on the right side.
Storyboards get the reputation that they need to be some overly formal art piece. Honestly, most storyboards are hardly better than sketches. Keep it simple. Add some sketches, throw in some images you found on Google.
The whole point of storyboarding is to speed up the development process. It’s to give a visual interpretation of what might be happening on screen. You don’t have to be perfect here. Spend less time on the storyboard and more time in the video development process, bringing the ideas to life.
Before you move into the production phase, have a rough outline of the visuals you’d like to use.
▶ Add “surprise-and-delight” features: How can you make your training video more engaging? Can you add small elements of humor? Can you personalize the video for this specific audience? Can you use relevant company lingo or jokes?
Conjure up some fresh ideas to surprise and delight your audience. Not only will your audience enjoy the training videos more, this will also help solidify their understanding of the content.
4. Record and edit
Finally, let’s start creating! In this step, you’ll produce, shoot, and edit your training videos – making sure to keep the production quality as high as possible. High production value helps remove distracting barriers and provides learners with an increased level of focus, clarity, trust, and comfort.
Recording a voice-over
▶ Voice-over recording tips: Audio is severely underrated. It can make or break your training video. Make sure you follow these tips as you record your voice-over:
- Record in a quiet place with no echo
- Place your microphone in the right place
- Test record to make sure volume is set properly
- Practice the script before recording
- Speak clearly and confidently
- Have drinking water nearby
▶ Best microphone to use: We use this AudioTechnica 2020+. It’s a USB mic, which means it will work on almost any computer without any extra hardware. Even if you don’t want to spend a lot of money, make sure you get something decent. The built-in microphones on laptops and computers are terrible and will not give a professional feel for your training video.
▶ Best software to use: We record audio in Adobe Audition. But there are many free audio recording tools available. Some video editing software, like Camtasia, also have an audio recording feature built-in.
▶ Editing voice-over audio: Typically, your audio will need to be edited and mastered. This can be accomplished using the recording software you selected above. No need to overdo the editing. This can be a simple tweak of the EQ levels, which you can learn how to do by Googling or using YouTube. You’ll also need to edit the timing of the voice-over clips. Instructional content needs to be presented at the right tempo – methodical, predictable, and at a reasonably slow pace. Make sure your voice-over is edited well to match the instructional speed.
▶ When to use voice-overs: You’ll need to record voice over for screen capture videos, animated videos, and (sometimes) how-to videos. Basically, for any video that won’t have a person talking on screen. The voice-over serves as the auditory experience for the learner, while images, text, and animation appear visually on-screen.
Recording your screen
For software tutorials and demos, you’ll need to be able to record your screen. This can be done using software like Camtasia. Here are a few tips for recording your screen:
▶ Close tabs and clean-up desktop: The visual experience needs to be as clean and seamless as possible. Open browser tabs and a messy desktop are distracting. Clean up your desktop presence before hitting record.
▶ Practice, practice, practice: Before recording, make sure you know how to navigate through the process yourself. You’ll save a ton of time if you practice up front. You don’t have to be perfect, but know the process well enough that you could complete it swiftly and confidently. Once you’ve got it down, hit record!
▶ Edit in post: Don’t worry if your recording wasn’t perfect. Camtasia allows in-depth editing after you’ve recorded your screen. You can speed up and slow down footage. You can also smooth out your mouse cursor. It’s all relatively easy to do. Check out their tutorials to learn how.
Shooting a video
If you go the route of shooting a video, this requires a bit more equipment. You’ll want to make sure you have an HD video camera, tripod, lighting kit, and lavalier microphone. While this process can get pretty complex, we’re going to give you the simple version. Here are beginner tips for shooting a video:
▶ Plan your shoot: Date, time, location, schedule. All of these planning items are important to make sure you maximize your time on set. If your SMEs will be on screen, you’ll need to coordinate with their schedules and make sure everyone is available on the days and times selected.
▶ Choose the right environment: Find a quiet place that doesn’t get a lot of employee traffic. This could be a conference room. Or an off-site rented studio.
▶ Have good lighting: Ideally, your chosen environment would use fully natural light or fully artificial light. Not a mix of both. If you have natural light, be aware that the sunlight moves quickly. And this changes the look of your shot. Artificial light can be fully controlled, and therefore is the preferred choice to achieve evenly lit training videos.
▶ Use a tripod: No one likes shaky footage. Regardless of how steady you think your hands are, they’re not. Tripods make a world of difference and keep your audience engaged with the presenter.
▶ Keep a simple background: Avoid busy backgrounds where objects are moving. The focus should be on the presenter. Keep it simple and, if possible, blurred and out of focus.
▶ Use manual focus: Most cameras are set to autofocus to start. Sometimes this feature is great. For shooting training videos, manual focus is better. Why? Because it gives you control. Autofocus will move in and out of focus automatically. Sometimes when you’re recording. This is distracting for learners and gives an unprofessional look. Stick with manual focus and make sure you continually check to ensure your shot is in focus.
▶ Frame your shots properly: Use the rule of thirds to position your presenter. If possible, make sure they are either to the left or right of center in your shot. Before you set up and start recording, do some practice. Record yourself or colleagues and practice setting up the shot properly.
▶ Capture b-roll footage: B-roll footage is the extra footage captured to improve the training experience. This is footage that can be edited over top of your presenter footage. If your presenter is talking about “how to work in teams,” you might want to capture extra b-roll footage of their co-workers working together in teams. This way, the b-roll footage can be used to support the overall training experience. B-roll footage is very important. Make sure you have a plan to capture it before you begin shooting.
Animations are a great way to improve your training video. They are helpful to explain processes and charts for training purposes. Or if you don’t have access to shooting a video, your entire training video can be of animations. Most often, animation videos combine animated images and text on-screen.
▶ Storyboard your video: Animated training videos are best when you have a plan. Before you start creating, make sure you have a good idea of exactly what will be on screen. As we covered earlier, use your script to create a visual storyboard for your training video.
▶ Start with simple software: If you’re new to video editing, it’s best to start simple. Try software like Vyond or Videoscribe. These tools have a mellow learning curve, but still provide the ability to create effective and engaging videos. Once you’ve mastered those, you can move to try more advanced tools like Adobe After Effects. But for training videos, most often you’ll need tools that can create videos quickly and effectively. Simple is usually better.
▶ Keep animations on brand: Abiding with brand guidelines is important for any type of training video. But it’s most important with animated videos. Make sure you use the correct colors, fonts, imagery, and characters that match with your company’s brand.
▶ Tell a story: Humans love stories. And animated videos give you the perfect opportunity to tell one. Create a character similar to your training audience members. Then, take that character on a journey that helps explains the problems and solutions related to your training goals.
Editing your video
Video editing is time-consuming. There’s no way around that. Why? It’s the most important part of the video creation process. And you want to make sure to get it right. Editing your video is when you have a chance to fully bring your final product to life. You need to make sure your message is clear. And that the transitions and flow all make perfect sense. Let’s take a look at some tips:
▶ Know your editing software: There are many video editing software available. Some free. Some quite expensive. Choose editing software that is best for your budget and skill set. Most video editors are set up in a similar way – including a timeline, library, and playback screen. Learn the basics of your software by watching YouTube tutorials.
▶ Be consistent with transitions: Your transitions don’t have to be super fancy. Often, the simplest transitions are best. Stick with simple pushes and fades to start. And try to be consistent throughout your video. The more consistent you are, the less cognitive overload your learners will experience.
▶ Stay on brand: Use your company logo, color palette, fonts, and graphics. This helps create a consistent look and feel for your training videos. It also shows that you’re paying close attention to detail. Your stakeholders will appreciate a well-branded visual experience.
▶ Use text and graphics: Adding text and graphics is essential for training. This helps highlight the most important information for a learner. Limit the use of text. Only add text when there is important information you’d like the audience to remember. This works well for short lists, vocabulary words, and definitions. Graphics should be used to support your learning content. Only use relevant graphics that improve the learning experience.
▶ Use annotations: Especially for screen capture tutorials, annotations help call attention to a specific area of the screen. These could be boxes, highlights, arrows, or pop-ups. Use these features to call attention to important information you want people to remember.
▶ Add background music (only in certain cases): Background music is great for engagement. It’s less great for actual learning. Why? Music can be distracting for learners. If the purpose of your video is to engage an audience, background music is must. It helps set the tone and feel for your story. For straight-up tutorials and step-by-step processes, it’s best not to use music. It can be distracting and detract from the actual learning experience.
▶ Consider your export settings: Videos can be exported with many different settings. Make sure you know where your videos will be hosted. And the requirements of your LMS or online platform.
5. Share and distribute
Your video is finished. You’ve got your file. Now what? The next step is to share and distribute. Much of this section is dependent on your LMS and your organization. But we’ll run through a few best practices to keep in mind.
▶ Hosting training videos: If your videos are for an internal audience, they’ll most likely be hosted on an LMS. You’ll want to work with your LMS admin to host training videos. From here, you can typically assign training videos to groups or individuals.
If your videos are for an external audience, there are many online platforms for hosting – YouTube and Vimeo are the most popular. These videos can be uploaded and shared with anyone in the world by copying and pasting the URL.
▶ Communication plan: Just because you’ve built it doesn’t mean people will watch your training videos. Just like any training program, you need a communication plan.
Think through how you are going to tell your organization about the videos. Make sure the target audience knows about the program and where they can access it.
General tips for making training videos
▶ Keep your training videos short in length: Research has shown that short videos (with one specific learning objective) are ideal for learning comprehension. Maintaining shorter videos all begins with your scriptwriting. Continually edit and refine your script until you’ve trimmed out all of the fat and your message is crystal clear. A good rule of thumb is to keep each of your videos under 5-minutes long.
▶ Support videos with other training materials: Training videos are great. But they aren’t the end-all-be-all for learning. True learning experiences need supporting activities and materials to ensure knowledge is transferred. Consider creating a workbook to go along with your training videos. And make sure there is some way to test knowledge or skills at the end. Remember, training videos are just one piece of a learning journey. They need support to be a truly effective training experience.
▶ Use annotations: Text, arrows, highlights. These are all critical components of creating a quality training video. They help simplify complex information and draw attention to specific areas of the screen. Camtasia is a great out-of the-box software solution that has annotation features built-in.
▶ Add captions: To improve understanding, all videos should have an options for captions. Many video host platforms allow for captions to be turned on and off. If that isn’t an option, you may have to create custom captions baked into your video editing. Check with your stakeholders to see if they’d prefer to have captions. We’ve found that most often, captions are extremely helpful for learning.
▶ Hire a good editor: Once your video is shot and recorded, you’ll have a handful of large video files to edit. If you’ve never edited video before, just know that it is a lengthy and resource-intensive process. There are many free resources available online to teach yourself video editing, but we suggest hiring an expert that can edit your videos quickly and efficiently. This will ensure a clean, professional look that your learning audience will appreciate.
▶ Don’t overdo visual effects: Keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm your learners with too many flashy transitions and eye-popping animations. Make sure the video is edited professionally and in a way that is simple, but not boring.
▶ Use a tripod to steady your shots: If you’re using a video camera to film yourself, or any subject, it is imperative that you use a tripod. A steady video shot keeps a professional look to your training video, plus allows learners to maintain focus on the content.
▶ Carefully frame your shots: Depending on your plan for editing your videos, you want to be deliberate about how you frame each shot. Is the subject in the center of the screen? Off center to the left? Carefully think through your framing before you press the little red record button.
▶ Get your lighting right: Videography is all about lighting. You want to find a location that has good natural light, but is in a shaded area so the light is distributed evenly. Avoid shooting in harsh, bright sunlight or in dark rooms.
▶ Invest in audio recording equipment: Forgetting about audio is the most common mistake when first starting off creating training videos. Think about it – the sound is potentially the most important part of a good training video. You need your learners to hear your content loud, crisp, and clear for a successful knowledge transfer. Invest in a quality microphone and external audio recorder to maximize your sound quality.
Intermediate tips for making training videos
Video production is a never-ending pit of techniques and approaches. If you’re looking to step up to the next level, here are a few intermediate tips to creating training videos:
▶ Bring some motion to your shots: As mentioned, tripods are critical to achieving a steady, professional look. But bringing in some smooth motion can elevate your training video. This doesn’t mean holding the camera with your hands. Adding motion to your shots requires additional rigs such as stabilizers, gimbals, or tracks. These types of shots certainly aren’t necessary for most training videos, but they will boost your production value and improve learner engagement.
▶ Upgrade your editing software: Using professional video editing software such as Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro will provide you with endless post-production options. And while these software programs do carry a heavier price tag, they are 100% worth the cost if you’re planning to edit training videos for the long-term. Warning – advanced video editing software has a steep learning curve. Make sure you have the time to learn how to use them.
▶ Shoot with multiple cameras: Multiple cameras create a dynamic training video experience. This allows you to show different angles, allowing for a more immersive learning experience. It also helps to create more frequent scene transitions that can boost viewer engagement.
▶ Use a green screen: Most of the LinkedIn Learning courses are all shot with green screen backgrounds. Green screens are a great option if you don’t have a real-life environment to shoot in. They allow you to place the presenter in any scene or scenario you’d like. While green screens do require a hefty lighting setup and longer post-editing time, they can be a good option to control your background.
▶ Use custom animations: Although this requires large budgets and lots of time, custom animations can be an option for training videos. The most commonly used software for custom animations is Adobe After Effects. You can download pre-made animation templates from sites like Motion Array or Video Hive. Pre-made templates allow for a bit of customization that adds some pop and flash to your training videos.
▶ Change scenes frequently: To keep learners engaged and interested, it’s important to change your scenes frequently. Rather than having a talking head on screen for five straight minutes, you need to mix it up. Add some b-roll footage over top. Insert an animation to explain the concept the video is discussing. It’s both an art and a science to finding the correct balance of time between scenes.
▶ Create thoughtful scene transitions: Transitions in training videos are one aspect that your learners won’t consciously notice. But they do make a big impact on quality. In the editing process, as you move from scene to scene, carefully consider how your transition will work. Will your text move out left and chart move in right? Try out some ideas and continue to tinker until it is smooth and crisp for the viewer.
Best video-editing software for training videos
There are tons of video-editing software out there. And it all depends on your training video type and your own level of editing expertise. Here are some of our favorites for you to choose from:
▶ Adobe Premiere Pro (paid): The gold standard of video-editing software. Premiere Pro is known to be one of the best-in-class video editors on the market. It’s extremely robust. Every aspect of video can be fully customized. While it’s not 100% necessary for every training video project, it’s video editing software that can do it all. Check out Adobe Premiere Pro here.
+ Pros: Best overall video editing software, extremely customizable
– Cons: High cost, steep learning curve
▶ Camtasia by Techsmith (paid): Created for ease of use, Camtasia is the best screen capture video-editing software on the market. Available for both MacOS and Windows, Camtasia allows users to edit videos, record voice-overs, and capture screens. Great for beginners as it has a simple user-interface and clean setup. Check out Camtasia here.
+ Pros: Best screen capture software available, easy to learn, great effects
– Cons: Limited customization, no keyframe tracking
▶ Apple iMovie (free): iMovie is Apple software that typically comes pre-loaded on any computer you purchase. It’s a simple, clean, straightforward video editor with a hefty library of free effects. Check out iMovie here.
+ Pros: Free, easy to learn, great built-in features
– Cons: Only available on MacOS
▶ Movie Maker 10 (free): If you have a PC, Movie Maker is a worthy free option. With basic features such as text captions and clip trimming, Movie Maker is efficient, straightforward, and reliable. Check out Movie Maker here.
+ Pros: Free, easy to learn, great built-in features
– Cons: Only available on Windows
▶ Vyond Animator (paid): Vyond is a brilliant out-of-the-box animation tool for training videos. It requires no background in video editing. And allows you to create beautiful, on-brand training videos at a fairly low cost. Their asset library is continuing to grow with more features and effects added every month. Check out Vyond here.
+ Pros: In-browser editor, easy to use, great asset library
– Cons: Limited export quality, no keyframe tracking
▶ Videoscribe (paid): If you need to create whiteboard videos quickly and easily, Videoscribe is your tool. While the software is clunky and buggy at times, it’s a helpful tool for creating whiteboard explainer videos on the fly. Check out Videoscribe here.
+ Pros: Quick to create videos, easy to learn
– Cons: Clunky program, buggy on MacOS, extremely limited editing features
Training Video Examples
Now you know the basics of creating an effective training video. Let’s check out some examples. All of the examples here are of various projects we’ve worked on at Water Bear Learning. Take a look.
Retail POS Training Video: Our partner in the apparel industry upgraded their retail stores to a new POS system. They tasked us with creating a 10-part video series to help retail employees learn the POS system quickly and efficiently. With an audience of 3,000+ employees, we focused on video tutorials with simple voiceover instructions, a guided POS-simulated experience, and real in-store scenery.
Supply Chain eLearning Video: Our client in the food & beverage industry approached us to develop a creative solution to help employees learn new end-to-end supply chain best practices. With an audience of 12,000+ employees, we created a series of twelve eLearning courses with engaging animated videos, supplemented by an instructor-led training experience.
Talent management training video: Integrated into a company-wide talent management program, this eight-part eLearning series focused on enhancing employee development and career growth. Our training solution reinforced learning by encouraging employees to complete self-paced eLearning modules combined with real-world partner activities.
Sales software training video: Our client in the healthcare industry developed a custom software app for their sales force. With an audience of 8,000+ employees, our solution included a series of twelve video tutorials clear voiceover instructions and an iPad simulated experience with real-life hand motions. We made these accessible in both English and French to reach their target audience.
Cooking ingredients training video: To make plant-based eating easier and more approachable, we helped create an energetic video series on a variety of plant-based foods, exploring history, nutrition, and useful cooking tips.
HR Performance training video: As part of an internal communication and change management plan for our client in the outdoor apparel industry, we created a promotional video to introduce a new HR Performance Management tool to 2,000+ employees. The design that was simple, modern, and brand-aligned.
Frequently asked questions
How long should a training video be?
Remember that learning success isn’t measured by video length. That said, to optimize video engagement, the optimal length for a training video is 6-9 minutes. Aim to keep your video under 10-minutes long for the highest engagement and completion rates.
What makes a good training video?
Effective training videos should be tied to a learning objective, easy-to-understand, short in length, relevant to the employee’s work, professionally edited, well-produced, clean recorded audio, and have an actionable next step for the learner.
How do employees make training videos?
Employees create their own training videos often as a reflection of what they’ve learned. These videos can be created using simple tools such as a smartphone, laptop camera, and free video editing software. Sometimes, expert employees can be used as a SME. In this case, the expert employee would partner with an instructional designer to develop relevant training videos for their teams.
Are training videos effective?
Training videos are effective for information recall, concept visualization, and point-of-need learning. To maximize learning, training videos should be complemented with additional resources such as activities, guides, and assessments.
Can you use YouTube videos for training?
YouTube is an incredible learning resource with millions of free training videos available. However, the quality will vary greatly. Remember that anyone can upload to YouTube without being an expert. Using YouTube for training all depends on your subject matter and the skills/knowledge you’d like your teams to learn.
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