How to Make an Educational Video

WRITTEN BY
Kevin Alster
PUBLISHED ON
October 31, 2023
Table of contents

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In a world where education is more accessible than ever, who wants to make educational videos that are just another boring brick in the mental wall?

If anything, you want your videos to BOOM! through that wall and stick in your learners’ minds forever.

But the more you think about creating valuable educational videos that stand out, the more intimidating it feels. And because you’re investing all sorts of resources into making educational content, the last thing you want is to end up putting your audience to sleep…

The good news is that this post will help you create video content that turns your audience into focused learners who listen, remember, and utilize what you teach. 

So, get ready to dive into a mega post packed full of resources that will make educational videos fun for you to create AND exciting for your audience to watch.

🔎 Fair warning, this is a detailed post. Use the navigation to your left to jump to the most relevant sections to you. Or read from the top down to get the full explanation of:

  • Types of educational videos you can create, with what video-making techniques
  • What educational video software works best for your needs
  • A 7-step educational video creation process for you to follow
  • 4 brain-friendly production hacks for creating videos that will make an impact

TL;DR 🥱
  1. Get clear on your audience, goals, and outcome-measuring
  2. Draft a script for your educational video template
  3. Prepare your materials and create or source visuals
  4. Record the narration for your educational video
  5. Edit, polish, and enrich your video with accessibility elements
  6. Generate your video and share it with your audience

What are educational videos?

Educational videos educate people on any topic under the sun, using information transfer and retention techniques.

People turn to video education when they need:

  • Clarification or explanations: For example, how-to videos teach you how to do a specific task. On the other hand, explainer step-by-step videos or instructional videos are more likely to detail how a procedure or concept works (e.g. how Blockchain works). 
  • Demonstration: For example, video tutorials teach viewers how to perform specific actions, often via screen recordings or live demos.
  • Educational context-setting stories: Documentary or scenario-based videos teach you about a topic through real-life stories from the past.
  • External expertise: Lecture videos are live events where subject matter experts engagingly share their knowledge.

Educational videos of all types are incredibly popular. Check out this graph with the 10 most popular videos watched online. 👇

While education takes the 7th spot, educational videos can also be found in tutorial videos, product review videos, and even video live streams.

Most popular types of videos on the internet in 2023
Source

Did you know? 🤔

The internet is a gushing firehose of educational content — the e-learning market has nearly doubled in the past decade!

5 best techniques for engaging educational videos

You can make an educational video clip using a wide range of video-making techniques:

1. Presenter-led video narration, with an on-screen instructor that guides the audience on the topic they teach.

(Template/Example) 5 Conference Call Tips

2. Live demonstration, with an instructor doing a live demonstration of the subject they teach while filmed from different angles.

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3. 2D vector animation, with animated cartoony characters acting in a simplistic story that teaches or educates the viewer.

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4. Whiteboard animation, with 2D drawings that simulate an artist drawing the scenes you discuss in the video.

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Great software for educational videos

How you make your educational video clip depends on:

  1. What you want to teach.
  2. Where you’ll share your content.
  3. What tools you can use.
  4. How much time you’ve got.

Below we’ve paired a few scenarios with educational software options for you to consider. Just scroll to the one that matches your current situation to find the ideal software. 🧐

  • Scenario #1: You want to start filming fast and preferably today. 
  • Scenario #2: You want to leverage existing content.
  • Scenario #3: You want to create interactive content.
  • Scenario #4: You want to create animated videos.
  • Scenario #5: You want to go all in and create sophisticated videos that “wow.”

Scenario #1: You want to start filming fast and preferably today

Best when…You have minimal or no video creation knowledge and very little time to learn. You want to make outstanding video content from the material and resources you have easily at hand.

👉 In this scenario, it’s easiest to create presenter-led educational videos. Record yourself or combine pictures with video clips and animate them within video creation and editing software.

Option #1. Use screencast software

Software like Loom, Snagit, or ScreenRec lets you share your screen and teach your audience by narrating what you perform on the screen. Such software often comes with free versions and can even record your webcam so you show your face in the video. This is a basic solution, and if you’re making professional-grade videos, we recommend checking out option #2 instead. 

Option #2. Use a basic video maker

Video makers have readymade video templates that can seriously fast-track your process. You select a template, fill in the placeholders with visuals — stock images, your images, video clips, or screen recordings — and you have a video. 

Your best software choice here is an AI-powered video maker like Synthesia. On top of templates and stock media, you get AI video presenters that look like real humans, talking in various languages. Here’s how it works:

Discover Synthesia in 4 minutes | Product Tour

Scenario #2: You want to leverage existing content

Best when…You’re deeply involved in education as a teacher, trainer, or subject matter expert. 

You regularly perform lectures, live presentations, or webinars and look for ways to make it more engaging. Or you want to turn existing lengthy videos into evergreen, short, easy-to-access educational videos.

👉 In this scenario, it’s easiest to create video lectures. Explore dedicated or more general software with options to make recorded lectures more interactive.

Option #1. Use advanced software for live streaming and screencasting

OBS Studio is excellent for live streaming on Twitch, YouTube, or Facebook Live, capturing and broadcasting from webcams, microphones, desktop screens, and media files. It can also record tutorials, webinars, and content that require screen capture.

Option #2: Use tried and tested video-makers 

Software like Synthesia or Movavi helps you edit and jazz up your recorded lectures. You’ll have plenty of video creation tools to help you make long lectures more engaging in a digital format. Check out this extensive guide with pros and cons for the 10 best video lecture software options.  

Option #3. Use advanced effects software

Adobe After Effects creates stunning visual effects and motion graphics that make any video stand out. Professional video editors love the ability to manipulate visual elements and refine a video with features such as masking, keying, tracking, and advanced compositing techniques.

Scenario #3: You want to create interactive experiences

Best when… You’re committed to making learning an active experience. You want to create learning scenarios with your audience involved and capable of changing how the content evolves.

👉 In this scenario, it’s best to focus on creating interactions: Explore dedicated educational platforms or video makers with interactive features.

Option #1. Use interactive educational video creation platforms

Platforms like Echo360 and YuJa are more advanced, offer complex tools, and particularly cater to the needs of educational institutions. While they include tools to make videos, the focus is more on video management features such as adding interactive elements, allowing student comments, and managing access to a larger audience. 

Option #2. Use animation software with interactive features

Software like PlayPosit makes the creation of interactive videos more accessible. It facilitates a series of “interactions” and activities for learners that you can place on different online platforms. And it even lets you create interactive lessons from YouTube videos or other online videos containing relevant content for your audience.

These interactions are quizzes, open-ended questions, and even branching scenarios that ask your audience to pick from multiple options and take them to different learning content based on their choice.

Scenario #4: You want to create animated videos

Best when… You’re willing to study some more advanced video creation software to achieve a specific visual look.

👉 In this scenario, it’s easiest to create whiteboard presentations or animated lessons enriched with interactions. Use software for digital whiteboard presentations or interactivity elements like quizzes and branching scenarios.

Option #1: Use whiteboard animation software

Software like Explain Everything is versatile and offers many visual effects. It acts like an in-cloud whiteboard, you can access it from a PC or directly from your mobile, and you can quickly craft engaging lessons to share with your learners.

Option #2: Use beginner-friendly animation software

Software like Powtoon offers a user-friendly interface and a wide range of customizable templates and characters that you can easily animate. It makes creating animated educational videos simpler, less intimidating, and more enjoyable.

Scenario #5: You want to go all in and create sophisticated videos that “wow”

Best when…You’ve been staring in awe at the coolest animated educational videos out there for a while. You’re ready for a steep learning curve and willing to be a serious student.

👉 In this scenario, it’s easiest to focus on making more complex videos using the most advanced techniques. Consider learning to use high-level software for jaw-dropping animations and other video creation techniques.

Option #1. Use advanced software for interactive e-learning and software simulations

Adobe Captivate provides interactivity, assessments, and adaptive learning capabilities. It supports screen recording for making engaging interactive videos and software simulations or demonstrations.

The 7-step process of how to make an educational video

An all-in-one video maker like Synthesia with built-in media and video templates library is the simplest solution from all these options.

Here’s a 7-step outline of how to use such software to make an educational video.

Step #1: Get clear on your audience, goals, and outcome-measuring

Clarify your audience:

  • Whom you’re teaching.
  • What they already know.
  • Why they’re watching videos.
  • What they need to learn new from you.

Decide on your goals:

  • What do you want to teach? Do you present notions or concepts, do you teach a hard or a soft skill, do you demonstrate some action?
  • What video structure do you want to use? 
  • • One key topic with 3 supporting elements like data, stories, or examples?
  • • Or 3 key topics, each one with its own supporting element?
  • What type of video will you create? How-to, explainer, tutorial, instructional, documentary, or video lecture?
  • What video creation technique will you use? Presenter-led, live demo, 2D vector animation, whiteboard animation, motion graphics, or slideshow presentation?

Establish how you’ll measure success:

  • What makes a good educational video, in your opinion?
  • What feedback mechanisms can you insert in the video to ease information transfer and retention?
  • What will you ask your audience to do at the end of the video?

Step #2: Draft a script for your educational video template

Your script outlines what your video will show, in each scene, in terms of visuals and narration. 

When someone reads your script, they should be able to picture the future video in their head based exclusively on what the script details.

Use this step-by-step guide to write your video script draft. You’ll get expert tips and a template you can customize right away.

Step #3: Prepare your materials and create or source visuals

Go through each visual outlined in the script to determine if you’ll take it from a stock media library or if you’ll film it yourself:

  • Browse online libraries like Shutterstock or Pixabay, find your visuals, download them, and save them in folders for easy access if you decide to illustrate your video using only stock footage.
  • Do the screen recording with your chosen recorder if your video requires a demonstration on your computer screen.
  • Create footage by filming in a studio or in a different location if your video requires creating visuals from scratch.

Step #4: Record the narration for your educational video

There are three key ways to get narration for your video: 

  1. Hire a professional voice actor. 
  2. Record your own voice-over (might require extra recording equipment) 
  3. Use built-in text-to-speech technology to generate a professional-sounding acting voice (a standard feature of video makers like Synthesia).

Each option has pros and cons, but ultimately, it’s down to the resources you have at hand. If you're low on resources like time and budget, the last option - text-to-speech - is the best option. Here's why:

3 Minute Video Voiceovers (AI Powered!)

Step #5: Edit, polish, and enrich your video with accessibility elements

Use the video editor to make every element look flawless and fall at the right place in your video:

  • Trim and arrange images and video clips.
  • Add visual effects or motion graphics from the software’s library.
  • Remove background noises or adjust audio levels.
  • Add background music or audio effects if you want.
  • Add text captions and overlays.
  • Check color contrasts and font size to make it more accessible.
  • Add branding elements like a logo or tagline.

Step #6: Generate your video and share it with your audience

And you’re done! Your video is ready to share with stakeholders for feedback or directly with your audience.  

Remember, most video editing software also provides a link you can embed on a website or share online. This can be particularly useful because it automatically collects analytics on your video, such as views and watch time. 

To maximize your potential reach and ROI, consider sharing videos on three or more of the following channels:

  • Popular video-sharing platforms like YouTube and Vimeo
  • Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram
  • Educational websites, your company or school’s websites, or even blogs relevant to your topic
  • Professional networks like LinkedIn
  • Dedicated online learning platforms like Teachable 
  • Online or offline communities where your target audience is likely to be active

4 production hacks that’ll help you make more effective and engaging videos

Our brains evolved to stay vigilant in a constantly changing world. That’s why:

  • We have a natural curiosity.
  • We impulsively seek novelty.
  • We have the urge to explore.
  • We’re rewarded for our curiosity with dopamine

Feel-good chemicals flood our brains every time we learn something new or successfully complete a learning task.

Yet our brains are also always looking for shortcuts and ways to do everything with less effort. Some call it laziness, but it’s an evolutionary tactic to preserve energy. 

Lazy is efficient.

Plan your educational video with these brain-friendly production hacks in mind:

1. Make your videos snackable

The brain processes information and retains it better if it’s chunked into manageable, logically-organized segments. Consider the ideal video length as soon as you start planning your video script.

Break down complex information into smaller, bite-sized videos of up to 3 minutes. Your audience will feel less overwhelmed, more capable of staying focused, and more confident they can watch it all and learn from it.

2. Infuse emotions and tell relatable stories

Emotions enhance memory formation and information recall.

When planning your educational videos, think about using relatable scenarios and characters. Try to tell stories or give examples the viewer can easily understand, connect with, and stir positive emotions in their brains.

3. Tune your videos to the brain’s “dual coding” functioning

Dual coding is when the brain records audio and video stimuli through two different channels; it combines the information in both channels when interpreting and learning from it.

Combine visuals and narration smartly, especially to reinforce the key points in your educational video. Instead of visually representing the entire narration and tiring your audience, only pick the most important information and pair it with supporting visuals.

4. Use spaced repetition to reinforce learning

Repetition over time helps reinforce long-term memory.

Research shows that those who learn through spaced repetition, studying at specific intervals over time, will outperform 67% of those who learn by mass repetition, repeatedly reviewing information within a very short time.

Keep your educational video content focused on one big idea with small but effective supporting facts. Repeat and reinforce key concepts throughout the video, strategically spacing them out. And always do a recap before you make your call to action.

It’s here! Your cheat sheet for making videos in less than 30 minutes using AI

Educational video production can be straightforward — especially with AI-powered tools in your back pocket.

See how to make your first video in the next five minutes with Synthesia’s free AI video maker.

Case study 📚

Bolton College decided to try AI video production. That try led to creating over 400 videos for their online libraries with 80% time savings in video production processes.

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