I'm sure you're familiar with those training videos that seem to go on forever.
The ones where the instructor drones on and on about how to do something simple? 🥱
Those videos can be a real pain to sit through - but they don't have to be!
In this post we'll be breaking down everything you need to know about writing a corporate training video script:
- the 2 things you need to do before you start writing
- a 6-step framework for writing and structuring the script
- 5 research-based tips for turning a good script into a great script
Do these 2 things before you write a script
Don't pick up your pen and paper or laptop just yet, because every script writing process has to begin with pre-planning.
These two tips are essential to making the actual writing process as smooth as possible.
1. Define the goals and learning objectives of your training video
Training videos are designed to help people learn new skills or improve existing ones. When creating a training video, it's important to define the goals and learning objectives you hope to achieve.
This will help you determine the content and style of the video, as well as the target audience you're hoping to reach.
For example, if your goal is to teach people how to use a new software program, then you'll want to create a video that is clear and concise, with step-by-step instructions.
On the other hand, if your goal is to improve customer service skills, then you might want to create a video that is more lighthearted and fun, while still providing useful information.
No matter what your goals are, it's important to start with a clear plan so that you can create a video that is both informative and enjoyable.
So before you start writing anything, answer the following questions:
- Why do you want to create this video?
- Who is the target audience watching the video?
- What do you want your audience to take away from the video?
2. Choose the right video type
Now that you know what you want your training video to achieve, it's time to choose the right video type.
Do you want a talking head video? A screen recording? A microlearning video? Or a combination of all four?
The options can be overwhelming, so let us break them down:
Talking head videos
Talking head videos are essentially videos where a person (or people) talk into the camera.
In the context of training videos, the talking head would likely be a subject matter expert (SME), who acts as a presenter and narrator for the video.
Based on Clark & Mayer's Personalization principle, humans love to learn from coaches and characters, so the talking head in the video acts like a coach of sorts, guiding the learner through the process in a friendly manner.
If that's the type of video you would like to create, we have a dedicated blog post on creating talking head videos you can check out.
Or, you can watch this short instructional video instead:
If you're interested in a detailed breakdown of creating instructional videos using screen recordings, we recommend reading the 'Eight Guidelines for the Design of Instructional Videos for Software Training' by Hans & Jan van der Meij.
We also have a more practical video tutorial teaching you how to create videos with screen recordings:
Microlearning videos are becoming increasingly popular, as they offer a more concise and effective way of delivering information.
These videos are typically less than 5 minutes in length, and they focus on 1 specific topic or skill.
We have a whole blog post dedicated to microlearning videos if you're interested.
Once you identify the goal and the video type, it's going to be much easier to write the actual script.
Here's our 6-step framework for structuring a training video.
How to write and structure a training videos script: a 6-step framework
Writing an introduction for a training video is fairly straightforward - make the viewer aware of what they're watching and what they'll learn in the video.
A simple sentence like this is a good way to start:
"In this video, you'll learn how to X..."
2. Why it's important
To capture and keep the attention of the viewer, you have to let them know why learning how to do X is important.
If the viewers don't see value in your video, why would they watch it?
Again, keep it straightforward by writing something like:
"Knowing how to do X will allow you to..."
This is where you either demonstrate or explain how to do the task.
If applicable, separate the process into distinct steps - this will make it easier for the learners to comprehend.
4. Finished result
Now, show what the end result is supposed to look like.
This will give the viewers a clear overview of the goal and what they're working towards.
5. Benefit + step recap
Take what you said in steps 2 and 3 and briefly mention them again:
- remind them of the benefits of knowing how to do the task
- do a quick recap of the steps
6. Call to action
A call to action (CTA) is an essential element of any training video.
By clearly stating what you want your viewers to do after watching the video, you can help to ensure that they retain the information and put it into practice.
There are a few things to keep in mind when crafting your CTA:
- make sure that it is concise and to the point
- use language that is actionable, such as "watch this next video" or "download the guide"
- include a CTA at the end of every video, not just the last one.
Research-based tips for writing a training video script
There are a lot of unsupported claims and tips out there about how you should and shouldn't write video scripts.
We went through the effort of finding tips based on research, so you don't have to.
Tip #1: Use conversational tone over formal tone
Remember the Personalization Principle we mentioned earlier?
Well, this principle also suggests that it is better to use a conversational tone in e-learning.
- First, the familiarity of a conversational tone requires less cognitive effort to understand.
- Second, a narration presented in the first or second voice is more appealing to the user and helps process instructions more actively.
- Lastly, according to a research paper by Mayer, Fennell, Farmer, & Campbell, this conversational narration type greatly enhances learning and raises interest as compared to a formal style.
Tip #2: Active voice over passive voice
This simple tip is a natural extension of the first one.
If you're using a conversational tone, use active voice, like:
"In this video, I will show you how to..."
instead of using passive voice, like:
"In this video, you will be shown how to..."
Passive voice is generally only used in academic writing, and since we've established that it's not applicable for a training video, opt for active voice instead.
Tip #3: Keep the video short
Whichever length guideline you choose to follow, keeping the sentences short in your video scripts and avoiding lengthy, fluffy descriptions will positively contribute to information comprehension among learners.
Tip #4: Preview the end result in the beginning
Before getting into the nitty-gritty, a preview of the goal can be beneficial for a number of reasons.
A preview can:
- orient the user and show the bigger picture (source)
- illustrate the meaning of a task (source)
- raise user awareness (source)
- serve as a framework for the learning that lies ahead (source)
So try to include preview sections when writing video scripts.
Tip #5: Explain new concepts by showing their use in context
According to the just-in-time principle developed by Merriënboer, Kirschner, & Kester, providing relevant information right when the user needs it to perform a task reduces the load on their memory.
So make sure to align the introduction of a new concept in the narration part of your script with what's being shown on the screen.
Take your training script to the next level
Well, there you have it! Everything you need to know about writing a training video script.
By following our 6-step framework and incorporating the 5 research-based tips we’ve shared with you, your training video will be on its way to becoming great.
Now that you know how to write video scripts, learn how to turn those scripts into videos in our detailed guide.