Instructional Videos: A Guide to Create Engaging Learning Experiences

Jun 1, 2023 11:48:29 PM

Instructional videos have revolutionized the way we impart and receive knowledge. 

In this era of digital transformation, they serve as a beacon, illuminating complex ideas, and making learning an engaging and interactive process. 

This guide will delve into the essence of instructional videos, exploring their diverse forms, the step-by-step process of creation, common pitfalls to avoid, and handy tips to enhance their effectiveness. 

Whether you're an educator, a business owner, a content creator, or an avid learner, this comprehensive guide aims to provide valuable insights into the world of instructional videos.

What are Instructional Videos?

Instructional videos are a type of content created to instruct or teach viewers about a specific topic, concept, or process. 

They transform complex information into a visually engaging and easily digestible format, thereby enhancing learning, understanding, and retention. 

Types of Instructional Videos

Instructional videos come in a wide array of forms, each designed to cater to distinct learning needs and styles. Let's delve deeper into some of these forms:

1. How-To Videos

How-to videos are practical, step-by-step guides designed to navigate viewers through a specific task or process. They break down complex procedures into manageable parts, helping viewers achieve a certain goal. These videos are particularly prevalent in the DIY culture, providing hands-on instruction on tasks ranging from home repairs to baking a cake.

A great example of a how-to video is this amazing animated product demo video for UpSend made by What A Story that explains how their automation software works and how users can benefit from it.


2. Demonstration Videos

Demonstration videos physically showcase a particular product or skill, guiding the viewer through its operation or execution. They often revolve around showcasing a product's features or demonstrating how to use a specific tool.

An amazing example of a demonstration video is this animated software demo video made by Canva that showcases their animation features that can enable anyone to create amazing animated videos.


3. Explainer Videos

Explainer videos make intricate concepts fun and engaging. They often use visuals, characters, and narratives to explain complex theories or processes, making them more digestible and entertaining for viewers.

So, for example, if you want to educate people about the difference between Brave and Firefox, or two other web browsers, creating an animated explainer video could be an effective approach.

The Internet is filled with amazing explainer videos and out of our many favorites, we picked this animated video made for RMIT University online alumni network called NetworkRMIT by Vidico.


4. Screencasts

Screencasts are digital recordings of a computer screen, often accompanied by voice-over narration. They are widely used to teach the operation of software applications, digital tools, or online platforms. They allow the presenter to share their screen with the viewer in real-time, demonstrating precisely how to perform various tasks.

One of our favorite screencast-style videos is this animated video for ACCELQ made by BreadnBeyond.


A popular use case of screencast-style videos is for mobile app demonstrations.

5. Webinars/Lecture Videos

Webinars or lecture videos are a more formal and extensive type of instructional video. They often involve a speaker presenting a topic to an audience, either live or recorded. These videos are frequently used in academic, corporate, and professional development contexts.

TED Talks, for example, are a popular form of this type of video, where experts present insightful lectures on a wide array of topics. 

Each type of instructional video offers unique advantages and suits different contexts and learning objectives. By understanding the characteristics of each, you can choose the most effective type of video for your specific instructional needs.

Want to see what an animated lecture video looks like?

Check out this animated psychology video made by the YouTube channel PSYCH EXPLAINED which is part of a multi-video lecture series that teaches psychology to pre-med students.



Why Use Animation for Instructional Videos?

Animation has revolutionized the realm of instructional videos, making them more engaging, understandable, and impactful. Here's why:

  1. Simplifies Complex Concepts: Animation has the unique ability to break down complex ideas into simpler, more digestible parts. Through the use of engaging visuals and simplified illustrations, abstract concepts become easier to understand.  If you are discussing complex economic principles, use a supply and demand graph, charts, and other visual aids to make information more digestible.

  2. Increases Engagement: Animation is visually engaging, making the learning experience more enjoyable. The use of colors, movements, and characters can draw in the viewer and maintain their interest.

  3. Enhances Retention: Visual information is processed more effectively by the human brain. By providing visual representations of the information, animated videos enhance memory retention.

  4. Versatility: From character animations to data visualizations, animation offers endless possibilities. It can be tailored to suit any topic or audience, making it a versatile tool for instruction.

The Process of Creating Instructional Videos: A Step-By-Step Guide

Creating an instructional video involves a methodical process, which includes:

1. Define Your Objectives

Before you start creating your video, it's crucial to determine what you want your viewers to learn from it. This learning objective will guide your content creation process.

2. Research Your Audience

You need to understand the needs, preferences, and challenges of your target audience. This ensures that your video content is relevant, engaging, and valuable to them. 

3. Plan and Script Your Video

Before hitting the record button, create a detailed plan or script for your video. This should include the points you want to cover, the visuals you want to include, and any dialogue or narration.

4. Gather Necessary Resources

This could be anything from the equipment to record your video (camera, microphone), software for recording and editing like Camtasia or Premiere Pro, or props and materials for your demonstration.

5. Record Your Video

Make sure you have good lighting, clear sound, and clear visuals. Aim for a dynamic but not distracting environment. Remember that your delivery should be calm, clear, and engaging.

6. Edit Your Video

Once you've recorded your video, you'll likely need to do some editing. This might involve cutting out mistakes, adding special effects, inserting text or captions, and more. Software like Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro can be handy.

7. Share Your Video

Lastly, distribute your video through appropriate channels to reach your target audience. This could be on your company's website, on social media, on YouTube, in an email newsletter, etc.


Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Instructional Videos

When creating instructional videos, some common mistakes can impact the effectiveness of your content:

  1. Overcomplicating the Content: Ensure your explanations are clear and straightforward. Remember that the purpose is to educate, not to confuse. For complex concepts, break them down into smaller, manageable parts.
  2. Ignoring the Audience's Needs: Your video should address the problems and questions of your audience. Ignoring their needs may result in a video that fails to resonate with them.
  3. Poor Quality Production: Poor video and audio quality can distract from your message and diminish viewer engagement. It's worth investing in decent recording equipment.
  4. Lack of Structure: Your video should have a clear, logical structure. This makes it easier for viewers to follow and understand the information you're providing.

Tips for Creating Engaging Instructional Videos

Here are a few pointers to make your instructional videos more effective:

  1. Keep it Short and Engaging: According to a study from the University of Valencia, the optimal length for instructional videos is 6-9 minutes. Any longer and you risk losing your audience's attention. 
  2. Use Visual Aids: Diagrams, graphs, and other visual aids can help clarify your points and make your content more engaging.
  3. Interactive Elements: Consider including interactive elements such as quizzes, questions, or prompts for discussion. This can help reinforce the information and engage your audience.
  4. Rehearse Before Recording: Practicing your script before recording can help ensure smooth delivery and minimize mistakes.
  5. Continually Improve: Seek feedback from your viewers and use it to improve your future videos.


Instructional videos are a powerful educational tool that can make learning more engaging, efficient, and fun. 

With careful planning, understanding of your audience, and attention to detail, you can create instructional videos that deliver immense value to your viewers.

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