How to Use Video to Enhance Your Online Course
Prove the value of your course to learners by including video content.
If you want to sell an online course for a good price, the first thing you have to do is convince learners that it’s worth spending money on. Demonstrating the value of your course happens in two ways. First, you can make overt arguments about its worth by pointing to your expertise, the course content, and ways the course will help learners achieve their goals. Second, you can signal the value of the course indirectly through the time and care you take in creating it.
Video content is one such indicator of a high-quality course. But it’s just one of several key reasons behind why you should use video in your e-learning course. Let’s take a closer look.
1. Video raises the production value of your course.
Yes, creating video takes more time than simply writing out a script. But it probably takes less time than you—or your learners—might think. And by creating video content, you signal commitment to your course. Learners see video and think “quality,” and that is a selling point in itself.
2. Videos offer a low barrier-to-entry for new learners.
When it comes to selling your online course, the most difficult task is capturing interest. You can’t sell anyone your course until you have their attention, but once you do, hooking them on its value becomes a whole lot easier.
Fortunately, most Internet users are so accustomed to watching video content that they’ll click “play” without a second thought. This makes video content an excellent tripwire offering to capture learner interest and land a sale.
3. Video content brings scenarios to life.
Scenario-based learning is an incredibly effective learning tool that helps learners identify with course material in a way that helps them apply it to their own lives. While you can certainly write down your scenarios, presenting them in a video format makes them more accessible and appealing to learners.
4. Videos allow instructors to share engaging interviews.
If you have enough expert contacts within your industry, drawing on those contacts for interviews is a great way to increase the appeal of your course. Not only does it help establish your reputation (because all these other professionals were willing to be part of the project), it also amplifies your marketing reach. After all, if someone’s willing to do an interview for your course, they’re also likely to share it with their own networks.
5. Videos are a convenient way to offer demonstrations.
Video demonstrations are as old as video itself. This is probably because video is such an intuitive format for conveying instructions. How-to videos don’t supplant written instructions any more than Julia Child erased the need for recipe books.
But what Child and subsequent generations of TV chefs did realize was that the description of a complex process often doesn’t make much sense until the learner has a chance to see it first-hand. How-to videos offered in conjunction with written explanations are a hard-to-beat educational power team.
6. Videos provide a flexible format for micro content.
Finally, videos are great for short-form lessons. A four or five-minute video segment can easily be watched on a learner’s phone, which helps them engage with learning material throughout the day. They can watch a series of videos while on work breaks, then complete a longer assignment once they get home. Or each video can be followed by a short quiz, to keep the content interactive, and to help learners retain the information they just watched.
A few quick tips to bear in mind while recording:
Standards for production quality on the Internet aren’t high. Anyone can create a video off their phone and upload it to YouTube. But if you’re asking learners to pay money for your course, they’ll want to feel like you put effort into creating something more professional in quality.
You don’t need to bring in a team of videographers for all your course content (although if you have the budget, feel free!). However, you can boost your production quality with a modest investment in some basic equipment and by following some simple production rules.
- Find a quiet filming location. You don’t want traffic or other background noise creating a distraction in the background.
- Lighting goes a long way. Whether you’re filming yourself or conducting an interview with someone else, good lighting will help your videos retain a consistent look, and will keep your videos from looking as though they were filmed on a cell phone—even if they were. Check Amazon for affordable soft boxes. They’re worth the investment.
- Get a microphone. Not only is the microphone on your camera or computer pretty low quality, it also picks up more background noise than a dedicated audio source.
- Add a simple video bumper. One final way to give your videos a professional presentation, improve brand recognition, and create a coherent theme, is to use a short intro/outro bumper. There are plenty of websites that sell stock bumpers that you can customize easily by updating the color template and adding your logo.
Creating video content isn’t as hard as it looks.
If you aren’t using video content yet, it’s time you started. Not only will it add interest, value, and depth to your course, it’s what your learners want. And with the volume of video content growing every year, it’s fast becoming an expectation.
The good news is that videos aren’t as difficult to create as they once were. While you can certainly achieve a lot more with professional help, even working independently you can create polished videos by investing in some decent lighting and a lapel microphone.