How to create a good instruction video

Rinke Huisman

Nowadays, a video is one of the best ways to retain a viewer’s attention, and this is true for online training as well. For example, there are countless of videos on YouTube, and a large chunk of them are tutorials or instruction videos. Some of them are very well made, while others do not work and look as great as the creators probably intended. Almost everyone who has a camera and a little bit of knowledge on computers has the ability to create a video and post it online. However, this does not mean that the videos are of good quality, but to get there, you need to follow a few steps that we are focusing on in this blog.

Determine the goal of your instruction video

The first step is determining the goal of your video, what do you want your users to learn? And what do you want to tell them to achieve this goal? Your message should be clear and concise so your user has enough reason to watch the video. 

Structure of the video

It’s highly likely that you want to explain something to your users in your instruction video, you give them instructions on how to solve a problem or create something new. 

The structure of your video can almost always be based on the same formula: every video consists of an introduction, a centre section, and a conclusion. You start with a flash forward, which is a list of what the viewer is going to learn or see in the video. The centre section contains the actual instructions, which are presented in a logical order which the user can follow to achieve the goal of the video. In the conclusion you will give a short summary of the information and the steps that were discussed. Is there a follow-up video? Make sure to refer to that at the end of the video.

Guidelines for creating the instruction video

A demonstration paired with a spoken explanation is the right combination for most instruction videos. While most webcams and smartphones have a good microphone these days, it is advised to use an external microphone because the quality will be significantly higher. They filter out noise and background sounds, so your users can listen to immaculate sound and have no problems following the instructions. 

It is necessary to give a lot of attention to the pace of your video. The pace of your video should not be too high, which makes it difficult to follow, but also not too slow, because this means your user will get easily distracted. It is advised to base the pace of the video on the rate of speaking in a regular conversation, which can be practiced with ease. You can give your user control over the video by giving them a toolbar with pause, forward, and rewind buttons. It is possible to give them even more freedom by including options for slowing down the voice-over, 0.75 speed, or speeding up the voice-over, 1.25 speed. 

Optimal effect of the training

The video should not be too long, think of a maximum of 15 minutes, as to not overwhelm the user with information and to retain their attention. Do you need more time? Create a second video. 

To achieve an optimal effect of the training, it is important for your users to learn how to apply their knowledge. Simply watching a video will not give the viewer enough skills to tackle a task in real life, practice is needed to make the instructions your own. Make sure that this is part of your training. 

By keeping all of these steps in mind while making your instruction videos you will motivate your users and keep them involved with the material. Besides that, they will be able to learn and retain their new skills as efficiently as possible.