eLearning & Training Video Script Writing: Instructional Design Best Practices

How does your company conduct orientation, train
employees, and prepare staff for new projects?

If your employees must undergo company-led annual training, what method(s) do you use? With today’s technologies, video-based learning is both an effective and economical way to educate and inform personnel.

Whether it’s with interactive training to teach a new concept, an animated screencast to explain how to use internal software, or a how-to video to teach the company’s mission and history, elearning continues to grow in popularity. Find out why video-based learning is so vital, and learn instructional design best practices when crafting your elearning videos or courses.

What is Video-Based Learning?

Video-based learning uses different formats of video (such as animation or live-action video) to share knowledge or teach skills. Most of us use video-based learning often (consider, for example, the effectiveness of YouTube tutorials!). In recent years, corporations have caught on to the ease of training video script writing and the effectiveness of video-based learning and have adopted it for orientations, training, and more.

Why Video-Based Learning?

Considering how difficult (and costly!) it can be to schedule in-person training seminars, it is no wonder that e-learning is now the number one area of spending for learning and development (“The Rise of E-learning,” Chief Learning Officer, 2020).

Why is it so popular? Video-based learning is an effective and economical way for corporations to relay their messages to their audience. In addition, eLearning allows corporations to control their message and branding in a way that they cannot with instructor-led orientations or training.

Are Training Videos Effective?

Online training videos are not only easy to distribute, but they provide higher retention levels than the traditional classroom: learners recall merely 10% of textual content, yet recall 65% of visual content and 95% of audio-visual content (Crockett, 2010). According to a Forrester Research report, video-based learning is also the preferred method of instruction: employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than to read a document, email, or article (2019).

Styles of Video-Based Learning

There are many styles and forms of video-based learning. Visual styles can include voice-overs with stock footage, animated videos, screencast videos, and whiteboard videos. (For full descriptions of these styles of elearning, check out our article The 5 eLearning Video Animation Styles.

Video-based learning can take on many different forms, including the following:

How-to videos : How-to videos do what the name suggests: they explain how to do something, like a process. Examples include software tutorials, step-by-step process instructions, and high-level process overviews.

Thought leadership/Advanced concepts videos: A thought leadership video (also called an advanced concepts video) typically explains a more complex process or thought. The purpose of writing these training video scripts is often to sell an idea or persuade the audience about a topic.

Subject matter expert (SME) videos: SMEs utilize a person considered to be knowledgeable on a certain topic. They can be live-action or animated: live-action videos typically interview the expert, while animated videos use the subject matter expert as the narrator. Check out our article eLearning SMEs and Animated Characters for more information about using SMEs with animation, and consult our article Create a Better Course by Interviewing a Subject Matter Expert for video and interview tips.

Scenario-based videos: Scenario-based videos contain situation-based characters and an overview of a situation. They serve many purposes: in general, the training video script writing for these types of videos is to present a theme or a concept so that the learner better understands a scenario or differing point of view.

Storytelling: Storytelling videos do just what their name says: they tell a story! Check out our article Storytelling for Video eLearning for the best ways to use storytelling for elearning.

Instructional Design Best Practices for eLearning & Training Video Script Writing

Get to know your client’s needs

Pre-production work is key: make sure you know what the client wants, what the message is, and who the audience is (or, if you are the client, make sure you provide this information). Be sure to establish good communication between all parties (SMEs, narrators, writers, animators) early on: this will help everyone stick to deadlines and deliver the best training video script writing to produce the best video.

Brainstorm with purpose

Begin with the objective. What is the purpose of this video? What are we trying to achieve, and who is our audience? From there, decide what type of video will best meet these needs. Not sure which style would be best? Check out NinjaTropic’s eLearning Video Portfolio for some inspiration.


Always have a clear and concise outline. When creating an outline, make sure to consider the flow from topic to topic: transitions are key! Use transition sentences, and link to previous ideas for better continuity. Finally, be sure to break information into easy-to-digest pieces: remember that your users are watching this, not reading. Consider this and pace your video accordingly.

Tell a story/solve a problem

Make sure that, above all, your video’s content is informative. Use imagery and metaphors when appropriate to help with retention, and be sure to answer questions and provide information. By doing so, you are providing an incentive for watching the video, and you’re making sure users leave with the information they came to the video to learn.

Consider tone

This is your video: you get to choose the style and the tone that best reflects your company and the video’s purpose! Decide on a tone that will best connect with your audience (conversational, folksy, sophisticated, etc.), and then determine the role of the narrator. Is this person a colleague or peer? An expert? A teacher? Or maybe an omniscient narrator? The style (first person, second person, or third person) and the tone will vary based on this decision. The language will change as well. For example, a subject matter expert might use more formal language, while a colleague or peer might speak more informally and use contractions.

Brand accordingly

Remember that an elearning video is a fantastic opportunity to brand your company. Use your organization’s logos, slogans, and mottos throughout the video to keep your branding consistent. If you need some inspiration or tips, check out our article about Microlearning Video as a Branding Strategy.

Finish with a call to action

What’s next for your viewer after they watch your video? Your video should end by prompting them to take action. This might be asking them to watch a follow-up or related video, to learn more via a blog post, or to contact your company for more information. Be sure your script and video incorporate the appropriate “next steps” for your viewer.

Be sure to fact check

Thoroughness is essential in an elearning video project. Prior to production, make sure the contents are accurate and up to date!

The Bottom Line

When it comes to style and form; consider your options: eLearning provides many! Don’t miss out on the opportunities to brand your organization: incorporating branding is simple with video-based learning. Be consistent and thorough throughout the project, and always keep your user in mind. Make the video you would want to watch if you were in their shoes!

Will you be hiring an animator for your eLearning video? Be sure to read our article 3 Skills Your eLearning Animator Needs for Amazing Videos to ensure you hire the right person. Or perhaps you need some inspiration on training videos overall? Our blog articles will provide you with the information and inspiration needed to do just that! Better yet, contact Ninja Tropic and let us help you craft your ideal video-based learning program.

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