How to prepare a script for an educational video
Education videos (also called how-to videos) teach viewers about a concept or process. In addition to providing an engaging way to help potential clients, customers, or employees learn a new concept, how-to videos increase retention rates from 25 to 60% compared to face-to-face training, which has just an 8-10% rate of retention (Research Institute of America).
Animation or graphics are an excellent way to enhance the educational video experience, but the project begins with the most integral component: the educational video script. Read on to learn how to prepare a script for an educational video.
Educational video script tip #1: Know your objectives
Who is your audience, and what will they learn by watching your video? What’s the purpose of the video? Be sure to create a clear list of learning objectives and goals before you begin your project. Once you have identified these goals, use them to create your outline.
When creating your outline, make sure to also write down a list of key terms and acronyms. Be sure your script will clearly define these at the beginning of the video––and don’t be afraid to repeat definitions or spell out acronyms that you use in the video.
Educational video script tip #2: Know your audience and be a student (audience) advocate
Before writing your script, make sure you take into consideration who your audience is. Are these individuals native English speakers? Are they new to this industry or concept? As a general rule of thumb, be incredibly detailed with your definitions and explanations of key concepts and instructional steps, and adopt the concept of “new, not known”: write as if this material is new to you. Take this into consideration with both the pace and tone of your script as well.
Educational video script tip #3: Start strong
Like any good story or movie, your script needs to catch the viewer’s attention from the start. You can do so with a fascinating or shocking fact, a captivating phrase, or a thought-provoking question. This will leave them interested in what you have to say and keep them engaged throughout the eLearning experience.
Educational video script tip #4: Don’t be afraid to repeat key phrases and terms
In the report “A Review of the Current Research on Vocabulary Instruction,” The U.S. Department of Education reports that repetition or drilling of vocabulary words is ineffective: instead, students must be provided multiple opportunities to encounter new words or concepts, and these words or concepts must be repeated and presented in different ways (U.S. Department of Education 2010). To help with retention, incorporate new words or phrases into your script at different times, and as creatively as possible. This will help students understand and remember key phrases.
Educational video script tip #5: Consider keeping the content as “evergreen” as possible
How much of this information may change over time? Can it be rewritten so the video does not have an “expiration date?” Sometimes this is unavoidable; at other times, a simple change in wording and emphasis can extend the validity of your video, thus stretching the time you can get a return on your investment.
Educational video script tip #6: Get a trusted editor
If you prepare a script for an educational video, you should not be the one to edit it for errors. Make sure you have someone (preferably a professional) read over your script to make sure it flows well and is error-free. This person will provide useful feedback and help your script reach its full potential.
Educational video script tip #7: Summarize in your conclusion
Be sure to summarize key points when you wrap up your video script. Then double-check this summary against your original list of goals for the video. Does the summary reflect each of these goals? Is each of these explained in detail throughout the script? If so, congratulations: you have written a script that meets your needs.
Once you’ve written a script that meets your learning objectives for your viewer, you have just one more step to take: finalizing your video with a call to action. What would you like your viewer to do next? Watch another video? Contact you? Take an exam? Be sure to prompt them to do so.
The Bottom Line
Since as long as film has been around, researchers have noted its effectiveness in retention: as early as 1921, scientists coined the term “Dual Coding Theory” to explain how educational video works because it combines the brain’s abilities to record pictorial and word-based memories; this combination of visual and verbal associations greatly increases recall (Paivio, 1921).
When you prepare a script for an educational video, make the most of your video by ensuring your script meets the needs of your audience, adequately covers all content, and ends with a prompt that ensures your viewer takes the appropriate next steps. Above all else, have fun with your script and with teaching your employees through video!
Are you ready to begin creating your educational video and writing your educational video script? If so, contact Ninja Tropic for some advice and inspiration. Or, keep on learning more about this industry and some tips for writing great scripts with our script templates and some of our favorite educational videos.