How to Make Great Training Videos: a Step-by-Step Guide

Adelina Karpenkova
November 30, 2022
min read
February 22, 2024
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Learn how to make great training videos with our step-by-step guide. Improve training programs and drive employee retention with engaging training videos.
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Fifty-five percent of employees say they need additional training to perform better in their roles. Isn’t it enough of a sign to strengthen your employee training program?

If you haven’t done it yet, it’s time to make training videos for your employees. On-demand video training offers them a new way of gaining new skills and knowledge at their own pace.

Luckily, you don’t need to turn to a production company to make quality, engaging videos. You can use tools and proven best practices to create professional training videos without much video-making experience. Ready to discover them? Read on.

TL;DR: Training videos

  • Training videos are an effective way to improve employee performance and skills.
  • There are different types of training videos, including instructor-led, live-action, screencast, and animated videos.
  • Good training videos should have clear learning objectives, visuals, quality sound and picture, subtitles, and be concise.
  • To make great training videos, set goals, choose a video type, get the right equipment, involve subject matter experts, build a plan, review raw footage, fill videos with annotations, and offer additional resources.

What is a training video?

A training video is any form of video-based content that educates viewers on a particular topic.

In the context of employee development, training videos aim at helping employees advance their skills or gain new ones to perform their tasks successfully.

What are the different types of training videos?

Choosing the right video type is just as important as producing quality content for your training program. 

You can group training videos by format or by content.

Training video types grouped by format include:

  1. Instructor-led videos.
  2. Live-action videos.
  3. Screencast videos.
  4. Animated videos.

1. Instructor-led videos 

Instructor-led videos, or talking-head videos, are presenter-style training videos where an instructor provides information directly to the camera. 

A seemingly basic format, it’s probably the most difficult one in production. To create a quality video, you need to find a person who doesn’t have camera shyness and has at least some very basic acting skills. To increase engagement and memorability, instructors should also include presentations, text-based content, graphics and screencasts in their videos.

2. Live-action videos

Live-action videos (a.k.a. simulation videos) are a form of content that presents real-life situations and narratives to learners.

You can use live-action videos to guide employees through repetitive real-life scenarios and showcase how they should be handled. This type of video is good for experiential learning, especially for frontline workers

3. Screencast videos

Screencast videos, or screen recordings, are a popular format for guiding people through product interfaces and digital workflows. You can use screencast videos to familiarize your employees with business software and foster digital adoption at your organization. 

Async video messaging platforms like Loom let you record both your screen and camera to combine a screencast and a talking head video for higher engagement.

4. Animated videos

Animated videos are a simple yet popular format for eLearning. They take different forms: from basic motion graphics and whiteboard animations to 3D moving scenarios with immersive narratives.

This type of content is good for illustrating complex concepts with very short, colorful videos.

Videos categorized by training content include:

1. Onboarding videos. These employee training videos are produced to welcome new hires and introduce them to your organization's key policies and processes.

2. “How-to” or tutorial videos. These instructional self-paced training videos explain unified procedures, or standard operating procedures, for performing particular actions (e.g., creating a monthly performance report in Google Sheets).

3. Video presentations. These videos cover broader concepts than “how-to” videos. These are typically webinar recordings or live-session training recaps.

Training videos can be department or role-specific (e.g., sales training) and organization-wide (e.g., organizational culture training). 

What makes a great training video?

  1. Clear learning objectives
  2. Visuals
  3. Quality sound & picture
  4. Subtitles & captions
  5. No fluff

What a good employee training video is like? To achieve the goals of your training program, your videos must include:

1. Clear learning objectives

You should make it clear what you want to achieve with a video (or a series of videos). Explain the learning objectives at the beginning of each video to motivate learners and spark curiosity.

Clear learning objectives help to set the right expectations for your audience and prevent them from spending their time (most likely, working time) consuming irrelevant content.

2. Visuals

Right, a training video is a form of visual content. But to make your instructor-led tutorials more memorable and relatable, you need to include other visual elements, such as graphs, examples and tables, in your videos.

This rule may not apply to screencast videos.

3. Quality sound & picture

No matter how good the content is, poor sound and video quality may ruin the whole idea of your training video. 

While you don’t have to hire a professional producer, you’ll need to purchase or rent basic video-making equipment to make professional-looking videos. 

4. Subtitles & captions

Regardless of the video format, a good training video always includes captions or subtitles. 

In global organizations, training programs are often recorded in English. Captioning removes language barriers and creates an aid for people who fail to understand the speaker’s accent.

Also, captions keep viewers’ attention on videos for longer and improve information retention.

To provide a frictionless experience, you can let your audience enable and disable subtitles as they wish with optional captions. And fear not, it’s very unlikely that you have to add captions manually — your learning management system (LMS) or training video software must be capable of generating those automatically.

5. No fluff

The research shows that respondents prefer videos between five and 19 minutes long. Only 24 percent of viewers can stay focused after watching a video for over 20 minutes.

The more you can tell in fewer words, the better. Avoid showing off your creativity in your training videos, but stay concise and straightforward instead.

How to make great training videos: a step-by-step guide

You don’t have to be a professional producer to make a good training video. Just stick to the process:

Step 1. Set goal(s) or learning objectives 

You must already have an idea of what kind of training videos you want to create for your employees. What purpose(s) do they serve? Build KPIs for training so that you can monitor whether or not you're on track.

In this stage, you can already outline learning objectives for your future videos. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for you to plan your videos and create content.

Step 2. Decide on a video type

You don’t have to stick to only one format, but it’s good to master one video type at a time. 

To pick a format, think of the learning objectives you’ve just defined. 

Do you want to introduce employees to new project management software? Screencasts will work best. 

Do you want to create a policy compliance training program? Go for instructor-led or animated videos.

You got the idea.

Step 3. Get equipment

We’ve been there. Don’t waste your time making videos without a good camera and microphone. 

While you can create professional-looking videos with a smartphone, you need to invest in a lapel microphone to ensure high audio quality.

Lighting is another thing to consider. With a variety of affordable options available, there’s no excuse to not use at least a basic lighting system.

Step 4. Choose video editing software

Choose a mobile video editing app or video editing software software for a computer before you prepare a storyboard and record your first videos. This way, you’ll be able to consider your platform’s capabilities and limitations when creating your video script and design. 

There are plenty of user-friendly video editing platforms you can choose from. Among the most affordable ones are Clipchamp, iMovie, Filmora and Animaker. To pick the one that’s best for you, make a list of features you want to see in your video editing software and compare the tools against your criteria.

Step 5. Involve SMEs

Subject matter experts (SMEs) are people who have advanced knowledge of a particular topic. Involve SMEs in the process of planning and making training videos to bring highly specialized knowledge to your program.

Try to incorporate both internal (from your company) and external (from another company) SMEs in the process. It’s always interesting to see what experts from different environments may bring to the table.

Step 6. Build a plan

When you have SMEs and other stakeholders on board, it’s time to work on a storyboard and script. 

A script is an exact text you will read in the video. You may ask SMEs to write or proofread scripts to ensure you achieve your learning objectives.

A storyboard represents a sketch of your future video. It outlines the key screen changes and any types of movements a user will see (e.g. zoom-ins and zoom-outs). You can draw one by hand.

Also, this is the point where you prepare slides, graphics and other content items that you will include in your video. 

Step 7. Review raw footage early

As you start recording, watch the first versions of your videos before proceeding further to see whether the resulting content looks and sounds good. You’ll save yourself a lot of hours of editing by doing so.

Step 8. Add annotations

When raw footage is ready, edit videos and fill them with the visuals you’ve prepared in advance. Here are some best practices for making your videos visually engaging and memorable:

  • Display terms and definitions as text blocks on the screen.
  • Use bullet points to feature learning objectives and key ideas in the videos.
  • Don’t forget about captions and subtitles.
  • Include visuals to illustrate the points made by instructors.

Step 9. Offer additional resources

There are at least four types of learners in your company: 

  • Visual learners. People who learn through visual representations.
  • Auditory learners. People who learn best when hearing information.
  • Kinesthetic learners. People who prefer experiential learning.
  • Reading learners. People who learn through written words.

… And ideally, you should be able to present your content in the preferred format for every learner type. A good employee training program combines video and audio learning, text-based instructions and experiential learning to fit different learning styles.

One example of mixing different content formats is complementing your screencast videos with written instructions.

Say you’ve developed a screencast to guide your employees through the key workflows in your business software. While video gives you an opportunity to explain the peculiarities of each workflow in detail, it’s not the best format for daily use. By including a link to a written training manual right below the video, you’ll let employees get back to the instructions when they don’t have time to watch the video.

With Scribe, you won’t have to spend twice as much time recording videos and documenting the process afterwards. Turn on the app while you make a video, and Scribe will capture the entire process for you.

Link to the resulting guide, complete with screenshots and instructions, below your screencast or instructor-led video, and you’re all set!

Why choose video for your training program?

There are plenty of ways to present educational content. Why choose videos?

Effective training videos outperform other content formats because they:

1. Improve information retention

Video content has proven to be more effective than other types of training materials. 

And while contrary to popular belief, reading has not proven to be less memorable than watching videos, learners can consume more information and digest it way faster through video learning.

Compared to in-person training, videos often boost learning and retention as viewers can always get back to the points they didn’t understand or missed because they lost focus. 

2. Enable on-demand training

One of the biggest benefits of training videos is the opportunity to get new knowledge at a comfortable pace. It’s a great way to encourage your employees to upskill without pressure.

Furthermore, when enrolling in an on-demand video learning course, employees express their interest in career development, making it easier for HR managers to understand team members' interests and aspirations.

For managers, on-demand training videos eliminate the trouble of coordinating diverse employee schedules to get everyone together for in-person training.

3. Lower onboarding costs

Think of an onboarding process at a company that has no formal onboarding program filled with videos and other resources. People managers spend precious hours guiding new employees through internal processes, explaining the key concepts and introducing them to their roles and responsibilities.

Training videos take the burden off your management and create a unified training path for new hires, saving your company a lot of money and resources.

3. Increase employee retention

Seventy-six percent of employees say they are more likely to stay with a company that offers opportunities for continuous development. By offering a comprehensive internal academy filled with on-demand training videos, you’ll attract and retain a lot of top-notch talents and foster a workforce of motivated and productive employees.  

4. Support digital transformation

One of the reasons a lot of companies are failing digital transformation is the lack of employee training and on-demand materials. Making training videos is a way to solve this problem.

Use training videos to introduce employees to business software and watch the state of technology adoption in your organization improve.  

What’s a non-video training delivery option?

It’s not easy to negotiate a budget for your video training program. Even after you manage to do it, you’ll need to work for months before a training program is ready. 

If you need to provide your team(s) with educational content as soon as possible, produce written guides first.

Scribe is a great alternative to training videos

‎Use Scribe to auto-generate process documentation and store and manage your guides in-platform, or by building Scribe Pages.

Simply turn on Scribe to capture your process. Your step-by-step guide is automatically generated in seconds, with screenshots, instructions and clicks.

With Scribe Pages, you can combine your step-by-step guides with:

  • Workflow descriptions.
  • Hyperlinks.
  • Dozens of video platforms such as YouTube, Loom, Vimeo, Jumpshare, Vidyard, Canva, Gong, TikTok and more. 

...And even more. It’s a perfect place for your training program, regardless of its format.

And you can easily share your guides in whatever format you need: via email, send the URL directly, embed in your wiki or LMS, or export to PDF.

Think of it as the perfect process documentation tool to take the guesswork away by creating comprehensive step-by-step visual guides.

How do you introduce a training video?

Introducing a training video is an important step to engage and prepare the audience for the content that will be presented. There are several effective ways to introduce a training video:

  • Brief overview: Provide a concise summary of the video content.
  • State objectives: Clearly state the learning objectives of the video.
  • Grab attention with a hook: Use an attention-grabbing opening to capture the audience's interest.
  • Establish relevance: Explain why the topic of the video is important and relevant to the audience.
  • Provide context: Give a brief background or context for the training topic.

Your employees are ready to upskill

All reports show that today’s employees value development opportunities more than ever.

By making training videos and other forms of educational content, you’ll increase employee retention and improve your internal processes and workflows. Isn’t it a win-win?

Sign up for Scribe and start creating training content today!

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