Episode 5

How to Create Explainer Videos for Your Course

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About this episode:

In this episode of Course Creation Station, we dive into the world of explainer videos, unpacking their purpose, their structure, and how they can be great for your courses. We'll discuss tips for creating effective explainer videos including the types of visuals and music to use to make them engaging for your students. We'll also share some new tools for your course creation toolbox.


After listening to this episode, you will know:

  • What an explainer video is and why they are so popular
  • The three important elements you need to create an amazing explainer video
  • Tools you can use to create explainer videos for your course

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:


Please note: This transcript may be automatically generated and may contain errors. I appreciate your understanding.


Hey course creators, it's time to amplify your genius. Welcome to Course Creation Station, where we talk about creatively sharing your expertise and designing the most awesome learning experiences. I'm Gwen Tanner, Career Course Creator, and in this episode, we're gonna explain explainer videos. Those short and sweet chock full of targeted information goodness that help us to get our point across in the most effective way. So stay tuned.

To kick things off, let's talk about what an explainer video is. In general, an explainer is a short, concise video that explains a concept, a process, or an idea in a clear and engaging way. These types of videos guide your audience through the key points with visuals and narrations and sometimes a touch of animation. These videos are especially popular in marketing where companies use them to get the attention of their audience, define a problem their audience is facing, and then explain how their product or service can help that problem. An explainer video is considered a very effective marketing tool because it offers an engaging and sometimes entertaining way to get straight to the point.

But can this style of video help us as course creators? Absolutely. These short, sweet and snappy videos are simply perfect for teaching, and this is because they're typically no more than two or three minutes long and combine both visual and audio elements that make them a great way to cater to different learning styles. And because they're so short, it makes it easy for your students to absorb the content without feeling overwhelmed.

For example, in a language learning course, instead of bombarding your students with a wall of grammar rules and a PowerPoint slide, imagine a vibrant explainer video introducing the basics. So visualize animated characters engaging in everyday conversation, kind of making the language come to life, kind of like telling the story of these characters learning and using the grammar rules in a fun, motivating way.

Let's look at an example for a fitness training course. As part of this course, we might discuss the elements of fitness training, such as strength and flexibility and endurance. And instead of showing definitions on the screen or simply describing what each of the elements mean, we can use an explainer video. Perhaps we could have an animated explainer video that shows how these three elements work together. This could be a visual of a model who is strong, but not flexible completing an exercise. Then with the use of onscreen animated highlights, point to the areas of damage to the body caused by her inflexibility as the model continues to work out.

Or we can show a model who is a runner and has plenty of endurance, and through the use of onscreen texts and animated arrows, show how as the runner gets stronger through strength training, they can have more power and force as they run. So these are the types of concepts that explainer videos are perfect for.

Now let's talk about the key ingredients of a successful explainer video. So first up is scripting. Your script is a very important part of the video, guiding the narrative and making sure that everything is clearly explained. Keep it conversational, inject a bit of personality into it, and most importantly, you wanna make it relatable and relevant to your students. Now script writing can be challenging because there's so much to say, so you have to remember to keep it concise for an explainer video. Not too much fluff and really straight to the point. If you feel you need to speak in more detail about the topic, then you might have to think about a different format for your video, maybe a longer instructional video of some sort. Now, even with that said, having a script is optional. You may choose to have all of your texts on screen or your visuals may be able to tell the complete story. It's just a matter of how creative you wanna get. So experiment with whatever works best for your teaching style and the content you're teaching. Now let's talk about the visual element.

Engaging visuals are a must for explainer videos. Whether you use animations, graphics, or real life demonstrations, the goal is to capture your students' attention and then keep them hooked from start to finish. For visuals, you can include imagery like photos, clip art, on-screen text, video B-roll, which are video clips that you can make or buy, animated characters or other simple animations, arrows, hand-drawn squiggles, slides from PowerPoint or Keynote. There's so many options for adding visual elements. The visual elements you include must align with the script if you're using a script, and also they help to give more information. So they should not be gratuitous images. Remember, an image is worth a thousand words, so the images you include should provide additional information or clarify information being spoken in your narrated script.

So if we go back to our fitness training course from earlier, highlights on area of pain during an exercise could be a useful visual element because it's clarifying to the student where pain may be coming from. They don't have to guess. Or if you're describing an exercise that you don't have video of, you might be able to find professionally made stock video showing that exercise. Having moving text on the screen also provides more information. And moving text or other information draw attention to the content you feel needs to be emphasized. Again, it's all up to your creative discretion what types of visual elements you think are best for the content you're teaching.

It's very common to add a third element, music, to your explainer videos. So if you feel that music can make your video more engaging, don't be afraid to include it. Just make sure that the tone of the music matches the goal of your video. For example, you can found epic or cinematic sounding music, which is often found in epic adventure movies. This type of music can bring a certain kind of energy to your video. Alternatively, you might wanna try soft ambient music, which might be useful when encouraging students to be reflective about what's being explained. Or you might try bright or cartoony music if you want students to have fun with the topic. So don't overlook the power of the message that the style of music can bring to your explainer videos. It's all part of the package.

Now, as you go through creating your explainer video, remember that all three components work together to get your message across your script, your visuals, and your music. Make sure that you call out the purpose of the video. For example, you could say something like, "In this video, I will explain this." Or, "In this video, you will learn that." Or, "You can pose a question that you will answer in the video." You wanna make sure your students are clear about the concept, process, or idea that the video will help them to solve and clearly explain the solution. And then, try to keep it all around two to three minutes. Of course, it could be longer if it needs to be, but if your explainer video is getting too long, maybe consider splitting it into multiple videos.

Now, to get better at creating explainer videos, you'll have to watch other people's videos. If you want to get a few ideas for explainer videos, take a look on YouTube, search for explainer video examples, and you will find a variety of explainer videos. Take a look at how they're structured, how the scripts are written, and the style of the visuals, and be sure to pay attention to the music choices.

And to wrap up, I have just a few ideas for apps to create your videos. You could take a look at Canva, where you can make explainer videos for free. You can also look at Adobe Express, which is also free, and one of my favorite apps is Powtoon, but that might cost you around $50 a month, so something like that would be best if you're making quite a few videos per month. And one more option is Vyond, which is also around $50 a month, but this one allows you to create animated cartoon-like explainers with lip syncing. It's really amazing.

And just a couple of recommendations for the iPad. There's a new app called Procreate Dreams, which is about $20, and another called TuneSquid, which is $10, and both of those will help you to make explainer videos.

Of course, you can always simply use PowerPoint or Keynote if you have a Mac or Google Slides to make your explainer videos, easy peasy. These are only a few recommendations.

There are so many options for creating your explainer videos. You can even outsource them to someone on Fiverr. I just suggest that you create your own script and give very, very detailed instructions for what you want if you go that route, but it's there as an option. And I'll have links to everything I mentioned in the show notes.

I want to thank you so much for joining me today for this episode of Course Creation Station. Be sure to visit coursecreationsstation.com to view today's show notes and subscribe.

About the Podcast

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Course Creation Station
Course creators, level up and amplify your genius!

About your host

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Gwen Tanner

I'm a career course creator and I am passionate about designing amazing learning experiences! I love working with other course creators, coaches and experts to build their awesome student-focused courses and workshops.