How To Create A Superb Explainer Video Script

Are you working to create an explainer video for your brand? Here’s everything you need to know about the explainer video script including why it is so crucial and how to ensure yours is superb. Explainer videos are a brilliant way to engage and communicate with customers and clients as a brand. You just need to make sure that you are telling the right story. There are lots of different parts of an explainer video. For instance, you will need to ensure that you have fantastic visuals, but that’s just one part of the puzzle. It’s also essential that you have a fantastic explainer video script. Without the right script, you can find that your explainer video is boring and simply doesn’t hit the mark that you need. It could end up being confusing too, severely limiting the benefits the video could bring for your brand. So, why is a script so important?

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Why Do You Need A Script?

You might not be aware of this, but explainer videos are used due to scientific evidence. Specifically, they are based on Allan Paivio’s Dual-Coding Theory. Essentially, this theorizes that audio and visual information are dealt with separately in the brain. So, when you add a voice-over to visual information, it will be processed far more rapidly. This also means that it’s going to be easier to process for the individual.

The script will layout the story and that’s key. It’s how you combine the visual and audio components of the video to ensure that both work seamlessly and provide the right impact. How do you ensure that you get this right?

Understanding Different Parts Of The Script

There are four main parts of the script that you need to include and get right. These are the:

  • Opening
  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Call To Action

A lot of scriptwriters will make the mistake of writing a long-winded opening. Instead, you need to make sure that you get straight to the point without throwing your audience in at the deep end.

In the first fifteen seconds, you should be setting up the problem that your audience is facing. To do this, you need to have a clear idea of who your audience is and how they view the product.

So, the opening is the point where you quickly introduce the problem that they are facing. You then need to make sure that you show how the problem can be solved with the right solution. Remember, the brand is always going to be the solution.

In the script, you need to clearly state what you do and ensure that this is easy to understand. Remember, the solution is not the same as what you do. This comes later in the script. Once you have introduced the problem and the solution, you might want to shift the tone and aspect of the video. You can do this by playing different music or even cutting the audio completely.

When you have introduced the solution, you then need to explain why this is the right course of action. You need to push the benefits of the solution and sell the brand the right way. You need to be selective about the key points that you choose to highlight. It’s important that the language you choose suggests excitement and passion for the service or product. They need to feel as though you are compelled to deliver the solution they need.

The final part of the puzzle is the call to action. Remember, this comes at the end of the video, and if the viewer makes it that far they may already be compelled to buy. So, your words here can ensure that the sale goes through or lose the customer completely.

You need to keep things simple. You should hit the problem on the head and deliver a killer punchline that shows why they should buy from you. The best way to do this is to introduce value. This could be in the form of a deal or a key USP for the brand. Include an annotation with an email address or website for them to look at and you will ensure that they have a way forward.

How To Create A Script

Now that you understand the key parts of the script, we need to think about how to create one from scratch. 

First, you need to come up with the story. To do this, it’s useful to brainstorm ideas. You will need to try and get into the mindset of your target customer. Think about how they view the world and specifically your product or service. Try to understand what it means to them and how it could benefit them. You can mind map the story, starting with the product or service at the center. Build out with potential problems connected to the product and end with the solutions. When you find the right problem and solution, you can work to build the outline. This should be very brief. Essentially, you should be able to summarize the video script in a 30-second sentence. That sentence should provide all the information someone needs to understand it. If you can’t do this, the outline is too complicated. When you have the outline, you can set to work writing the script. Review it several times to ensure that it flows and feels natural.

Remember to think about the language that you are using. It needs to be active and it must convey the right level of excitement. At the same time, your script should also suggest both knowledge and authority relating to the problem presented. It also needs to be friendly and the tone should almost be like a conversation. When you are happy with the script, you need to add a storyboard.

This will ensure that all the different pieces – the voiceover, visuals, and music – fit together. You can make any final adjustments at this stage to ensure that your script is going to deliver the right results. Take this advice and you should have no issues creating the ultimate explainer video script for your brand.

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THE EDUPRENEUR'S EXCELERATOR KICKSTARTER: HOW TO CREATE YOUR LEARNING EXPERIENCE BLUEPRINT

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6 easy steps to create an explainer video

Explainer videos are a common educational tool and most of us have probably watched them at some point. An explainer video (or edumercial) is simply an animated video that uses a voiceover to explain a topic, while animations and diagrams help to support the explanation and make it clearer. They are often used by businesses to explain the basics of a product or service, and they are also perfect for use in an educational setting.

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Explainer videos are so effective for learning because they make it a lot easier for people to grasp complicated subjects. People learn in different ways and some people prefer a visual element to help them wrap their head around an idea, while others prefer to have the idea explained to them in clear language. An explainer video does both, so the majority of people find it to be an effective way of learning.

Research has shown that visual elements have been shown to improve the retention of information. Information learned from visual content also tends to stick in the long term memory better, which is very important. Our capacity for storing short term memory is very limited compared with our capacity to store long term memories. When learning something new, it is important that we store it in our long term memory or we will not retain the information. Explainer videos are an effective way to ensure that information is stored in the long term memory, rather than the short term memory.

Using an explainer video also helps to improve engagement because people tend to respond better to visual stimuli. If you are trying to explain a certain topic and you present people with a large wall of text, they are likely to switch off or skim through the text without really taking it in. But when you introduce a visual element, the content immediately becomes more engaging, so focus levels are increased and people pay closer attention, so they learn more and retain more of that information. This increased focus and information retention is a result of the emotional reaction that visual stimulus causes. Visual memory is processed in the same area of the brain as our emotions, so when you use images and videos, they create an emotional reaction and activate the area of the brain that stores that information at the same time.

How To Create Your Own Explainer Video

Now that we have seen the amazing benefits of using an explainer video, you may be wondering how to create your own. The process is relatively simple once you know what you are doing and you have the right tools. Read on to find out about the six steps for creating your own explainer videos.

Write the Script

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The first step in any explainer video is always the script. The script is the foundation that you will use to build the rest of the video, so it’s vital that you get it right. Your explainer video should be to the point, covering all of the basic information in a way that is easy to digest. The biggest mistake that people make is getting too technical with the script and overloading the viewer with too many complex terms that they don’t understand.

Always keep the audience in mind and remember that the script should be written for somebody that has no prior knowledge of the topic. This can be tough if it is a subject that you are an expert in because you assume a base level of knowledge that the audience doesn’t have. In some cases, it may be better to have an outsider write the script because they will understand how to present the information in a way that everybody can understand. Clarity and professionalism are important when writing the script, but you should also have a bit of fun with it.

Adding a bit of humor and lightheartedness is a great way to make the video more engaging and make it stand out. Also, consider the story that you are telling in writing the script. People remember stories much more than facts.

Create or Curate Imagery

Once you have your script and you are happy with it, you need to find the animation and images to make up the explainer video. You can either create your own animations from scratch, curate diagrams and animations from elsewhere, or use a combination of both. When creating or curating imagery for an explainer video, the golden rule is to always keep it simple. Your animation should support the voiceover and help the viewer to understand, but if it is too complicated and you fill the explainer video with too many complex images, it distracts the viewer and makes it harder for them to follow the voiceover.

Start by going through your script and drawing a basic flowchart up on a whiteboard. This will help you to break down the script and decide which key points need to be supported and explained using imagery. Once you have a clear plan, you can start finding images or creating your own.

Simple graphs or infographics are a great way to visualize the information that you are giving and make it clear for the viewer, but you should avoid giving lots of extra information that is not covered in the voiceover because they will struggle to absorb different information from both sources at once. There are plenty of places to find good quality infographics online, but you can easily make your own.

Record Your Voiceover

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Now that you have your script and the images to go alongside it, you need to record the voiceover for your explainer video. Professionalism is key here and if the sound quality is poor or the delivery is bad, that will ruin your explainer video and people will soon switch off. If you want to create a professional explainer video, you need to invest in a good quality microphone to record your voiceovers. There is no need to buy the most expensive one that you can find, but you should invest in a good mid-range one.

You should also consider hiring a professional voiceover artist to record the script for you instead of doing it yourself. It is harder than people realize to deliver a professional voiceover and if the script for your explainer video is recorded by an amateur, it really shows. Voices is a great platform where you can find professional voiceover artists to record your video.

Animate

Next, you need to animate the video and put your images in place. You should already have decided which images coincide with which parts of the script, so this will be your basic structure. Each major point should have a visual metaphor or simple image to explain it and make it clearer to the audience. During the animation stage, it is a good idea to use color to highlight certain words or pieces of information, so the images move along with the voiceover and the audience knows which information is the most important. Keep your animations simple so they do not distract the audience from important information and they are easily followed. When moving from one animation to the next, it is important that there is a logical flow. If you find that there is not a logical flow, you may need to go back to your script and rearrange things. Each animation should build on the last and if things jump around too much, the audience can quickly become confused. If you find that you have too many animations and images in one section, you should consider breaking it down into a few smaller sections for added clarity.

Synch Audio and Animation

Now that you have a voiceover recorded and your explainer video is animated, you need to bring the two elements together to create the finished product. It is vital that you are accurate when synching the audio and animation or your explainer video will be very confusing. The animation should only remain on screen while the voiceover is discussing that specific piece of information. If one moves faster than the other, the viewer will be forced to absorb visual information while also trying to follow the voiceover, which has moved on to the next piece of information. At this stage, you may need to adjust some of the animations and change the length so they match up with the voiceover. When you are synching the audio and animation, you should consider adding some music. When used in the right way, music can set the pace of your explainer video and make it more engaging. However, it is important that you don’t choose anything that distracts from the voiceover or the animation.

Some Simple Tools for Creating Explainer Videos

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If you want to create a professional explainer video, you need to use the right tools. The good news is, there are plenty of simple tools that you can use to create explainer videos, even if you have never made one before.

Toonly

Toonly is a very popular tool for creating explainer videos because it’s so simple to use. The user interface is very intuitive and you don’t need to know anything about coding or video creation to make a great explainer video. You simply drag and drop elements into the picture and then add animations. There are plenty of pre-built scenes and animations to use as well, so you don’t always have to source your own images.

Moovly

If you are looking for a free option, Moovly is one the best. It’s a great piece of software that has a lot of features, especially compared with the other free options out there. It has a similar drag and drop interface to Toonly, so anybody can create whiteboard animations and explainer videos without any prior experience. You can easily manipulate and move images and synching up the audio and video is simple as well.

Vyond

Vyond is a more expensive option but it offers more customization options than Moovly or Toonly. In some cases, you can make do with the simple animations that other platforms offer, but if you are trying to create something specific and you need to customize animations, Vyond may be the better choice. It also has a feature that allows you to upload a script and generate a voiceover, but it does sound a little robotic so you should only use this if there is no way to find a voiceover artist to do it for you.

Animaker

Animaker is a good middle ground between Vyond and Toonly, especially if you are looking for a slightly cheaper option that still has a lot of the same great features. Although Animaker’s user interface is a little slower and slightly more complex, and a few of the features are missing, it is a lot cheaper. If you have time to play around with it and you want to save some money, Animaker is perfectly good enough to make some great explainer videos with.

Videoscribe

Many people consider Videoscribe to be the best whiteboard animation software on the market right now. It’s a great intuitive tool that comes complete with a library of high quality images and sounds that you can use in your videos. The user interface is simple to use and you can create good quality explainer videos in a very short space of time. The price is also very reasonable, considering the features that you get.

If you invest in one of these great whiteboard animation tools and follow the steps outlined in this article, you can start creating your own amazing explainer videos right away.

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THE EDUPRENEUR'S EXCELERATOR KICKSTARTER: HOW TO CREATE YOUR LEARNING EXPERIENCE BLUEPRINT

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The 5 Essential Tools to Record your Learning Assets

Video is becoming a more popular and beneficial way to communicate information and learn. As a course creator or content developer, you’re going to want to know the five essential tools for recording video to produce a successful learning asset.

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Camera

One essential tool for video creation is to have the right camera for the job. A good, quality camera will help ensure that your visuals are adequately captured and allow your audience to follow your instruction better.

There are several camera options for recording your video assets.

Modern smartphones have advanced cameras in them and, for most online courses, the quality is good enough.

Webcams are a great tool for recording learnings assets, especially when combined with screen share tools, because you can walk viewers through the process as you do it. Webcams are also a good low-cost option, but it’s important to note that many of the low-end webcams give very poor picture quality that is not adequate for recording learning assets for online courses.

 

Even though smartphone cameras and webcams are adequate in some situations, you should still consider investing in a professional camera once you are established and you have sold some courses. The price and functionality of video cameras vary a lot, and if you are creating online courses, you do not necessarily need the most powerful camera out there. You do, however, need to make sure that you do not go for the cheapest option because it won’t give you the quality that you need.

Microphone

Another element you’ll need when recording video is a microphone. The audio is a critical competent of your video. Sound quality is actually more important than video quality. If the video quality is adequate, that’s fine, but it is difficult for viewers to follow your content unless the sound quality is crystal clear. You’re going to need to pick up the sound clearly and concisely without any background noise or disruptions.

Lapel microphones are a great way to ensure that you get clear, crisp sound throughout your videos, so you shouldn’t rely on the built-in microphones on your camera because the quality will not be as good.

Lapel microphones can be very effective if you invest in a good quality one, but you should use a desktop or boom microphone for improved sound quality and clarity.

When choosing microphones for recording video, it is important to remember the law of diminishing returns; that means that a $300 microphone performs significantly better than a $100 one, but a $1000 microphone will not necessarily sound much different from a $500 one.

Lighting

Lighting is an exceptionally essential tool that will help you record your learning assets. You need to be able to illuminate your subjects properly and ensure that there is no glare. You’ll want to apply the best practices when it comes to three-point lighting for optimal results.

Even if you are going to use a slightly cheaper camera or even film videos on your smartphone, it is vital that you invest in a good lighting setup.

Teleprompter

Delivering a lecture or a tutorial in an engaging way is difficult, and you can’t do it all from memory, which is why you should consider investing in a teleprompter. If you do, you will find that the quality of your learning materials improves in a big way.

Video Editing Software

Editing is the final stage of the video creation process, and you need to make sure that you are using the right software. There will be errors that you’ll need to correct so that you can turn your recorded session into a final product you can actually use.
There are plenty of free options that many people find are adequate. If the features on the free video editing software are not advanced enough for your needs, you may want to consider paid video editing software instead.

Keep following our blog posts as we provide more information on these tools in the coming weeks, including a review of some of the best tools to use.

Want to know more about the tools to record your learning assets? Check out our free ebook “ A Guide to the Essential Tools to Record Your Learning Assets” that you can download from our Library.

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How to use video to deliver a learning experience

Video has always been an extremely powerful tool for trainers, offering a way to convey information in an engaging way. In the past, producing videos for yourself was too expensive and time-consuming to be reasonable, but this has been changing in recent years. To show you how you could use this type of content to start spreading knowledge, this article will be exploring a range of the different methods to enable you to use video to deliver a learning experience.

Talking Head Presentations

Talking head presentation videos work exactly how their name suggests; the presenter will appear on the screen as a talking head, sometimes accompanied with information and graphics in the background. This type of video makes it nice and easy to provide both verbal and graphical information, while also being easier to produce than the other methods you have available to you. You can get started with this with a simple smartphone camera set up.

Screencast

Much like being back at school, screencast or slide share videos work by providing the trainer with something to talk about. Each slide or screen will enable you to talk and provide information to your learners, while also providing them with video steps to make it easier for them to replicate the process later. This is great when your providing instructions, and can be especially useful when you’re providing information on topics where visual information is required, such as using a computer application.

Interactive Videos

While more difficult and costly to provide than a traditional video, interactive videos can be an excellent tool for those trying to deliver complicated topics online or where you want to build on the learners existing knowledge. This could be used to give presentations and ask questions to test understanding. It can also be used to provide the learners with a choice, branching off to a different part of the video providing a personalised learning experience. The use of interactive video provides a far more engaging experience than simply watching a video about a topic.

Whiteboard Animations

Whiteboard animations are simple videos that are designed to look as if someone is writing on a whiteboard. This is excellent for breaking down math problems, exploring topics that need both written and graphical information to make sense, and just about anything that could be taught using a real whiteboard. Software, such as Sparkol, makes it nice and easy to achieve this sort of effect with your own videos.

Animations

Much like other forms of video, animations have gained a huge amount of popularity in recent years, while also getting much easier for normal people to make. Software applications like Toonly or Moovly make it really simple to get started with your own short animations. Of course, though, it is worth keeping in mind that you may need voices and music for videos like this.

In Summary

Video is an ideal platform for education, with many schools around the world using these methods to improve their approach to teaching. Of course, though, you will need to work hard to turn them to your advantage, and this could be trickier than you might expect.

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THE EDUPRENEUR'S EXCELERATOR KICKSTARTER: HOW TO CREATE YOUR LEARNING EXPERIENCE BLUEPRINT

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6 great tools to help determine the title of your next course

A good course title can help improve brand recognition, set you apart from the competition and also give people a general idea of what your course is about. Unfortunately, picking an enticing title is a lot harder than it seems.


A great way to build an effective title is to use analytical data such as popular keywords and trends. This will allow you to build a title that is relevant to your intended audience and matches the types of terms that they search.


So here are six useful tools that can help you determine the title of your next course.

Google Adwords

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Google Adwords is one of the most popular keyword search tools available. Given that its data comes directly from the billions of Google searches per day, you can trust its accuracy and relevancy. You can use Google Adwords to find the most popular keywords that are relevant to your course and then use them in the title to make them easier to find.

Soovle

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Soovle is another popular keyword research tool that scrapes keywords from multiple sources. This means it can harvest keyword ideas from not just Google, but also YouTube, Bing, Yahoo, Amazon, Wikipedia, Answers.com and many other popular websites. This can be a huge advantage if your courses are on multiple platforms and it can help you discover untapped keywords that your competition hasn’t used yet.

Wikipedia

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Wikipedia is tool that many probably don’t think about using as a keyword search tool. But you can actually combine the use of Wikipedia with your keyword search tool. So let’s say we’re looking at doing a keyword search on UX Design. Find the Wikipedia page on UX design and then paste that page link into the keyword search tool. You will see a list of potential keywords based on the content on that page.

AnswerThePublic

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AnswerThePublic taps into autocomplete data from search engines like Google then uses it to build useful phrases that revolve around your chosen keyword. It gives you a deep and detailed understanding of how people search for topics related to your course. It helps you uncover a plethora of unique and different content ideas through organic keywords that can help you determine the perfect title for your next course. It’s also extremely easy to use and digest, making it great for anyone regardless of their level of experience with SEO and keyword research.

Ubersuggest

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Ubersuggest is a free SEO tool that helps generate new keyword ideas. While it was originally designed to scrape Google Suggest terms, Ubersuggest has expanded significantly and is one of the easiest keyword research tools to use. One of the handiest features of Ubersuggest is its “Keyword Ideas” feature. Simply type in a keyword and Ubersuggest will give you long-tail versions of the term and the volume of searches. This allows you to dig deeper through keyword suggestions to find one that suits your course.

Headline Analyser

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There are actually a number of different headline analyzers available including:

  • ShareThrough’s Headline Analyzer
  • Capitalize My Title’s Headline Analyzer Tool

Headline analyzers are designed to evaluate your headline based on different categories such as readability, sentiment, and SEO value. The headline analyser uses several unique variables and some natural language processing to provide you with a headline quality score. This helps you better understand your title and gives you suggestions based on those factors to help you improve it.

In conclusion

Before launching your next course think if the title is going to attract the attention of your target audience. Use some of these tools to get some ideas and evaluate the quality of your course title.

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THE EDUPRENEUR'S EXCELERATOR KICKSTARTER: HOW TO CREATE YOUR LEARNING EXPERIENCE BLUEPRINT

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Which webinar tool do I use? Part 2

Webinar tools allow us to connect with each other even if we are unable to meet in person. They allow educators to provide learning for their students from afar. With increasing numbers of people turning to webinar solutions, there are multiple tools to choose from. Here we provide an overview and comparison of some of the popular tools, which include the following:

  • Zoom
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Adobe Connect
  • Google Hangouts
  • Big Blue Button
  • GoTo Webinar

 Logo Zoom.fw Zoom is a video conferencing tool that offers unlimited one-on-one calls and calls up to 40-minutes long for up to 100 participants on their free plan. Three different paid plans, Pro, Business and Enterprise, are also available for those that require longer calls or more participants. Zoom includes video conferencing and web conferencing, as well as group collaboration features. It includes breakout rooms to split meetings into smaller groups, group chat, screen sharing, and whiteboarding. For security, Zoom uses SSL encryption and AES 256 bits encryption. Zoom offers instant or scheduled meetings, with personal room or meeting IDs.

Pros
  • Easy to use and often chosen for personal as well as educational and business use
  • Well-rated video and audio quality even with multiple people
  • Simple screen sharing, video and audio calling, and scheduling
Cons
  • Possible issues with security
  • A Zoom app needs to be downloaded for participation in meetings
  • The interface can lack intuition and be difficult to use for some people

 Logo Msteams.fw Microsoft Teams offers a solution for working together in Microsoft 365. Available for business or education, it offers unlimited chat and search, video calling, team and personal file storage, and real-time collaboration with Microsoft Office. The additional features make it a complete collaboration tool, rather than a tool that is purely for video conferencing webinar use. The free version of Teams offers a number of useful features, as well as file sharing and the ability to attach files in chats. There are more than 250 apps and services that can be integrated with Teams for a full suite of collaboration tools.

Pros
  • Provides a range of productivity and collaboration tools in addition to video conferencing
  • A huge range of integrations
  • Content can easily be shared during meetings
Cons
  • No presentation screening, although PowerPoints can be shown through screen sharing
  • No scheduled meetings or meeting recordings with the free plan
  • Video conferencing and events only available with paid plans

 Logo Adobe.fw Adobe Connect is designed to make it easy to create engaging experiences. It offers a high level of customizability, allowing those hosting meetings and webinars to create the look and feel that they need. The layout of the screen can be controlled for viewers, and there are many options to choose from when setting up conferencing. Adobe Connect offers three different options to make it possible to select a plan that works for different purposes. Subscribers can choose from Meetings, Learning or Webinars to meet their needs. Meeting numbers can range from three, all the way to 1,500 for a shared webinar room.

Pros
  • A high degree of customization
  • Many options to choose from for room layouts, meeting design and screen sharing
  • Other tools to use, including Q&A, whiteboard, file sharing, surveys
  • Layouts can be setup before a session and can be easily switched between for a seamless experience
  • Large number of users allowed for webinars
Cons
  • More expensive than other options, with no free plan, although there is a 90-day free trial
  • There can be a steep learning curve when first using the tools
  • Third-party telephone solution is required for audio calls

 Logo Hangouts.fw Google Hangouts is easy to get started with, offering many features and being free to use. Google Hangouts allows chats and video calls, phone calls using WiFi or data, and text messages using Google Voice numbers. Google Hangouts Meet is offered with G Suite for business and education purposes. The basic tool offers conversations with up to 150 people and video calls with up to 10 or up to 100 when included with G Suite. Google Hangouts has apps for Android, iOS, and Chrome, although it can be used as a web application.

Pros
  • The basic Hangouts is a good option for casual conversation, while Hangouts Meet is better for official meetings
  • Completely free for the basic option or included with G Suite if you use Hangouts Meet
Cons
  • All people taking part need to have Google Hangouts, although downloading anything isn’t necessary
  • May not suit the demands of a larger educational institution looking for something more sophisticated

 Logo Bbbutton.fw BigBlueButton is specifically designed for online learning. It has features and tools that have been created for teachers, including sharing of slides, video, audio, chat and desktop. It has built-in polling to engage with students, as well as a live whiteboard for presenting and groups. Unlimited webcams can be shared in a session, and the application also includes screen sharing and breakout rooms. It is built to integrate with a school’s LMS and complies with accessibility standards.

Pros
  • Designed especially for educators
  • Option to try online before buying
  • Features designed to help interact with students
Cons
  • May be more of an option for schools than online learning brands
  • Integrates with LMS so doesn’t offer an immediate solution – requires developers to integrate

Logo Gotowebinar.fw

This specialized webinar tool offers features such as event management, flexible scheduling, and webinar templates. It also allows you to create a registration page, custom webinar invitations, and automated email reminders. With dual-screen capability, people hosting webinars can present with one screen, while keeping an eye on their attendees with another. An engagement dashboard makes it possible to watch over attendees and encourage engagement.

Pros
  • Designed specifically for webinars with useful features
  • Tools to keep an eye on engagement, with engagement features such as polls
Cons
  • The interface can be unintuitive
  • Polls have to be setup individually, as you need to create them disrupting the flow of the learning
  • There can be problems with video and audio quality

Tool Comparison

  Zoom Microsoft Teams Adobe Connect Google Hangouts Big Blue Button GoTo Webinar
Free Users 100 500K None Unlimited N/A 100 (free trial)
Initial Cost Per Month $14.99 $5 $50 $6 Request pricing from company $89
Screen Sharing Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Presentation Streaming Yes Via screen sharing Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mobile Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Record and Playback Yes With paid plans Yes Yes Yes Yes
Private Chat Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Breakout Rooms Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
Interactive Whiteboard Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Polls Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Custom Branding Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
VoIP Yes Yes 3rd party Yes 3rd party Yes
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THE EDUPRENEUR'S EXCELERATOR KICKSTARTER: HOW TO CREATE YOUR LEARNING EXPERIENCE BLUEPRINT

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Which webinar tool do I use? Part 1

Which webinar platform do I use? This is a question I often hear with people looking to start delivering content through webinars, or more accurately Virtual Instructor Led Training (VILT). More and more organisations are moving to the use of virtual tools to deliver training to their staff and clients, taking advantage of the benefits VILT offers.

Note: In this article I am talking about webinars or VILT as a training tool, to provide an effective learning experience. I am not talking about webinars as a marketing tool, generally a talking head with little interaction distributing information but not providing the learning experience required.

What are the benefits?

There are numerous benefits of VILT, including:

Reduced cost. VILT allows people to stay in their location and travel, accommodation and venue hire costs are effectively eliminated. Training materials are generally distributed electronically so printing costs are also eliminated.

Increased capacity. The possibilities of reaching more people, engaging with more participants than would be possible in a face-to-face training session due to costs and space.

Just-in-time. Training events can be delivered on a greater as needs basis through VILT, rather than having to schedule travel and book venues.

Convenience. Participants will generally be able to find an hour or so to attend a virtual training session, than a full day workshop. They also have the added convenience of being able to participate from anywhere they have an internet connection, such as workplace, office or beach.

Cognitive load. Virtual sessions are often delivered over an hour or two, with more focused delivery. This means that participants will be able to retain the relevant content and reduce the risks of cognitive overload.

How do I get started?

The key to getting started (and ultimately selecting the platform that suits you) is in through some thorough analysis and design of how VILT will be used as part of your learning strategy.

Questions to consider include:

Who am I delivering to? A learner analysis is required to make sure that they have the technical capacity to attend virtual sessions. If delivering within an organisation or to an organisation you should consider if there are any potential technical issues, such as firewalls that block incoming video streams.

Also consider:

  • The number of participants you will be delivering to.
  • How participants will access the audio (VOIP or teleconferencing)

What format is my content? Consider if you are simply showing PowerPoint slides or will videos or other online content also be delivered during the session.

How will I facilitate the session and get participants to interact? This is a critical question, with different webinar platforms providing different interaction tools.

For example:

  • Do you want participants to communicate through a chat function?
  • Do you want participants to be able to actually speak to you and others?
  • Do you want people to be able to interact by drawing or annotating on a whiteboard?
  • Do you want to show a video of yourself while presenting?
  • Do you want to have smaller group discussions in a breakout room?
  • Do you want to use polls to engage and question participants?
  • Do you want to share documents with participants?
  • Do you want to share your desktop?
  • Do you want to record your session for participants to replay and review?

How will I market and promote my training? Do you need a registration functionality or do you want to integrate with other tools (such as learning management system or content management system)

What budget do I have? Price may have an impact on the webinar tool you use, or the maximum number of participants that you can have attending.

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If all you have is a hammer…

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail (Abraham Maslow). The great quote can be applied to many situations, especially to the design and development of a digital learning experience. One of the big mistakes we see when people are putting their content online is that they start with the technology. They select a learning platform and then create the learning experiences and learning assets to fit with the platform. Having this learning first approach limits the learning experience that you could create. You are restricted to the tools and functionality afforded to you by the learning platform. If the learning platform is limited in the asset types it can host, then you are limited in the choices of assets you can design and develop to engage your learners. For example, if the platform does not allow for the uploading of SCORM or xAPI content (created in an external authoring tool) then the interactivity and functionality will be limited. If the platform does not provide badges, points or other gamification elements, again your learning experience will be limited. The reality is that selecting technology is one of the last things you should do when designing a learning experience. Before even considering the technology piece you need to:

  • Have a clear understanding of your WHY,
  • Have a strategy that aligns to your purpose,
  • Understand your users,
  • Define the user journey for participants in your course, and
  • Create a learning experience that aligns with these factors.

Once you have designed the learning experience, then look at the tools and technologies available that you will need to create and deliver the learning experiences. Doing this before selecting your learning platform will allow you to design a learning experience without any technology constraints. It will also provide you with more tools to go into your Edupreneurial Toolkit. Not just a hammer.      

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9 tips for designing and developing a virtual learning experience

As with any learning, the initial aspect of designing the experience is on of the most critical stages. For virtual training events to be effective, greater engagement and interaction must be designed into the experience. The following are some strategies you can use to design and develop an engaging learning experience.

1. Objectives

Undertake an analysis of the performance problem and who the learner’s are. This might feel like going back to the drawing board, but simply taking an existing face-to-face training program is making the assumption that the original analysis was done well and is still current.

Undertake a technical analysis to understand what technology the learners have, or the technical limitations they may be facing.

2. Structure

Determine the structure of the virtual learning experience. Avoid designing a single “one and done” learning event. Rather, consider the main learning event (or events) and then determine the micro-events that you can design to engage with the learners before and after.

Consider the flow of the main event and the different learning experiences that you could use to engage with the learners.

Consider a structure that involves a high level of interaction and requires a change of state for the virtual learners to help they stay focused and engaged.

3. Tools and Technology

An important consideration when implementing virtual learning is researching and implementing a reliable and appropriate application (or applications) to run your learning events.

The key to getting started (and ultimately selecting the application that suits you) is by going back to the analysis and design of how virtual learning will be used as part of your learning strategy.

Consider:

  • Who are you delivering to make sure that they have the technical capacity to attend a virtual session
  • The format of your content. Are you simply showing PowerPoint slides or will videos or other online content also be delivered during the virtual session?
  • The budget you have, as price may have an impact on the webinar tool you use, or the maximum number of participants that you can have attending.
  • How you will facilitate the events and get participants to interact.

Also make sure you have appropriate video and audio equipment for delivering the virtual session, whether this is a desk mike or headset.

4. Prepare participants

Ensure learners know how to set up their systems and have the appropriate software installed before any learning event.

Consider a practice session before the main learning event (especially if a webinar or virtual classroom) to allow learners to practice logging in and using the tools they will use during the learning event.

Direct them to any existing online help. Most platforms offer videos or tutorials on how to use their software, which participants can watch before the event.

Remember, not everyone is comfortable in this type of online learning environment. Not everyone is tech savvy and some people just don’t like change. Adequate preparation will help to alleviate these pressures on the learner.

5. Prepare yourself

Make sure you are comfortable with using the tools and everything, especially audio, is working correctly before the event.

Undertake a practice to ensure transitions and timing work as desired. Have a facilitation guide that plans out the live virtual event, including timings and activities.

When running a live virtual event login at least 30 minutes before and prepare the environment, including any polls or other activities for the learners.

6. Use a producer

For all live virtual events arrange for a producer to assist you.  The producer or host will manage the technology. They should be experts with the application to ensure a seamless and quality learning event. The producer will also act as the technical support during the event, so you can focus on the delivery.

Also look to use the producer as the host, who can introduce you into the session. They can also manage the chat during the live event, calling out any essential questions that are asked.

Superb Learning offers a producer service for facilitators looking to run a live virtual event. Contact us on 1300 097 699 or at info@superblearning.com.au for more information.

7. Quality design

Ensure a quality design of any visuals used in your live virtual sessions. As with a traditional classroom training session the presentation should have minimal text and not just be a duplication of what the presenter will say.

8. Quality delivery

Delivering a quality learning experience involves keeping the learners interacting and engaged. Have the participants do something every 3-5 minutes. Whether it is speaking, reading, interacting with the technology, or working in breakout groups.
Providing a mix of learning experiences during the one live virtual event will ensure learners have a ‘change of state’ and help to maintain engagement.

Allocate specific times during the event for questions to ensure the flow of the event continues. Have a mechanism (such as the producer) to capture all questions and ensure they are answered within 24 hours after the live event if they were not able to be addressed during the event.

9. Debrief

After any interaction or learning exercise conduct an appropriate debrief. The debrief allows for learners to connect the new knowledge and how they can apply it in their own context.

Techniques to have learners debrief the content include:

  • Asking learners to share what they have done or learnt in a group activity.
  • Brainstorm ideas on how the content could be applied.
  • Peer review on work conducted by others.
  • Random questioning of learners on how they will apply the new learning.

In conclusion

With any learning event learner engagement is a key factor in the achievement of performance outcomes. This is no different in a virtual learning event, and quality learning design must be incorporated to ensure quality engagement.

Embrace the benefits a virtual learning experience can provide and utilise a range of technological tools to engage with learners throughout the learning journey.
Get the virtual learning experience right and you will be able to extend your reach, deliver in ways that best suit your learners and provide a superb learning experience to all.

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What learning platform? Part 2

A comparison of Teachable, Thinkific, Kajabi and Learn Worlds

If you are looking to try and create an online course, you will of course need to make sure that it goes as smoothly and to plan as possible. There are many ways to make sure of that, but one of the major considerations that you are going to need to make is which course builder website you are going to use. There are so many of these out there that you would be mistaken for feeling as though there are too many to choose from. However, there are three in particular which are especially popular and commonly used, and it is these three which we are going to focus on in this article.

Teachable, Thinkific, Kajabi and LearnWorlds are all strong contenders for best online course platform for thought leaders looking to share their expertise online. There are a range of other course platforms, but many of these are designed for the corporate market. While it might not be possible to pick a single best, however, there are many ways in which we can compare and contrast them, and that is what we will do here. Let’s take a look in some detail at the differences between these three and what they are able to offer you. First of all, we’ll take a brief overview of each one.

Teachable: An Overview

This is probably the world’s most popular and famous platform for building online courses, and with good reason. It does offer a lot that many others don’t, and it has been doing it for longer than many others have too. 23 million learners use Teachable at the time of writing, and there are more than 257k courses which are active on its platform right now. Clearly, there must be something that they are doing right, for so many people to want to use it as a platform.

Teachable is proud of its focus on multiple device setup, as well as their power editor that allows you to modify any part of the online school at your will. They provide a good looking service and one that is intuitive to use, and many people find that they are the best, or one of the best, online course providers out there. They are certainly one that you will want to consider if you are building an online course yourself.

Thinkific: An Overview

Thinkific is wildly popular too, and also focuses on producing beautiful pages that work well with the content within them. They argue that they are the prime choice for crafting learning experiences from start to finish, and on the whole you get more of a vibe of a tailor made service, rather than something you have ultimate control over. However, for many people this is exactly what they are looking for, so it might be one to consider if that is something that you are thinking of for yourself.

They are quick to upload, and you can easily customize many of the functions and features of your course. It is also very simple to use, and in general might be considered the much more user friendly of all of the options here. If you are unable to code but you still want to be able to make huge changes to your online school, then Thinkific can be a good option to go for.

Kajabi: An Overview

Kajabi markets itself much more to business leaders than those who are seeking to teach, while still offering many of the same functions and features as the previous two options. In fact, Kajabi is much more than just an online course creator: it is used in a wider way to integrate many aspects of a business in one place, and it seems to do so for many businesses in a smooth and easy manner which is clearly very useful for a lot of entrepreneurs out there. If you are looking to integrate a course with other aspects of your business, then Kajabi might well be the one to go for.

Something that is standout about Kajabi is the way in which they prioritize and champion looking after your leads, and watching what is really happening in real time with regards to your course and your business as a whole. If that sounds like something you want, then you are going to need to consider Kajabi as a strong possibility.

LearnWorlds: An Overview

LearnWorlds is a platform that has flown under the radar and not very well known, but certainly have a great number of features, and has had some significant growth in the business during 2019. LearnWorlds has some great content creation features as well as a complete e-commerce solution with built-in marketing and sales tools for growing your audience and increasing your revenue.

What started several years ago as a cool side project has already evolved into a profitable SaaS business serving top course sellers in over 70 countries. The LearnWorlds vision is to be rewarded for creating learning products that provoke authentic, comprehensive, continuous, creative and challenging learning experiences.

Content Creation Options

Now let’s start comparing these platforms with regard to a range of different elements that you might hope to see. First of all, we will look at the content creation options that each of them offer, to see whether there might be a clear winner here, or whether it is more of a tie. With any online course, you want to make sure that you have a good deal of options when it comes to the content creation, as this effectively amounts to a much more customizable experience, and means you have more power and freedom to do what you really want to do. So how do the three stack up against each other in this respect

With Teachable, you have the ability to create multimedia lectures, meaning that you can include text, audio, video, PDF, and more. You can do this manually or by using Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive. So no matter what platform you might be using, you can be sure that you are going to be able to easily upload content in one place. You can also build the website itself, of course, which is an important part of the whole process, including sales pages. There is also an option for quizzes, to test your learners’ learning, course completion certificates, and more. There is a lot here that you might make use of, and really this is just the tip of the iceberg.

When it comes to Thinkific, you have the opportunity to do many of the same things. You can produce video, text, download materials, quizzes, surveys, discussions, google docs, and more. But somewhere they differ is that you can also produce private and hidden courses, prerequisite lessons, and you can drip schedule content so that your learners can gradually gain the information they need at the schedule that you feel is right for their learning. That might be more helpful in many cases, depending on what you are going for.

As for Kajabi, you are going to get a wholly different range of items and content that you can produce, for the simple fact that they are such a widely differently focused company. If you are looking to use Kajabi, it is probably because you are a business, and as such you are going to be able to use them for creating emails, webpages, integrated course pages, and even many kinds of automations too. This might be more your style, or you might want to go for the purer options of Teachable or Thinkific.

LearnWorlds has the greatest range of content creation options. This includes an interactive ebook, allowing learners to mark up content and make notes, and an interactive video tool which allows you to easily show the video transcript, add hotspots and questions, add titles and images. Audio files, PDFs, scorm, html5 can also be added as content. Quizzes, exams and assignments can also be created to check for understanding and assess learner progress.

Adding externally created content

If you are looking at creating your content in an external authoring tool (such as Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate or dominKnow Flow as examples) and publishing it as a SCORM file then Teachable or Kajabi are not for you.

Thinkific has the ability to import files created in an external authoring tool, however the files must be exported for web (HTML5).

LearnWorlds allows for SCORM objects to be easily added to the courses to allow for higher levels of interaction that the external tools allow.

Price

No matter what else might be the case, it is obviously always going to be important that you are not paying too much for your course creation platform. Comparing the prices is therefore going to prove very important indeed. So just how do the three stack up when it comes to their pricing ranges?

Teachable’s Basic plan sits at $29 per month, billed annually. That’s for all base features, along with unlimited learners and 5% transaction fees. To go without transaction fees and to have more admin user capability, you can upgrade instead to the Professional level at $79 per month billed annually. Or for the Business plan, you are looking at $399 per month, also billed annually.

Over at Thinkific, one real selling point is that there is a Free option. That’s just to test out the core features, however. If you want a proper plan, you are looking again at three options: Basic, Pro, and Premier. It has to be said that Thinkific is distinctly more expensive than Teachable, with prices for its packages being $49, $99, and $499 respectively. You are getting much the same for a lot more money.

Kajabi’s pricing is bigger still, possibly because they market themselves to business much more than individuals. The Basic package is $119 a month, their Growth mid-range package is $159 a month, and their Pro is $319 a month, all billed annually. Actually, their Pro is the cheapest of the three platforms, so if you are running a large business, that might be your best bet, but you might not get all the features of the other two.

LearnWorlds has a number of pricing packages. The starter package is $24 a month billed annually making it the lowest of the four compared. However, it has an additional $5 fee per course sale with this package. The subsequent packages are $79 and $249 a month, billed annually, with no course transaction fees.

Site Design & Customization

One important part of setting up your online course is that you want to make sure the site design is one you can enjoy, and that you have a lot of options with regards to customizing it to suit your needs as well as possible. As it happens, that is something that you can be sure of with all three, but there are still ways in which they differ too.

Teachable might well be the best option for sheer variety of styles, and you are bound to find something there that you are going to be able to use as well as you would hope. You also have the option to fully customize everything on the site, so if there is anything that you don’t quite like that might not be a problem at all, or not for very long. It’s also very attractive in what it offers, and you will probably find that your learners find it to be a user-friendly and lovely graphical interface which you can enjoy.

When it comes to Thinkific, you don’t have quite the same level of customization as Teachable, as you don’t have the opportunity to code. But again there is a considerable range of site designs to choose from, and much of what you can customize means that you are still going to be able to make it yours in most cases. However, if you were going for the full business experience, it might not quite live up to your expectations.

Kajabi is certainly the least customizable of the three, although it does offer some good designs and a wide variety of styles that you can choose between. To say that their service in some way replaces Teachable is not really doing Teachable justice, however if you are merely in need of a good-looking site that works and is up and running fast, then this is something that you might still want to consider.

LearnWorlds has the ability to create simple web pages for attracting interest and marketing to prospective clients. It has an intuitive drag and drop block-based web page builder, where you can choose between hundreds of templates and create high-converting landing pages. It also has a wide range of integrations with other marketing and affiliate tools.

Reporting & Analytics

It’s always going to be important that you are able to see how your site is doing, what your learners are getting up to, and much more besides. Having access to that data reporting and being able to access and analyze it is hugely important for ensuring the success of your online course. Each platform speaks of this reporting, but which is actually going to be the best option in this way?

Teachable is proud of its comprehensive dashboard, its course-wide learner insights and contact and revenue data exports, and it is all presented in a clear, yet detailed manner that many will find very useful.

Thinkific offers automated check-ins with learners, providing you with reports after the fact, and a range of progress reports that you will be able to make use of. It is about the same as Teachable in this area.

Both Kajabi and LearnWorlds have very comprehensive reporting and analytics. LearnWorlds reporting extends across the learning and marketing sides, with a clear dashboard showing the clickrate on site pages. If you want greater ability to see what is really going on, then Kajabi or LearnWorlds might well be the option to go for.

In Conclusion

On the whole, you have a good all-rounder in Teachable, though it lacks in some areas such as its backend – which is a little cleaner and simpler to use in Thinkific. That platform is not quite as customizable, however, and it is considerably pricier. Kajabi is probably the best option for large businesses, but might not be quite as good for anyone else. LearnWorlds is the clear winner in the content creation tools and is a great all rounder that would satisfy the majority of your needs.

Whichever you end up going for, make sure that you carefully choose beforehand, as it is one of the biggest decisions you will make in creating your online course.

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