writing board for video script

Writing Engaging Scripts for Your Video Lessons

I bet you’ll agree with me on this one:

Online learning is experiencing a new lease of life now. “Thanks” to a global pandemic, more and more people choose online education and training, thus encouraging teachers to adjust to new conditions.

Numbers speak volumes:

The e-learning market continues its growth and will reach $319 billion by 2029. More than that, 2021 was a record year for edtech startups: They’ve raised $20 billion in VC funding!

Sounds inspiring for educators who think about (or already practice) creating and selling online courses, huh?

But there’s a tiny catch:

When it comes to online teaching, a video format appears the most captivating for students. But preparing the informative content for a stellar video lesson involves an extensive preproduction stage some teachers ignore.

They believe it’s enough to craft a lesson plan and follow it. While lesson plans are critical to have, they aren’t enough when you want to record a video lesson:

You’ll need a detailed video script! And this article will reveal practical tips on how to write it to engage students in the learning process.

But first things first:

Why You Need a Script for a Video Lesson

In plain English, a video script of your lesson is a detailed description of everything that will “happen” there.

Audio, background, educational materials you’ll use, and words you’ll say to convey the information to students — you need to combine them in a quality online class and write down all the ideas in a document (script) that will guide you through recording.

A video lesson script helps a teacher:

  • Structurize a lesson. The educational content is important, but you also need to support the narration pace to keep the audience hooked.
  • Avoid unwanted pauses and vocal hesitation. Your “Umm” and “Uhh” can annoy learners and sound unprofessional.
  • Maintain consistency across your online course. Scripts will allow you to keep the same tone and terms from video to video.
  • Reduce the number of post-production edits. Once you record a video, you’ll see tons of mistakes, stipulations, and other drawbacks to correct; a detailed script will help minimize them.

And that’s not all!

Scripts save you time and improve the quality of course content. Still, it’s critical to make them interactive and engaging for students; otherwise, you’ll get a dull, “wooden” lesson for trainees to fall asleep while watching.

Below are some practical tips on how to write video scripts for your online lessons to sound captivating and natural.

5 Steps to Writing Engaging Video Scripts for Your Lessons

And now, to practice:

Let’s reveal the process of video lessons script writing step by step!

1 – Define Goals and List Topics You’ll Cover

If a video lesson is not a casual vlog but a part of your online course, you need to plan its content accordingly:

Consider the context and make each video fit the overall course structure. It will allow you to select a topic and materials to cover in each video script.

Define and set tangible goals for each video lesson:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What do you want them to know?
  • How will you make them achieve it?
  • What value will your lesson provide?

Be specific about each topic as it will help you understand what to include in every video lesson. Limiting the theme will prevent you from losing focus and let you set a narrative of what you’ll say when recording.

2 – Consider the Structure of Your Lesson Plan

As a teacher, you prepare a plan for every lesson, right? Use the structure of your lesson plan as a basement for a video script:

  • Warmer:

Break a barrier between you and your students so they would get interested and involved in the learning process.

When it comes to video lessons, you will have less time for engaging students than you would in a classroom; so it’s critical to start a video with some promise that will hook trainees and motivate them to keep watching.

  • Presentation:

To create the need for students to learn what you’ll tell, write down a lesson’s objective (what they’ll be able to do after completing it) and craft a lesson overview (ideas you’ll cover to explain the topic).

It will help you break the stereotype some students have about online lessons being dull and confusing. Make your video script lively and objective with short intros, examples, and practical applications.

  • Procedure:

Break a lesson into sections, depending on how much time you have for a video. Prepare materials for each section: digital handouts, visuals, textbooks to refer to, etc. Think about exercises or other activities to recommend to students for practicing what they’ve learned with you.

Write a script with your timeline in mind. It will help you control the recording process afterward: You’ll see where to speed up or slow down if necessary.

  • Review and assessment:

How will you finish a video lesson? It should be takeaways and an engaging call to action for students:

What do you want them to do after your lesson? Should they share it with others, sign up for your next class, or maybe subscribe to your newsletters and other videos?

Ensure to craft a narrative of your lesson script accordingly.

(P.S. The tip for those of you planning to promote your video course and sell it to a broader audience: Choose a good domain name for a website you’ll use to place video lessons and remember about user experience when designing it.)

3 – Create a Narrative

Now it’s time to put your lesson video script on paper! The tactic of storytelling (narrative) will help here: Craft a lesson storyline with a beginning, a middle, and an end.

The beginning is when you present the lesson topic: Consider a warmer and a presentation here.

The middle is your lesson’s development when you go deep into the topic: It’s what we called a procedure in a lesson plan’s structure.

The end is your lesson’s review and assessment: a synthesis of everything you said in the video and a call to action for your students.

To write a narrative of your video lesson, you’ll need two content types:

  1. AV instructions lines — the specifications on “audio-visual” for a videographer and video editors: a particular illustration that will go with a voice, slides to accompany a spoken line, the footage you’d like to add to a video, etc.
  2. Spoken lines — the words you’ll say by voice when recording a video lesson.

When writing down all this, use the following template:

Divide a document into two columns. On the right side, write down what will show on a screen (images, visual effects, background soundtrack, etc.). On the left side, write what you’ll say.

4 – Watch Your Language

Speaking of what you’ll say, by the way:

When writing a script, think like your target audience and sound conversational.

Forget about super long sentences with over-complicated terms. Don’t try to sound too academic or make your script sound like a research paper.

  • Be concise
  • Use active sentence constructions
  • Consider words your audience speaks

Remember: Your goal is not to impress but educate. The more complex your vocabulary and sentence structure, the more challenging it will be for the viewers to follow your train of thought and stay engaged with what you say.

Avoid words you don’t usually use when teaching: Remember that it’s what you’ll say, so make the text sound natural. Otherwise, it will be hard for you to read it aloud when recording a video lesson.

5 – Read Your Video Script Out Loud Before Recording

Finally, the most critical step of writing a video lesson script comes:

Revise and edit it like a boss!

First, take a look at your script through the eyes of your students:

  • Will they understand the concepts you are trying to convey?
  • Is the information relevant to them? What value will they get from your lesson after watching the video?
  • Is your vocabulary appropriate? Will your students understand all terms and phrases you communicate?

Reread your video script and cut repetition, wordy phrases, and unnecessary qualifiers. Cut complicated words, explain abbreviations if necessary, and paraphrase passive voice — thus, you make your text sound more confident and knowledgable.

As Hemingway said, “Write without fear; edit without mercy.”

Don’t be afraid to cut your lesson script: It’s common to use more words than necessary when writing a draft, but you need to reread it several times and keep cutting until each word serves the narrative and student satisfaction.

For that, read your video script out loud. You might want to hear how it will sound, so don’t be lazy to record yourself talking and then listen to it:

First, it will allow you to catch weird words or awkward constructions that might confuse students. Revise everything that sounds strange or is hard to pronounce (consider rhythm and pace).

And second, you’ll know how much time it will take to finish a lesson. Read a script using a timer to understand if you need to cut anything else or if it’s OK to leave it as it is.

A tiny detail to consider:

When you know the content, you tend to speed up while reading. Remember that you’ll need to keep a steady pace when recording a video, so keep it in mind when you read a script and time its duration.

Ready to Write a Stellar Script for Your Next Video Lesson?

Now that you know all the details to consider when writing scripts for your video lessons, it’s time to craft one! 

Define the goal of your lesson, use its plan as a basement for your script, and write it with storytelling principles in mind. Remember to watch your language and sound conversational.
Put your personality in a video lesson, address your students naturally — and you’ll strengthen your brand as a professional educator whose online courses are worth taking!

About Vaishak

Vaishak S is a Content Architect at Learnyst. He creates content to help hundreds of Educators to create and sell their online courses. He has 3+ years of experience working in the E-Learning industry.

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