In this week’s article, we will continue our journey through the process of creating a video training course, focusing on its third step: the script.
We’ve already talked about the first step: scope (planning is key: get your mission in a statement; know your audience; gather your sources) and the second step: structure (define the sequence; create modules and chapters; decide what goes where). It is now time to bring your content to life through script writing!
A script is a fundamental part of any video training project as it works as a blueprint for the video that you are about to create. It includes — apart from every word that will be mentioned by you or your actors — descriptions of aural, visual and behavioural aspects, extra elements such as animations, and any dialogue or voice-overs. Sometimes it even hands indications about specific shots or angles.
Most of all, the script is the document that gives you mastery over content. It reflects your knowledge about the subject as well as your learning strategies and choices. It is where you articulate the different information you want to share, giving it coherence and fluidity. It is also where the course identity and style begin to take form.
As you put your writing cap on and get ready to jot your script down, there are a few things you should know.
1. Only a good script can ensure effective knowledge sharing
You can only expect to share training content to effectively teach something if you have a robust script that anchors your project and that serves as a navigation tool. Otherwise, it is very easy to get confused with your plot, lose track of your goals and end up wasting a significant amount of time and money. Sticking to your script will ensure consistency and accuracy of content. You shouldn’t forget to verify your sources at this point and quote them when it makes sense. Now is also a good time to define when to call out any extra resources.
2. A script is a lengthy version of your structure
You might think of your script as your structure in a highly detailed format. You must follow the course structure and its key points rigorously and respect the pedagogical strategies you have outlined in the planning phase.
3. It’s a “picture this” exercise
When you are writing your script, don’t forget that a video is primarily a visual medium – you are showing something, rather than telling. So, you need to imagine (and sometimes enact) your author speaking, animated infographics being shown, screengrabs, voice-overs… All the elements that can be added to the video will need to be decided upon, documented and rigorously planned in the next phase, storyboarding. As we’re talking about short videos, when we say “rigorously planned” we do mean “planned to the second”.
4. Keep an eye on the clock
Following up on that last point, it is very important that you can time each scene and make sure you can fit all your content in any time or budget constrains you might be working under. It is fundamental that you respect the defined number of words per chapter, for instance, to ensure you can include all the chapters in each module. This implies an exercise of choice that is, in fact, a great way to understand what really matters and to leave behind the irrelevant stuff or the unnecessary details.
5. Writing tips
You should make sure you write for speech: use short and clear sentences and avoid complex or unnatural syntax and words. You should never include more than three ideas per chapter and make sure you add plenty of examples. People will recall your examples and real-life situations better. Each chapter should start with a subject overview and end with a short conclusion. This ending should always be on a high note.
6. Mistakes to avoid
You should never talk about irrelevant topics: your learners’ time is precious. Remember to avoid time-bound references, because they will jeopardise your course’s longevity. If your product’s online interface changes every month, creating a screen grab with instructions will not be a good use of your time. You’ll either need to shoot one video per month or find a different solution.
Just as with the language you choose to use, remember to keep it simple and resist the temptation to use all those flashy visual elements at once. We know for a fact that simple works best.
These are the main guidelines to follow when creating your script. If you want help on your video training course creation for your bugle platform, you can always contact our Digital Learning Solutions team.