How to Build a Successful Online Training Course with Video

22.01.2021 Content Strategy
Eoin Dowdall
Creative Director

Digital is fast becoming the norm in most contexts of modern-day life. We now complete degrees, watch films, meet with loved ones and even order our daily meals online. This was originally thanks to emerging technologies presenting new and exciting opportunities. But the global outbreak of COVID-19 really put the foot on the accelerator, so to speak. With jobs, university and school all going digital, what was a luxury has become a necessity. This now extends to creating a video training course.

Whilst some aspects of everyday life becoming increasingly dependent on the digital world can be a hassle, online training videos have added efficiency to the process. Instead of having to attend a long and (let’s be honest) often boring training session, people can digest the content at their own pace. It also negates the need to trawl through long, mundane pages of black and white text. In fact, the need to move online has led to some great staff training videos during the coronavirus pandemic. But the online training video trend expands to the general public.

Research shows that 87% of YouTube users use the platform as a means of learning new skills in a variety of different contexts. This desire to learn through visual media reflects quite how effective a digital training video can truly prove to be. And this trend is very much on the rise. In fact, the number of people watching informational videos online twice or more times a week almost doubled between 2013 and 2018. It is a sign of the times and provides an insight into the future of training and informational videos.

This is why we have decided to share our tips on how to build a successful online training course with video. However, before we dig our teeth into how best to create an online training video, first of all we need to define what a training video is exactly…

What is a training video and why use them?

Training videos (or training films) are a means of informing, teaching and engaging with an audience. They are highly effective when it comes to breaking down otherwise confusing concepts into bitesize chunks. Training films can work across all ranges of industries as a tool for teaching new and important skills. Condensing the information into compact video footage instantly makes it easier to consume and therefore it sticks more efficiently in the memory. People are 4x more likely to watch a training video than read a manual. Creating these videos is a forte of ours here at Kartoffel (view our previous work here).

A training video is more than a brilliant way of avoiding having to trudge through goodness knows how many pages on a manual. They will lead to greater levels of customer satisfaction through improved training. They also help relieve some of the burden on certain office members, such as the customer support and tech teams. Training videos also have the bonus advantage of driving extra traffic to your site from otherwise untapped sources.

How to create your own online video training course

Now that you know the benefits of recording training videos, it’s time to start putting yours together. As with all video production projects, big or small, this is a process that takes time. You have to outline exactly what you want to cover, how you think it would best be portrayed and then go about shooting and distributing your footage in the right manner.

Here is our step-by-step rough guide on how to build a successful online training course with video:

Choose your topic

Choosing your topic may seem like a straightforward decision. Simply select what you want the training to cover and crack on, right? Well, this stage of the process is more technical than it may first seem. Making the wrong decision could prove more costly than you think. Research from TechSmith shows that, as one would expect, genuine interest in the video topic is the number one reason for them opening it. This came above relatability, the professional quality of the video and even a literal requirement to watch the footage. Therefore, if you choose your subject thoughtfully you are more likely to draw in a bigger crowd of applicable individuals.

Your audience should be at the forefront of your mind when you choose the topic of your video series. As with a marketing video content strategy, your entire campaign should be executed with the target audience in mind. If it doesn’t appeal to them, then who else will it appeal to?

Once you have chosen your subject it is essential that you research it properly. There is no use in creating a training video on a topic that you yourself aren’t entirely sure about. If this stage isn’t carried out properly then your company could face losing credibility in the eyes of your staff, your peers and your target audience.

Decide on a style

Once you have chosen the subject of your video series, it is time to decide on the look and feel. Before launching a flurry of ideas into the mix, it is important to have a good idea of the resources that you have behind you. Firstly, what sort of timeline are you working with? Do you have months to get this project finetuned or are you looking at a strict turnaround time? Secondly, will your resources allow for a big-budget production or are you looking to save the pennies where possible?

Video Training Script
Video Training Script

These questions have to be considered before you jump straight in. but once the boundaries have been set, a useful way of getting your team thinking is by setting up a brainstorming session. Once you have a wide selection of ideas in front of you, you can start whittling the options down to a shortlist of notions that could well be what you are looking for.

Here are some styles that work well in conjunction with training videos to get you started:

  • Presented videos – This is a basic but effective form of training film. Presented videos consist of an individual conversing with the camera, relaying information about the chosen topic. This can also be interspersed with animated imagery to add another format of explanation to your series.
  • AnimationAnimation is an often-overlooked form of visual media. Not only do animated images help break information down to its most understandable form, but it also helps to explain complex information. For example, animated medical training videos can display body parts that could otherwise go over the head of those watching.
  • Role play – A video in which actors play out the scenario in question. This can be a useful way to outlay all of your information in a contextual manner. The audience will have the training explained to them through a real-life scenario. Role play videos can be helpful for such training films as first aid courses.
  • Microvideos – Microvideos are a short snippet of video footage designed to capture the attention of the audience in no more than 20 seconds or so. They are perfect for putting information in the most manageable of formats.

Prepare a script/storyboard

It goes without saying that a video series based on teaching the viewers new information needs to be properly planned. Whilst some video styles can allow for an element of freestyling in front of the camera, training films require more structure. With this comes the need for an effective script and storyboard to help plan out what will be said and how it will be presented.

First of all, create a course outline to decide what segments of information will be taught in which episodes. Once you have an outline to work to, writing a script will become easier. Make sure that the script flows naturally, hits all of the right spots and sticks to the video’s overall purpose.

For more tips on the matter, read our blog on How to Write a Script for a Short Video.

Video Storyboard
Video Storyboard

Once the script is looking good, make a start on your storyboard. A storyboard is a selection of sketches outlining everything from camera angles to lighting to cuts between scenes. They give you a more visual impression of how your series will look. It can be a fantastic tool for feeding the imagination of stakeholders.

Those who wish to go a step further may opt for a concept test instead. This is a short video that presents viewers with a snippet of how the video series will look. It is a more advanced storyboard in a sense. Concept tests give a vividness to what is essentially a practice run and can help with deciding whether elements like on-screen chemistry are hitting the right spot.

Read our blog on Concept Testing for a Video Series to learn more.

Recording and editing your footage

Now we’ve come to the business end of the process. With your unique idea, your finetuned style and your wow-factor script in place, you’re ready to start shooting.

Depending on the style that you have settled on, the equipment required at this stage may vary greatly. For example, presented videos would massively benefit from an autocue, whilst animation certainly won’t. To ensure that your video reaches its full potential, make sure that you have all of the right kit and someone who knows what they are doing. The presence of an experienced professional (or a team of them) is invaluable in this scenario and can add serious production value. To ensure that you make the most of a shoot day, you need everything to be properly handled, from direction to lighting to sound quality.

After the recording of your footage comes the editing process. This technical stage of the video production journey includes adding essential features like text overlays or snippets of animation. Once tweaked here and there under the supervision of the director and marketing coordinator, your footage is ready for the big wide world.

Shooting a video training course
Shooting a video training course

Distributing, reviewing and adjusting your content

When it comes to distribution, it is important to choose the right platform for your series. Each platform has its individual benefits and drawbacks. For example, YouTube reaches over 2 billion active users but isn’t ideal if you want to keep your content private. Alternatively, Vimeo doesn’t draw in the same crowds but allows for better video quality and privacy levels. It is a case of personal preference and what best suits the company in question.

Once you have decided on the correct platform for your online video training, it is time to consider how you will get it in front of the right audience. One essential part of this is a good quality SEO plan. Search Engine Optimisation is a process by which you can make your footage appear in a better position on relevant search engine results pages. By doing so, your video content will be landing with all of the right people.

For more on this subject, read our blog on How to Get the Best from Your Video SEO.

With your online training course in place on the worldwide web, its time to measure how it is performing and adjust accordingly. Use analytics and audience reviews to decipher what is working and what isn’t. Through this, you can not only optimise your current training course but learn valuable lessons for future courses. In doing so, you be nurturing those learning from your courses into a community. Once this occurs, you will have a strong basis on which to build a solid customer base.


Building a successful online training course is all about attaining an idea that will connect with your audience and presenting it in a manner that will appeal to them. By grabbing the attention of your audience in the right way, you can make the process appealing. This in turn will lead to the message sticking in their memory, resulting in a win-win scenario for all involved.

Although, as this blog outlines, unfortunately it isn’t quite as simple as throwing the footage together in that manner. It is also essential that you yourself learn something from the feedback that you receive. Going forward, this information can prove an invaluable tool for gaining and retaining the attention of your target audience.

If you have any other queries regarding how to build a successful online training course with video, drop us a line.

Start A Video Project With Us Today

    Let's create your video