The value of scripting

Even some of the most experienced speakers can get nervous in front of a camera. To ensure a smooth and easy delivery it’s helpful to prepare talking points or a script before you record. Writing a script also helps guarantee you’ll hit all your key points and that you’ll explain your course content clearly and concisely.

Create your first lecture

The introductory lecture is one of the most important parts of an online course because it sets the tone and expectations for your learners. Learners will often preview this video before enrolling to help them decide if it’s right for them. Keep your first lecture brief but impactful, between 2-4 minutes.

Here’s a roadmap to follow to help you write your introductory script:

  • Start by welcoming learners to the course. Introduce yourself and explain why you’re the best person to teach this course. 
  • Help learners learn more about who the course is designed for. Who will benefit the most from taking your course? What level of knowledge should they already have about the topic?
  • Set the expectations for your course, telling your learners what they’ll learn and be able to do by the end of the course.

Remember that this video is your learners’ first impression to your course and of you as an instructor, so show your passion and enthusiasm for the topic. Engage learners’ interests to motivate them to continue on with the course. Have fun and your learners will too.

Scripting best practices

How you want to write your script is up to you, but here are some best practices to keep in mind to make sure that your video content is clear and engaging for learners:

  • Keep things simple. When you’re recording your videos you’ll find it easier to read your script if your sentences are short and clear. It’s also easier for learners to process and understand shorter sentences.
  • Define key terms and acronyms that learners may be learning for the first time and avoid using jargon or abbreviations that could be confusing. Remember, your learners are not experts in your topic just yet!
  • Keep accessibility in mind. Make sure your content is usable by as many people as possible. In your script, describe visuals, use terms consistently, and avoid using too much slang. 
  • “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.” This simple structure is a great way to plan the script for each lecture. Start by introducing the concept you’ll cover, explain the concept, then provide a brief summary of the concept.
  • Use diverse stories, examples, and reflection questions to engage your learners. Stories and examples are powerful tools to help learners understand concepts and connect what they’re learning to their own experiences. Activate learners’ prior knowledge by asking them to reflect on their own experiences or how they might relate what they’re learning to their life.
  • Keep your tone friendly, approachable and knowledgeable. Your learners may encounter challenges as they learn about your topic for the first time. Be encouraging and let them know it’s okay if they need a little more support at first.

Practice makes perfect

As you write your script, remember that you will eventually speak it out loud when you record your videos. It’s helpful to read your script aloud as you write it to ensure it sounds natural and flows well. Some instructors use speech to text technology to help them script in a more conversational tone. No matter what method you use, make adjustments to your content as you go. Edit anything that sounds off as you read your script out loud.

Before you start recording your videos, practice reading your script out loud as if you were delivering it on camera. Record a video of yourself doing this so you can watch it later and assess if you want to make any changes to your delivery. If you’re feeling really bold, share it with friends, family or colleagues to gather feedback on how you might improve your delivery.

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