Course Creation Camp: Producing Your Instructional Video

This tutorial will help you create your first instructional lecture on Udemy. The first instructional lecture in your course is the most important. It’s where your students will decide whether they can learn from you or not! A good first instructional video will lead to more committed and satisfied students who spread the word about your course. Once you’ve learned the routine, this process can be used for all of your course lectures. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Know exactly what you want to talk about

If you’ve created a solid course outline then you already have the main focus of each lecture written down. That should help you craft your individual lectures. For every lecture follow this one simple rule:

Have one (and only one) concept for each lecture. And stick to it!

Or in other words: No tangents, no spiralling, no bloat.

Help your students focus on the concept at hand, repeat it often and make sure everything you cover is directly related to the one and only one concept of the lecture. Instructors who do this right receive very positive feedback from Udemy students.

Step 2: Make a video that is easy to follow

Students can’t see and hear multiple things at once. Udemy students prefer videos which are easy to follow, meaning they know what to focus on and don’t get distracted. Here are a few simple steps to show you how to do this:

  • Make sure your students know what to look at:
    • Avoid distracting backgrounds (e.g. too much movement in the back) or lighting that draws attention away from you – their instructor!
    • Try using screencasting techniques like zooming in or using larger font sizes for text when you want your students to focus on that really important part of your screen.
    • If you’re using images, make sure they have a high resolution.
    • If you’re using slides, don’t add more than three bullets per slide, use images when possible, and be sure to speak to every visual element so there’s nothing hanging there confusing your students.
  • Make sure your students hear the right things:
    • Make sure your audio recordings are loud enough, have a consistent volume, and are free of background noise.
    • Don’t play musical loops for videos longer than a couple minutes.
    • Pronounce words accurately, edit out all uhms, pauses, or verbal mistakes.
    • Avoid overusing the word “we.” When you refer to yourself as “I” and your student as “you,” you’re keeping them focused on who is doing what.
  • Choose your words carefully:
    • Avoid jargon whenever possible.
    • When you introduce a word that may have different meanings in other contexts (like the word class in object oriented programming for example), be sure to include a brief jargon-free definition, and refer back to that definition the next few times you use the word. Students need reminders to help them get used to the new way you’d like them to use a word they’re already familiar with.

Step 3: Review your video before you publish it

Awesome, your video is done! So that’s it, right? Not quite. After all the work of making a great instructional video, it might be tempting to just publish it and be done. But always review your instructional video before you publish. This is one-time pain for long term gain, so don’t be afraid to do retakes if you’re not 100% satisfied! Your students will appreciate the effort.

When you review it, you want to focus on two separate things:

  1. First, review the video and look for any verbal mistakes, pauses or “uhms”, and be sure to edit those out.
  2. Second, focus on the content of your delivery. Try to think like a student. Go through it slowly and see how easy it is to follow along. Watch the lecture with your intended learning goal in mind. Did you cover the goal?

If you can, review the instructional videos a few days after making them so you don’t remember every word you said.

Step 4: Course Creation Camp

Now that you’ve finished filming your instructional lecture, it’s time to earn those #SummerCamp points! Here’s how:

  1. To share your lecture video in the Udemy Studio, upload it as a test video and post the link – be sure to use the hashtag #SummerCamp.
  2. To share your lecture video in the How To course discussion board, upload it to Youtube and then share the link in a new discussion board post – don’t forget to use the hashtag #SummerCamp.
  3. Your post will earn you 20 points and you’ll receive feedback from the community and Udemy’s Instructor Team!

4 thoughts on “Course Creation Camp: Producing Your Instructional Video”

  1. Ranganathan says:

    Thanks for detailed guidelines.The student gives you 9/10 for the clarity.
    I need following clarifications.
    i) Recommended length of video (3,/5/10 mts)
    ii) I am planning only audio on ppt for the rest of my course.Udemy’s views pl.

    1. Udemy Instructor Team says:

      Hey Ranganathan,
      Your videos need to be between 2 and 20 minutes, but we recommend aiming for closer to 5-7. We also do recommend having some talking head videos in your course (particularly in your introduction) but this is not technically required. You can check out all of the requirements and recommendations here:

  2. Robyn says:

    Hi Udemy Instructor Team:

    Would you please clarify if “instructional video” refers to all videos – for all lectures for the entire course – or the first one only?

    I notice that with a number of courses, the first video is the same as the “promo” video. Is that okay?

    Looking forward to your response.

    Many thanks,


    1. Udemy Instructor Team says:

      Hey Robyn, we refer to all course lectures that aren’t an introduction or a conclusion as an “instructional video” — they’re the ones where you’re really teaching something, not just summarizing! Many courses use the same video for their promo as for their intro, but we do recommend that you have two separate videos (although it is not required). Hope this helps — let us know if you need some more clarification!

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