Six Secrets for Successful K-12 Videos


DLA has just completed production on a series of bioscience videos for the K-12 market in the USA. 

Video in K-12 can be a daunting prospect. The volumes required can be huge. K-12 subjects like “reverse transcriptase” or “hox genes” are not always obvious candidates for an exciting video experience. The learner group is wide and diverse. And that learner group - Generation Z video natives - can be a difficult cohort to engage.

With the videos off to classrooms across Florida, here are six things we can share from the experience that will help anyone planning to use video in K-12 learning:

1. Use video for what it does well

Video is great for engaging, inspiring and putting abstract concepts into real world contexts. It can be beautiful, moving or simply attention grabbing. Use those strengths. Video is not great at large volumes of facts and figures. Meet those challenges elsewhere.

2. Don’t be caught in the Literal Trap

It can be tempting to commission a video where words in the script exactly match shots on the screen. Sometimes that can be effective at other times it’s like a bad Powerpoint presentation. Think laterally - sometimes the less obvious picture-word combo makes the most impact. In the TV industry we have a joke about this - an overly literal illustration of script is referred to as being “Lord Privy Seal”. To understand this joke you have to watch a classic David Frost sketch.

3. Less is more

We usually recommend videos run around 1 to 3 minutes. It’s not fixed, they are often shorter and sometimes longer. Adding minutes doesn’t add learning effectiveness. Don’t be tempted to squeeze half your curriculum content into a single video - all you will do is disengage the learners.

4. Take time to consider format

Video for K-12 is defined by volume. There could be 90 minutes easily across a course - feature film length. But you don’t have feature film budgets. So how can you keep quality high and costs low? A well planned format - the right host, a consistent visual style, house graphics, considered music and sound effects - not only ensures a distinctive creative imprint but allows you to introduce an efficient templated production operation.

5. Choose industry pros

You don’t save money by hiring your friend who makes wedding videos. Industry professionals are faster, more creative and innovative and can handle projects at scale. A strong team will create efficient templated workflows that work for you and your budget.

6. Early and central

Video should be central to your digital thinking not an afterthought. Plan from the beginning how video is going to integrate with, and drive, other learning activity. Publishers and editors should be thinking about video - and watching it - before their authors write a single word.