We Should All Emulate This Video, Instructional Designers

I ran across this video by Tyler DeWitt. He’s great. I watched about 5 videos on this topic before I watched his, and whether it was the quality of the others or his skill…I’m telling you this is a thing of beauty. I’m geeking over it. I do instructional videos in my full-time job, thus I am an absolutely qualified expert in this field, and everything I say should be taken into your mind with deep solemnity, and this is how it’s done. Here’s the vid. You don’t need to watch all 7 minutes to get why it’s so great.

  1. He cares. It’s obvious. He likes what he does, he likes the topic, and he’s interested in doing a good job. There’s a passion there that he has and is able to express. I’ll bet he did some drama somewhere along the line. He’s got the pacing thing down. ACTING.
  2. His simple, well-lit self is there the whole time on the right. This setup would not be that hard to reproduce. Overhead cam, front-facing cam, lights on table, lights on him, lav mic. All the rest is his selling it and his lesson.
  3. His lesson which is really well-organized, uses good examples, is well-paced, and takes the ideas one at a time, assuming your brain works like most people’s. It’s like he has special training in … teaching or something.
  4. And yes, he’s teaching. He’s not doing a demo of a problem or trying to solve anything or rushing through it as one part of 18,000 other concepts that need to be included. He’s walking through at a speed which he seems to understand works for beginners. Which means he’s taught it to actual beginners before and knows how to do it effectively. And he’s super reassuring: “Don’t know? We’ll start from scratch.” This is calming and positive in a field that is so confusing. This is really important. In a world of experts who get tired of people not knowing what they know, someone figuring out how people understand the basics and taking the time to do it is gold.
  5. He teaches one thing – what ionic bonding. He does this with a simple example. That one thing. Just defining it in a simple example. One thing. And he takes his time, but not too much.
  6. His materials are cheap, simple, and already written out: paper, marker, simple drawings. This saves time. Again, easy to replicate.
  7. Speaking of his materials, he uses just a couple of props. tyler dewitt color coordinated 1tyler dewitt color coordinated 2The foam model, and the papers. He COLOR COORDINATES THESE.
    This is probably the thing that sent me over the edge. This stuff is so confusing to me that the small act of picking purple for the metal atom and green for the non-metal atom, and continuing to draw them this way through the example blew me away. It’s attention to detail that makes a huge difference in the long run.
  8. He does this whole thing in 3 separate continuous shots. Same session, same clothes, but it’s broken into three pieces, where he does a simple, “and that’s what we’ll talk about next” before he fades away and comes back. Each take between 1-3 minutes. If he messed up one of them that’s a short enough take that it wouldn’t be that long to redo. Brilliant!
  9. He talks like normal people do, even though he obviously knows his stuff.

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