How to Produce Amazing eLearning Videos With Only Stock Videos

If you’re in the eLearning industry, you already know that the amount of people who prefer to learn about a topic by watching a video is staggering. A recent study showed that 87% of users turn to YouTube if they need to learn about something new – that’s a huge reason you should be putting out high-quality videos! If you’re not a Hollywood producer, don’t worry, there’s an easy way to create content that looks good without having to go to film school or break the bank: stock videos. 

Stock videos, also called stock footage or B-roll, are pre-filmed clips that you can buy and use for your own purposes. This video footage is produced entirely by someone else so it saves you tons of time while making your eLearning material look great and drawing your viewers in. You can find stock videos for free or for purchase from a variety of sources online. 

Want to know how to use stock videos to create amazing eLearning videos? Keep reading and we’ll show you our best tips. 

Give Them a Reason to Watch 

If you’re wanting people to watch the entirety of your eLearning videos, you have to be sure that they feel like the content is just as good as the alternative which would be to read instead of watch. Your videos should be just as informative, instructional, and educational as if they were reading from a textbook. 

You want your users to walk away feeling like they saved time by watching a quick video instead of spending all day researching and reading. 

For example, if we wanted to help student drivers learn about the road test,  we could direct them to a page full of information and tips that would take them several minutes to read and hopefully retain. Or, we could create a short video full of the same information as well as visuals and engaging backgrounds to keep their attention. 

Grab Attention Early On

Speaking of attention, you need to make sure that you’re grabbing it early on in the video. Not only will this help your learner remember what you’re teaching them but it will also increase your engagement and retention. Tell them upfront how your video is going to help them and why they should stick around to the end. 

If possible, try to create a sense of urgency to make them feel as if they HAVE to watch this video right away. You can do this by setting a time limit on how long they can access the video. Or, you can appeal to their pleasure or pain senses. Most decisions we make are either based on wanting to feel pleasure or avoid pain – so use that to your advantage. Let them know that your video will help them get closer to their goals (pleasure) or it will help them avoid costly mistakes (pain). 

Keep it Simple

If you’re used to writing blogs or creating eBooks, you need to know that eLearning videos should be far more simple and straightforward. Anything that’s not pertinent or that’s there only to fluff up your content has to go. By cutting the unnecessary stuff, you’re going to save your viewers time and keep your content relevant.  

Dive right into the meat of the subject with little excess so your learners stay glued to the screen ready for what’s next in your teaching. 

Use Text and Audio

Knowing that people learn differently, you need to find ways to engage both visual and auditory learners by using both text and audio in your eLearning videos. Those that learn by reading, they’re able to quickly scan the screen at their own speed and remember the text. For those that learn by listening, the audio will help them whether it’s a narration of what’s on the screen or even sound effects and music. 

Depending on the kind of training that you’re doing, it may be crucial to use both text and audio. However, we recommend giving the learner the option to turn the audio off while still being able to get the same content. This is also helpful for learners who are hearing-impaired or unable to have sound on when watching your video. 

Keep Your Lessons Short

As people’s attention spans get shorter and shorter, it’s best to keep your content as short as possible to be effective. Ideally, your video should be less than six minutes long so don’t post a live lecture and hope your viewers will stick through 45 minutes of talking. 

Instead, remember that watching an eLearning video is supposed to be a passive mode of learning and most viewers want to quickly get the information and put it into practice immediately. 

Choose Moving Backgrounds

Now that you know to keep it short and simple, let’s move on and discuss how to use stock videos in your eLearning. One tip for this is to choose backgrounds that are moving versus still backgrounds. This keeps the viewer’s eye moving and helps keep their attention on your video. 

Any kind of animated background should be chosen carefully to make sure it conveys the right intention and emotions to those watching. Also, make sure that it’s not too distracting or busy. A misstep on either of these will cause you to lose their attention and your engagement. 

Choose Relevant Stock Videos

When looking through the plethora of stock videos available, it’s easy to get distracted by the beautiful images or captivating clips. A word of caution though: be sure that the videos you use are relevant to what you’re teaching otherwise it’s just a distraction. 

Let’s take our app for example. If we were talking about how to pass a driver’s test in New Jersey, we wouldn’t use videos of a retired couple driving a convertible along the coast of Florida. Instead, we would find a video of a younger person driving a car through the desert terrain. This would help our app users picture themselves driving down the road with freedom after listening to their lesson and acing their test. Keep it relevant to your subject and save the other clips you find for future lessons. 

Do Not Reuse Same Video Throughout Lesson

Another mistake to avoid is using the same stock video throughout the entire eLearning video. Just like you don’t want to choose distracting videos, you also don’t want the video to become white noise and lose your viewer’s attention. Mix it up (while still keeping it relevant!) and use several stock videos in your lesson. 

An easy way to do this is by changing the video with every topic or item. As you work through your lesson, look for natural transitions and change the video at those places to keep visual interest. 

Now, Do It Again!

Now that you’ve made an engaging and educational eLearning video with stock video, it’s time to rinse and repeat! Using these quick and easy stock videos means you can churn out lessons regularly which will keep your content fresh and engaging. Once the videos are out there you’ll reap the benefits for years to come as new learners find your lessons and share them. 


Tim Waldenback is the co-founder of Zutobi Drivers Ed, a gamified e-learning platform focused on online driver education to help teens get their licenses. Tim founded Zutobi to make world-class driver’s education fun, affordable and easily accessible for all.