Talking Head Videos for eLearning: 4 Reasons Why They Work


Videos are great storytellers. They can get your audience to connect and communicate with you on a deeper emotional level, even more than words or pictures. They also help build trust as people can “see” you, what you stand for, and really “connect.”

This is where talking head videos are making waves, especially in eLearning. People are spending more time online. And though there are different kinds of video formats, talking head videos have gained a strong foothold— especially post-COVID, when the need for in-person interactions is sky-high.

And it’s also the most straightforward solution to use in your training.

What is a Talking Head Video?

A talking head video is, literally, a video with a person explaining or talking about a topic directly to the camera. In this video format, only the person’s upper body and head are visible.

The instructor is usually off-center in such videos, and the background is primarily blank or plain. Sometimes, the instructor’s image is showcased in a picture-in-picture (PIP) frame in the corner, and the rest of the screen is filled with a screencast, software simulation, or visuals to highlight or support the presenter’s points.

Here are some examples of talking videos in eLearning:

>> “The Future of Storytelling” MOOC by the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam (FH Potsdam) – A plus point of this video is that it’s not just a recording of a lecture that has been uploaded online. The instructor is natural in front of the camera and genuinely likable.

>> Algebra Basics by Rob in Math Antics – Another great example of a talking head video introducing the concepts of unknown values and variables in algebra.

>> Chief Learning Officer video – It’s a slightly different style of a talking head video, where the presenter talks about creating the infrastructure to support lifelong learning. This video creates a more immersive effect with the view transitioning from the camera laptop to the external camera and vice versa.

Done well, talking head videos can help your learners get to know the instructors and institution and provide a personalized experience.

4 Reasons Why Talking Head Videos Work

1. Cheap and easy to create – The sheer number of talking head videos on platforms like YouTube or Vimeo shows the popularity of this format. And it’s primarily because of the minimal operational costs. All you need is a camera, the video script, an editing tool, and you’re good to go! Anyone with knowledge about the subject matter can create them, and it’s also turning out to be a great resource for cultivating a knowledge-sharing culture.

2. Accommodate different learning styles – Not all learners are the same when it comes to retention and comprehension. And the larger your audience, the more diverse are their respective learning styles. Some people respond to words, while others learn better with visuals or audio. With talking head videos, you can ensure that every learner is receiving information in a format that’s easy to digest.

3. The human element – Perhaps, the most important reason for the popularity of such videos. Research suggests that we are more motivated when there’s a human figurehead providing guidance. Such videos offer a semblance and warmth of in-person interactions in the remote and contactless world through several nonverbal cues, including facial expressions, hand gestures, and intonation. Also, instructors often speak directly into the camera in a talking head video to create a personal, one-on-one learning experience.

4. Aligns well with microlearning – Microlearning (bite-sized learning, where the topic is broken into easy-to-learn small chunks) has become a dominant form of course delivery in eLearning. One of the microlearning course types resembles the talking-head video format, consisting of an interview with an expert where they are asked burning questions. The entire interview is recorded and then divided into several shorter clips or micro-videos.

Use More Talking Head Videos to Supercharge Your eLearning

Talking head videos are common, classic, and proving to be extremely effective in eLearning. Because they are so simple to create, practically anyone can make them with minimal overhead. However, there are several experienced eLearning content development companies like Liqvid who can guide you.

We can build your courses with a thorough understanding of your organization’s training goals and vision for the learning curriculum. We have designed several interactive video learning for various global education providers. Recently, we designed talking head-style video courses to transition the green rating certifications for GRIHA-certified projects online due to COVID-19. We integrated such videos into the existing modules with enhanced graphics, resulting in an uninterrupted certification program with a solid online learning experience.

Contact us today to see how we can create interactive talking head videos that work for you.

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Talking Head Videos: A Human Touch to Online Learning


There is a sharp increase in the demand for eLearning video content post-2020. As much as 58% of respondents reported using digital video to learn new skills in a pandemic world, as per research by Google/Talk Shoppe. And it’s not just schools that see an increased demand for eLearning videos – 90% of businesses are now using eLearning regularly, a stark contrast with just 4% two decades ago.

Talking head videos have emerged as the most popular form of business and educational video content out of all the formats. They are simple and personable and act as a great medium to inform, engage, educate. More importantly, they give a “face” to your brand that customers and learners can relate to.

If used effectively, talking head videos offer powerful support for your learning strategy – telling the story of your brand in a way other video formats like product demos or explainer videos can’t match! People are using videos as a tool for learning everything – right from basic skills like changing a tire to installing a new version of the software. In short, videos are good teachers! Let’s see what talking head videos are.

What Are Talking Head Videos?

A talking head video is different from talking cartoons with round or square heads! It’s the simplest video format in which a single person, usually an interviewee or a Subject Matter Expert (SME) or an instructor, talks to the camera.

A distinctive difference between these and other interview-style videos is that the presenter is either standing or sitting and is featured only up to their chest or waist. This is, so they don’t detract attention from their speech or the basic essence of the video. The presenter can either look directly to the camera or to the side, just like in real-life interviews.

Here are some examples that will make it clear what we are talking about.

–> Virtual wine tasting at a Florence castle from Trafalgar: In this talking head video, the presenter Alberto welcomes his virtual audience to a wine tasting in front of a historic castle in Florence, Italy.

–> Shark Tank video of business tips for entrepreneurs: Here, Robert Herjavec from Shark Tank offers business tips for entrepreneurs. The video format switches back and forth between visual slides that emphasize Robert’s points and his talking head!

With the right video editing skills and creativity, you can make some engaging talking head videos.

Benefits of Talking Head Videos in Learning

Using a talking head video for learning has many potential benefits.

1. Accommodates different learning styles: Some learners learn by watching others (visual learners), while some learn from reading words on a screen or listening to a voice-over. The pared-down aesthetics of such videos make it easier for people to focus on what is being said.

2. Supports microlearning: Talking head video formats sync with microlearning as the learner engagement doesn’t wane because of the short training content. It’s a simple and fast way for SMEs to get their message across. Picture a rapid-fire round of questions that you can ask an expert.

3. Easy to create: These videos are comparatively cheaper and easier to make as all you need is a good script, a camera, lighting, and some editing tools.

4. Adds a human touch: As mentioned earlier, a talking head video adds a “face” to your brand. Through nonverbal cues, including facial expressions, hand gestures, and intonation, SMEs can engage learners with a personal, one-on-one experience.

How to Create Talking Head Videos?

Talking head videos are easy to create. Here is what you’d need to start with:

1. Script: You must never start a video without a good script in hand. Though some level of improvisation is great to bring in the natural element, a script is always helpful.

2. Recording equipment: Next step is the proper equipment. Usually, a video camera on a tripod or two video cameras to capture different angles is good enough. You can also shoot the video on your phones or laptops.

3. Microphone: Though today’s devices are powerful enough to catch the voice signal, having a quality microphone will minimize noise distractions from the background and ensure a crisp sound.

4. Lighting: Access to good natural lighting is the best, but ensure you’ve decent lighting in place if you’ve to shoot indoors. Professional studio lights, though expensive, will be the best. Or you can use an LED ring light around your phone or camera.

5. Video-editing software: Use a program to edit the image, sound, speed, and lighting of your video. You can use professional options such as the Adobe PremierePro or any good free program like OpenShot.

10 Tips to Create Effective Talking Head Videos

1. Do a thorough analysis of your audience before writing a script. Follow a structure and mold the language as per your audience. Choose a topic that resonates with your learners.

2. You must rehearse a couple of times before the shoot to help you handle nervousness and incorporate suggestions from people to sound natural.

3. Walking into the camera after the camera starts rolling is a good practice; it allows you to ensure video and audio are working properly to avoid giving that awkward pause initially. You can always edit the gaps out later; it’s not a live video!

4. SMEs generally position themselves right in the center of the screen while shooting videos. If you position to the left- or right-hand side, there will be enough space left on the screen to share any graphics, text, or subtitles.

5. SMEs must pay attention to their posture and body language and speak slowly to sound natural.

6. Shooting with two cameras placed in opposite corners will give you good results. You can cut between different angles to make your video more visually stimulating and engage your customers.

7. You must always stick to the time limit so you can make shorter and more engaging videos.

8. Adding a few supportive elements like a whiteboard, on-screen text, symbols, or sounds to the videos is always a good idea to engage learners.

9. Add captions and subtitles to make your video content accessible for hearing-impaired learners.

10. When making an eLearning video, always give reference links to other videos or resources that the learners can refer.

When to Use Talking Head Videos?

1. Customer journey: A talking head video is the best medium to use at any stage of the customer journey.

–> To build brand awareness, use these videos to inform and educate.

–> To develop trust in your business, place it on your landing page, encouraging customers to buy.

–> To increase conversions, use it as part of your email campaign.

–> To tell your customers how to get the best from your product or service, send it to them after purchasing.

2. Remote onboarding: To bring in an element of connection among your new hires, use the talking head videos from the company’s CEO and a few team members to talk about the company mission and culture.

3. Instructor-centered online learning: Talk head videos work exceptionally well in delivering teacher-centered or instructor-centered training online. A face-to-face or classroom training can be effectively moved to online learning keeping the connect between the instructors and learners intact.

4. Blend with other formats: You can blend the talking head videos with other forms of video content like explainer videos and product demos to explain business concepts or product features.

Get the Most Out of Your Videos

Educational video platforms for online learning have made difficult topics more accessible and easier to understand. And everyone can make a video these days – the process is relatively simple. It does have a disadvantage, though; it’s a one-way street. The interactive element of an instructor-led session, where learners can ask the SME questions in real-time, is missing. However, with the right strategy combining talking head videos with other training methods and formats and by adding interactivities and knowledge checks, they can be a great value addition to your eLearning program.

Various studies show that using short videos as part of your learning strategy allows for more efficient processing. The visual and auditory nature of videos appeals to a wide audience and makes memory recall stronger.

It’s important to make a video that not only ensures each user processes information in a way natural to them but also resonates with your learners and creates good traction for you in the market. An experienced and reliable digital learning provider can help you make the most out of your videos. Liqvid has developed a suite of blended learning courses with over 34,000 videos and 45,000 learning hours. We offer end-to-end development for talk head videos and have worked with clients across industries.

Contact us today to see how we can create interactive eLearning experiences for you with talking head videos!

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