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6 types of educational videos

6 types of educational videos

Video has become the leading way to educate people, whether it’s about math at school or explaining strengths of your product to potential customers online. According to the recent study at Wyzowl, Internet users watch about 19 hours of video per week in 2022 compared to 10.5 in 2018. Thanks to the visual representation, videos help understand the delivered information easier.

What is an educational video?

Today, we see countless video courses distributed by prominent universities, tutorials on YouTube and Vimeo, training videos from big companies. They’re all educational videos and can be classified by type.

  • Explainer
  • How-to
  • Screencast
  • Lecture
  • Micro
  • Live stream

Now let’s find out what stands behind each type in the classification.


Explainers are usually storytelling videos aimed at a brief introduction to the topic. They generally answer 2 fundamental questions: “What is it?” and “Why is it important?”.

Content makers may prefer animated explainers, as they help represent any information easier. Here’s an example from CNET:

Source: CNET

Explainers can also convey the message to the audience. Their normal duration is 2-5 minutes and such clips rarely go into details and theory.

How-to video

As the name suggests, how-tos are clear instructions on making something. For example, writing a CV or cooking muffins. Ideally, you’d repeat actions from the video to have the same output.

This is a typical example of a how-to video:

Source: Mortar and Pastry

Unlike explainers, how-tos are for viewers with at least a basic understanding of the topic. They’re also known as guides or tutorials.


This one is a subtype of a how-to video: a screen capture with voice comments and sometimes drawing on the captured area. Screencast is nearly the only video type for software tutorials and reviews.

For instance, videos on our YouTube channel are predominantly screencasts:

Because the world of software is rapidly changing, bloggers often make updated screencasts annually.


Lecture video is usually a unit of a larger educational course, sometimes with a digital certificate upon successful completion. Each lecture is dedicated to a single topic, which provides a clear structure of the entire course.

One of the most popular websites with video lectures is Coursera.

Lectures are more theoretical than how-tos, contain in-depth analysis, often produced and therefore recognized by educational institutions.


A short video (1 minute or less) with useful tips or important points to the topic. Such videos are motivating, rich in facts, and contain the essential information to the specific issue.

A micro can be explanatory, instructional, and even a mix of the two. Its only distinctive feature is the short length.

Live stream

Many universities, companies, and even bloggers organize video events in real time. The most popular types are webinars that you can audit and online workshops where viewers are expected to participate.

Such events often require registration, which is good for marketing in your organization. They stimulate engagement, because you can’t just tap Watch Later and get back to the beginning of the video with a single click. However, live streams can usually be sometimes watched on-demand.

What type of educational video should I use?

Each educational video type is suitable for specific goals.

Explainers are great for beginners and laymen, especially when teaching complicated concepts. They’re rather short and informative, but may require higher costs at the production phase.

How-tos are brilliant for showing the process of getting something done or just giving instructions. The audience is familiar with a subject on a basic level and spends another 20-40 minutes to dive deeper.

Screencasts are indispensable in software tutorials.

Lecture would help you create a well-structured educational course.

Micro is a good idea for promoting your educational institution in social media, such as TikTok and Instagram.

Live stream could be a premium option for loyal audiences, corporate trainings, and real-time interaction. Online events also stimulate higher engagement.

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Useful links

How to create engaging teaching videos: 12 useful tips

Top 5 video editors for teachers and students

How to improve e-learning?