What makes educational content work?
When posed with the question, “how do you make educational content engaging?” you realise then that, as the content creator, you take on the role of the teacher. So, the question becomes, “as a teacher, how do you engage your students?” Here it is most useful to think back to the teachers that influenced you the most as a kid and the answers become obvious.
Humour – While it’s not proven to increase information retention or shed clarity on complex ideas, humour is an incredible tool to promote “listening in the first place”, a key challenge for all educators. And it’s not just a matter of paying attention, humour makes the teacher more human, relatable, likeable. It promotes not just listening but listening with intent.
Interactivity – My favourite lessons were always practical subjects and my least favourite were made bearable by the activity associated with the lesson, not the delivery of the lesson. This doesn’t mean your content needs to be some addictive gamified app, all it means is there must be an element that allows for participation. A quiz, a question, a task, an exercise or even a chat (but a game would be cool).
Variety – Any day at school where something different happened was always the best day. If your content is all digital, try something physical. If it is all animated, try some stills. As vast and varied as media is, try injecting just a piece of that into your content to avoid monotony.
If these three aspects are covered, your educational content is engaging. It works! There are lots of other tricks good teachers will use to grab and retain attention and promote learning that transfer seamlessly to educational content creation. So to become engaging, start thinking like a student.