Picking the Right Format for Your Course

Anamika Nair
3 min readDec 18, 2021


The Medium (ha!) you use to teach your students is a huge determiner in whether or not you retain them. Sometimes, some information requires a breakdown using animation, while other times, a talking head format is perfect for explaining a concept.

Which style is best suited to what you are teaching? Well, that depends on your subject. This article explores the five most common formats of visual techniques used in online courses so you can make an informed decision!

Talking Head

A talking head style video is when you sit before your camera and speak. You will get a video that looks a lot like this —

This style is great for —

  • Introductions
  • Sharing a story
  • Connecting and building trust (when discussing your qualifications)
  • Outros

Presentation Slides

Using a PowerPoint deck focuses on the key points of the lecture, which is useful when —

  • Discussing multi-step concepts
  • Giving key terms & definitions
  • Highlighting main points


Animated videos are helpful when you need to explain more complicated concepts that require a visual aid. Subjects like history do not need visual aids (although it’s definitely fun!), but topics like how an engine works or blockchain technology can benefit from animation.

The benefits of an animated course are —

  • It grabs attention
  • It is known to boost retention
  • It simplifies complex or abstract concepts
  • It has a proven higher completion rate

And there are many types of animation to choose from, depending on the nature of your brand. I have an article about the different animation styles used in e-learning platforms, which you can find here.

Screen recording

Screen recordings are perfect for courses centered around software. You can ask students to follow along as you teach Photoshop or even coding.


This format goes with any of the above forms and is vital to any course. It engages students and gives them an idea of their progress so far.

You can also use quizzes before introducing the next topic so students can test what they already know.

For the most part, you can mix and match these formats as necessary. But use this power wisely! Talking Head and Animation won’t do well together, but Talking Head with occasional cutaways to Presentation Slides will be great for teaching things like digital marketing or financial management.

If you’re thinking of creating a course and need some guidance on structuring and scriptwriting, you can contact me through my website! I offer additional services like branding, animation, voice-over, and promotional content creation.



Anamika Nair

Helping freelancers tap into A.I to improve their businesses and mental health