How to Create Customer Onboarding Tutorials

Create customer onboarding tutorials with Christine and Angela at Linkedin.

Zight | October 25, 2018 | 6 min read time

Article Last Updated: July 13, 2023

How to Create Customer Onboarding Tutorials

Recently, I hosted a Zight (formerly CloudApp) webinar on “How to Create Customer Onboarding Tutorials”

Christine Bower and Angela Wong, both Instructional Designers at Linkedin. They shared knowledge about how to educate customers and bring your internal team up-to-date about features. At LinkedIn, Christine teaches her Sales Team through customized tutorials and presentations. On the other hand, Angela writes on-demand learning materials for the Customer Success team. You can watch the webinar below or read our event summary.

Part 1 with Christine Bower

Simplify Customer Education with Instructional Design

Instructional design concepts have been around since World War II. Instructors would educate soldiers on how to use artillery and machinery. They reviewed this process again and again until it yielded the best results. Designers consider the optimum learning style for an audience. This is valuable to companies who want to cater customer interactions and products to their customers. Instructional designers build their curriculums around the best customer education methods.

Christine’s Process to Set Up a Tutorial

Step 1: Research to evaluate their level of knowledge

Step 2: Identify Content Opportunities

Step 3: Create a tutorial

Step 1: Research

Ask Effective Research Questions

Before diving into create a tutorial for your customer, you need to get to know them. Ask yourself questions and understand:

  • Are they experts?
  • Are they beginners?
  • What do they already know?
  • What do they need to know?

Christine gathers answers to understand what customers would like to achieve. Then she figures out how to make those goals measurable. Most people she trains think WIIFM “What’s in it for me?” Christine says to focus on the benefits, and get people excited to gain something from watching your tutorial.

Instructional Design for Sales Teams

Christine’s main focus at LinkedIn is to help sales teams reach a quota through instructional design. She works with the sales team to empower representatives and drive more sales. They use a collection of tools to advance a sale with prospective clients. Sales representatives at LinkedIn work closely with instructional designers. They take part in peer-to-peer collaboration, onboarding, ongoing training, post onboarding, and conversations with managers.

Step 2: Identify Content Opportunities

Christine surveys coworkers and researches confusing topics to look for new ways to better educate people about her product. When approaching a new content terrain, she’ll ask questions like:

Who are your subject matter experts?
These are experts and masters of their respective subjects Christine translates what they say into beginner languages.

What are the current gaps?
In which areas do you need more research?

What is the desired behavior changes?
What will your presentation help the customer accomplish?

The Modes of Instructional Design

Who would have thought there were so many ways to learn!

  • Online
  • Blended
  • Flipped
  • Synchronous or asynchronous
  • Contextual
  • Microlearning

Step 3: Create a Tutorial

Before she creates a tutorial, Christine begins with the learning objectives. Doing so helps her map out the main goals and subgoals of her tutorial. The formula she uses is:

Given A, learners should be able to B, as demonstrated by C

Christine emphasizes building the end goal into your objective and making it as measurable as possible.

How to Build Out Your Content

Create storyboards

Storyboards illustrate where your message is going to go. Christine says to watch your voice and tone, and use clear language to communicate complex ideas. Storyboards are best when they are short and have a friendly and encouraging tone.

Use emotion and redundancy

A russian quote says that “Repetition is the mother of learning.”

Christine’s philosophy echos that. She says that when you repeat yourself more, you are more likely to increase retention.

Ways to deliver your learning

Determine what which mode of learning would best suit your audience. The three mediums Christine uses are:

  • Video e-learning
  • Digital adoption platforms
  • Delivery systems

Part 2: Q&A with Angela Wong and Christine Bower

Angela Wong is also an Instructional Designer at Linkedin. She joined for the latter part of the webinar. Angela designs and equips the Customer Success organization and Customer Learning Center with on-demand learning resources.

Angela’s overall suggestion for instructional designers is to:

  • Outline curriculums
  • Define your process
  • Have different schools of thought

Follow these steps for the education process:

Analyze | Develop | Iterate | Evaluate

How to Tell Your Story Through Instructional Design

Remember S.A.M. (Successive Automation Model)

It stands for Successive Automation Model. Using a model like this means ability to work smoothly with agile development. Angela says that this process is a continuous one for their team. Both she and Christine recommend using prototypes for a more detailed response.

Tool tips

It is important to be straightforward about your value proposition. Keep it short and sweet. Even though it might be tempting to do a “knowledge dump,” you must always end with a call-to-action. Do not leave your audience hung out to dry, but tell them exactly what to do and where to go.


Video is how their team localizes all of their content. At Linkedin, it helps since they have detailed storyboards to cover a lot of people.


Determine how much time should be dedicated to each screen or frame. Enhance those frames with Illustration. You can rework your storyboards since the process is iterative by nature.

How can you get people to show up to a meeting, ready to learn?

Make it easy and important for your audience to attend your trainings by providing concrete benefits that are relevant to them.

In-person training

While using different tools, they sometimes hold a contest so that their audience can win prizes.

Capture and Keep their Attention

Christine would train people how to capture attention when she worked at YouTube. Leverage the first 3-seconds to engage your audience. That’s where you want to hook people.

“Leverage the first 3-seconds to engage your audience. That’s where you want to hook people.” Christine Bower, Instructional Designer at LinkedIn

Angela recently saw an attention span curve in the context of microlearning. She discusses micro-learning within 2-7 minute videos.

“Rehook people every 7-8 minutes, re-engage them with frequency.”

Christine added that it is important to break up your videos to allow for more interactions. Angela encourages the audience to practice what you teach them, and then evaluate their learning performance. Consider questions such as:

  • What is the minimal viable product that your audience will be happy with?
  • Designate someone to consistently be your SME

Determine Frequency for Content Updates

We now are doing quarterly releases. Until a year ago, it was only ad hoc since engineering and product would make changes without informing Customer Success team. This was not the best process! Subject Matter Experts should let you know when things need to be updated.

Opportunities for Instructional Designers

There are a lot of job opportunities for instructional design opportunities! This includes learning experience designers, content writers, LMS coordinator, very high-demand field. There are many different angles that you can come from. Christine met designers in this field who came from journalism backgrounds.

Voice and tone

Assume people are smart and talk with them like you’re talking with your friends. People tend to write more formally than they speak.

  • Optimism in the writing voice
  • Sense of humor – keep it clean
  • Use simple language and as clear as possible, don’t use jargon, keep it friendly

Use tools like Zight (formerly CloudApp) to record video tutorials.

Learn how to record video tutorials with Zight (formerly CloudApp) here.

Create & share screenshots, screen recordings, and GIFs with Zight