Graphic of laptop with video button
eLearning Learning
March 11, 2024

How to Leverage Video in Learning

The way we use video for training and education has evolved. Those 30-minute onboarding courses on a VHS in the 90’s have been replaced by 60-second clips of how-to videos, performance scenarios, and SME interviews. And let’s not forget about the compelling animations and simulations we can create with motion graphics today, or the rapid video development offered by tools like Vyond and Animaker.

Video has come a long way. It’s a mainstay in our daily lives, both personally and professionally. As learning and development professionals, we should lean into the familiarity that our audience has with digesting content through video. Let’s explore the various ways video can be used in your next eLearning module or instructor-led training, considerations to keep in mind when producing videos, and what’s next for video in the future. 

How to Use Video for Training Purposes 

Video as a Tool for Connection and Engagement: Video is more than just an informative or instructional medium; it has the power to evoke emotions and create a deep connection with the audience. Whether you're guiding learners through a step-by-step process, demonstrating best practices with real-world scenarios, or introducing a new course with a teaser video, video content can keep learners engaged and connected to the subject matter.

Video for Challenging Topics and Change Management: 

When faced with topics that learners may resist, or significant organizational changes, using video can be a game-changer. Video content can bring a trusted voice from the organization, such as a CEO or leader, to explain the importance of the information being presented. This adds a human touch and reinforces how learners' actions can impact the organization positively. Video is particularly effective for topics like rebranding initiatives, new policies, workplace health and safety, or cultural changes. 

Soft Skills and Behavioral Training: Teaching soft skills or behavior-based skills through eLearning can be challenging without the interactivity found in a classroom setting. Video, especially scenario-based videos, can effectively demonstrate these skills. Learners can witness the application of these skills in real-world situations and even make choices that affect the outcome, creating an immersive and engaging learning experience.

Instructional and How-To Videos: Some processes are too complex to teach effectively through traditional e-learning techniques. Videos simplify complex content by presenting it visually, with movement and demonstrations. Whether you're instructing on a medical lab protocol or teaching how to brew beer, video excels at breaking down intricate steps and ensuring learners understand and retain the information.

Subject Matter Expert Interviews and Testimonials: Leveraging subject matter experts and peer testimonials through video adds credibility to the training content. It imparts wisdom and real-world insights that resonate with learners. These interviews offer valuable knowledge transfer, and their impact remains relevant over time, even after the experts have retired.

Software Training: When training users on technical applications or software, video is indispensable. It allows step-by-step demonstrations and guides users through the application's features. Video is a must for technical training to ensure users grasp how to use the tool effectively. Keep this training bite-sized, focusing on just one task or action at a time. 

Choosing the Right Approach: Live Action vs. Animation

The choice between using live action and animation for video content depends on the topic, organization's brand identity, and the need for accurate representation of the scene, people, and objects featured in the video.

Live Action: For topics that demand authenticity and real-world context, such as law enforcement training, professional actors or the use of real employees are essential. Furthermore, consider the audience, the industry they are in, and the company’s culture. Will the learners feel disrespected if a demonstration or scenario is acted out with animated characters? 

Animation: Animation is ideal for more conceptual or illustrative topics and may be featured with or without characters. You can present a story with animated characters to grab attention or add levity to a performance scenario while still delivering the key messages. Whereas other animations might be demonstrative of a technique or process and not require the use of characters or people at all. 

Investing in Production Values

The level of investment in video production depends on the content's longevity and the source of the message.

Low Production Values: For content that may change frequently or when the message comes directly from people on the ground, low production values may suffice. In these cases, authenticity is more critical than polished production. Quick, phone-recorded videos can capture real insights and resonate with learners.

High Production Values: For content that has a more extended shelf life, higher production values, including professional lighting, makeup, and high-quality audio, can enhance the credibility of the video. First impressions matter, and polished videos are essential when conveying crucial messages or training content.

Emerging Trends in Video for Learning

The future of video in learning is promising, with emerging trends and technologies (hello, AI) that will reshape the way we approach educational content. Here are some new trends and tools we’re seeing in video being delivered for training. 

Interactive Video: Interactive video is gaining popularity in micro-learning. It might feature choose-your-own-adventure decision points, brief knowledge checks, or a call to action at the end. To implement this approach, you’ll need to produce your video(s) and then leverage a tool to make them interactive, such as Articulate Storyline if you need something SCORM-compliant or a tool like Brightcove (formerly Hapyak) if you plan to stream the video. 

Virtual Reality (VR): Virtual reality has revolutionized training across various industries (especially those with high-risk) by offering immersive and realistic simulations. Learners can get hands-on experience in a safe and controlled environment to practice tactical skills as well as soft skills. To create the immersive experience of VR, you’ll need to shoot the video with a 360-degree camera to capture all angles of the environment. 

Rapid Development Animation Tools: While many training budgets are being cut, eLearning professionals are turning to rapid development tools like Vyond to create their own animated training content. These tools typically have a limited library of existing assets that creators can use to build their video. This style of video is not for every audience, but can be a great, cost-effective way to produce animated content to embed into your training or serve as a standalone educational resource. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI): The AI landscape is advancing faster than many of us can keep up, and that includes AI-driven tools for video. For example, you can speed up your video editing process with Descript, generate a video from text with Runway, or use an AI subtitle generator to boost accessibility. Not to mention, many products we’re used to using, like Adobe, have been making major strides integrating AI into their existing tools. We’re also seeing AI-generated voiceover narration with technology like WellSaid Labs and MurfAI. 

In Summary
Video has been a key player in training and development for decades, and that’s not changing. It’s a dynamic learning approach that not only disseminates information in an easy-to-digest format, it fosters emotional connections, builds excitement, and boosts learner engagement. As you consider how and when to use video to enhance your next learning experience or serve as a standalone training resource, be sure to evaluate your audience’s needs, the company culture, and message when choosing the right format and production level for each video.   Embrace the rapidly-evolving technology at your fingertips and try to stay tuned into what’s new. There’s always a chance a new tool could be your productivity sidekick, streamlining the video creation process.

Angeline Evans

By Angeline Evans, Client Solutions Consultant

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