Incorporating a Learning Video is Easier Than You Think
Video is making a comeback of sorts. If you aren’t using video in your eLearning, you are likely missing out on a powerful tool for effective learning. Implementing a learning video is simple and research is showing substantial benefits to using them.
Learning Videos? Really?
Why would we make such a brash statement? Let’s start with some statistics about videos. YouTube videos are viewed over 4 billion times each day. As of January of 2018, an overwhelming 85% of U.S. Internet users watch online videos, which is higher than projected on the graph here. And it is only going up. In addition, Brandon Hall research found that 95% of companies use some form of video for training.
How Did We Get Here?
You’ve got to go back to the Baby Boomer Generation to see how we got started. The late Baby Boomers, from mid-1950’s to 1965, also known as the TV Generation. In many households, you had two working parents, so many of the children grew up being latch-key kids. Television became the babysitter. As a result, viewing went way up.
With the 1980’s we got the multimedia generation. Portable devices for listening to music. New technologies such as computers, the Internet, streaming, and of course Smartphones have made multimedia, particularly video, even more attractive and accessible. Not just the teens or the Millennials. EVERYBODY!
The Case for Learning Video
From a learning standpoint, using video was very popular in the heydays of Computer-Based Training (CBT). Since this type of training was typically delivered from a Laser Videodisc or from a CD bandwidth was rarely a problem. Disc space sometimes became a problem. Most certainly, production costs were a big problem. Sometimes a single training program would cost up to $100 Thousand to produce primarily because of video production costs.
As a result, learning video faded away for many years. Even the popularity of the Internet didn’t make it popular initially because the bandwidth to play it wasn’t there.
However, now that the bandwidth issue has been resolved, video is popular once again. And research has given us many good reasons from an instructional standpoint to utilize video.
With the tools available today, the ability to produce a learning video has become less expensive. High Definition camcorder and audio equipment, along with a simple backdrop, and you are ready to record. Even smartphones can produce quick and dirty videos.
That’s not to say that you can sacrifice sound instruction for cheap and quick. People want high-quality video and to maximize the instructional value it must be well planned.
People will sit and watch kitty videos on social media! That alone should be enough to tell you about the engagement and entertainment value of video. But to put the cherry on top, the statistics we quoted at the top of the page seem to point to the entertainment value of video that just keeps increasing.
Inherent learning method.
Our primary learning method is established as a baby. Watch a toddler imitate someone else. Early in our development, we learn by watching others and attempting to repeat their behaviors. It is the most effective way we learn. Doubt that? How many of your parent’s mannerisms and behaviors do you reflect today? Most likely you have adopted at least a few that have still stuck with you all these years. They weren’t inherited, they were learned.
Learning videos provide that same impact by allowing us to see and hear someone engaged in the behaviors we should imitate.
Short bursts of video on a very specific topic can be an effective way of implementing microlearning. In fact, many believe it is absolutely the best way to do it. And many of their arguments are the same ones we make here.
Creates a better emotional connection for the learner
For learning to be effective the learner must make an emotional connection to it. We establish our best emotional connections with other people. Not graphics, nor animations. Not even cute little kittens. People. Videos featuring people gives that relatability to make that emotional connection.
Allows for greater storytelling capability
With video you can use movement, gestures, role play, audio, and other elements to tell a story. It helps make the story come alive. People “see” it better. Both for children AND ADULTS storytelling is an extremely effective method of teaching lessons. One of the primary reasons is that it helps people draw on personal experience and relate it to the story. Using video makes the story more relatable so that can happen.
Allows multi-sensory learning
Multi-sensory learning increases impacts on learning. Through video we can involve the learners visual and auditory senses, as well as kinesthetic if we include instructions to imitate what they learn in the video.
How to Use Learning Video
Once we are convinced that video can benefit our eLearning, what are some of the ways we can use it? Another benefit of the format is how flexible it can actually be. A partial list of implementing a learning video includes
- As a pre-course introduction
As either an introduction to an eLearning course or as pre-work for Instructor Led Training. Showing a brief video sets the stage to prepare the learner by giving them background. It also helps set the tone and mood for learning. ONE CAUTION – what you DON’T want to do here is having a talking head video of an executive extolling the virtues of the training.
- Post-course Performance Support
Develop videos that give more in-depth instruction on particular topics. Or simply provide on-demand videos reinforcing certain systems and techniques that can be accessed on the fly by an employee.
Keep them relatively short (around 5 minutes) but make sure they are content-rich.
- How-to Videos
Videos are great ways to provide step-by-step instruction of techniques, especially if you allow the learner to pause and back up the video. Use overlays of text to reinforce the steps necessary.
- Quick Daily Reinforcements
Very short videos (1-2 minutes) providing a quick learning message of the day. This is particularly useful in customer service roles where they can be both informative and motivational.
- SME-generated Quick Tips
Have senior employees or subject matter experts record tips and tricks from the field. Think about, for example, a manufacturing environment where an experienced operator emphasizes safety procedures around machinery.
Of course, if we are going to use all this video, how do we keep track of what our learners are using? We’ll talk more about that in the next post.