When you think about corporate training, do you immediately picture digital pages filled with big chunks of text? Sadly, that’s often the reality and those text-laden pages are no fun to read. The level of disconnect there can even be enough that your learners may check out partway through, which means they’re not going to retain the information when the lesson is over.
Thankfully, that does not have to be the reality for your learners. Training videos provide engagement, boost information retention, and help ensure that learners can apply that knowledge in the real world. With that being said, training videos must be created correctly for them to be effective.
The Clarity of Your Message
The single most important factor in creating effective training videos is the clarity of your message. If your message is unclear, nothing else really matters. You can spend additional time and money to create an entertaining video that is fun to watch, but if your learners do not come away with a clear understanding of what you’re trying to communicate, the video has failed to do its job.
This begs the question, how do you ensure clear messaging, then? First, you’ll need to define what it is you want your learners to be able to do after watching the video. You might want them to be able to practice a specific type of behavior or make use of specific knowledge when performing their job duties.
Be as particular as you can in defining this. The more accurate you are, the clearer your message will be. Once you’ve done that, you need to ensure that your core points are clearly outlined in the video script. Ideally, you’ll present those points at the very beginning of the video, then reinforce them or explore them in greater depth later on.
Make It Simple to Understand
Training videos can be powerful tools that enable visual learners to grasp topics they might otherwise struggle with. They can also be great ways to provide a visual representation of something that would be too complex to create written content about. For instance, it’s simpler to understand how CPR works when you can watch a trained professional practice it on a mannequin than it is to read and understand the steps.
However, don’t assume that just because something is in video format it automatically becomes easy to understand and digest. If your video is too long and too complex, your learners will still struggle to retain the knowledge you’re sharing.
To get around this issue, you’ll need to follow a process called “chunking”. It’s a cognitive psychology tool used in fields as widespread as copywriting and financial management. The gist of it is this: You take a large, complex topic and break it up into smaller, more manageable chunks. Learners can more easily digest those chunks, helping to ensure that they can retain as much information as possible.
So, how does that work with training videos? Let’s say you have a video over workplace safety. In the video, you walk through an entire production plant, focusing on multiple safety concerns. Chances are good your learners are only going to remember some of what you cover in that lengthy video.
A better option would be to create multiple training videos on the same topic. For instance, one video could cover storing hazardous chemicals in the plant. Another could cover material safety data sheets. Yet another could cover proper lifting techniques. You get the picture – a series of shorter, highly-targeted training videos allows you to cover all the topics necessary in as much depth as you need while also ensuring that your learners can easily absorb and retain the knowledge.
Don’t Neglect Entertainment Value
Think of the most successful online videos you can remember. Chances are good they’re advertisements for another company, aren’t they? And, even if you can’t remember what the product was, you remember the video and the entertainment it offered. Taco Bell, Apple, Nike, Audi, VW – these are just a few of the companies that have managed to fuse a compelling message with good entertainment value.
You need to do the same thing with your training videos. No, you don’t need to spend the millions of dollars that those companies did in the process, but you do need to make your training videos entertaining enough that your learners enjoy watching them. If they’re boring, dull, and monotonous, they’re not going to deliver the results that you want.
Really want to ramp up the engagement of your training videos? Make them interactive. With the advent of digital technology, you can deliver interactive video content to almost any device, including smartphones and tablets. What sort of interactivity, though?
You can go about this in many ways, including the following:
- Add gamification elements
- Add quizzes
- Use discussions
Tie in Emotions
Training videos must connect with human learners to be effective. Human beings are emotional creatures, so it follows that your video content needs to tie into that somehow. How, though?
Ideally, you’ll start with an emotional goal – what emotion do you want to evoke in your learners? The emotion should relate to the message you’re sharing and it should help cement understanding for your learners. For instance, you might tie professional development into doing things right on the job with a sense of pride and accomplishment. You could tie a video about teamwork into an emotional feeling of being connected with your coworkers.
Creating effective training videos does not have to be rocket science, but you must follow some specific rules. Have a clearly communicated message, tie into emotion, make it interactive, and add some entertainment value into every video. Break big topics down into smaller chunks to ensure that your learners can easily absorb the knowledge.