According to the Social Science Research Network, visual learners make up about 65% of the population, which is why video content has become an increasingly important delivery method for eLearning content in the corporate landscape. Seeing how videos go viral online shows that disseminating content by online video is so much faster than traditional print or radio distribution, and often way more engaging as well. In the workplace environment, however, what makes for an effective training video that engages learners while boosting their retention of the material and its application on the job for greater productivity?
It goes without saying that the most critical factor in creating an effective training video is clearly conveying the core message(s) of the learning. One useful way to frame this is by asking yourself the question: What do you want the learners to know or be able to do after completing the training? The more clearly you can define that with as much detail as possible will go a long way toward ensuring that the video course you create will accomplish what you want from it.
For example, if you were creating a training video about “How To Be An Effective Leader,” you’d want to outline in detail the leadership qualities you want to see and put those front and center in the material. Clearly present your core points in summary form at the start of the video, and then circle back around to review them at the end of the video. This will help you keep your message clear and on point throughout the middle portions of the video. Keep in mind that if your content gets sidetracked, then your learners will also get sidetracked, reducing the effectiveness of the video.
Break a broad topic down into “chunks” that can be easily digested with memorable core points and takeaways. The more complex a topic, the greater the need to simplify it into smaller pieces that each cover an important aspect of the overall message or process. This will enhance the learner’s ability to retain the content learned.
While the initial summary of what will be covered and the final review of what was presented should be relatively straightforward, if not boring, the middle portions where you go into the details of each piece of content can and should be as entertaining as possible, as long as the “entertainment” aspect doesn’t distract from the content. Finding ways to incorporate the following will make the material more entertaining and engaging:
- Animations and scenes to visually represent learning.
- Humor to engage with the audience.
- Good acting (bad acting will detract from the information being presented).
- Good writing (good acting can’t hide bad writing).
- First-hand accounts and experiences.
By way of example, listing out safety precautions as text probably won’t help learners remember proper procedures. Instead, have a dialogue between two workers about the safety precautions, or demonstrate how and why those procedures work within the specific environment. Text can be used to reinforce the points, but will bore learners if text is the only way they are conveyed. The winning formula here is entertaining = engaging = better retention.
Along with entertainment, you want to evoke an emotional response that further conveys the message and cements its understanding in the minds of learners. Any time you ask people to do or learn something, they want something that will motivate them to do it. Visually showing the positive effects of getting something right on the job, or the consequences of getting it wrong, can be very effective ways to get the emotional response you’re looking for that reinforces the learning. But similar to entertainment, you want to avoid going too far with the emotion aspect. Over-dramatizing anything can make it seem false or insincere.
Any time you can get learners to engage with the material by interacting with it or with other learners, your content will be much more effective. This can be accomplished through games, quizzes, discussions, reflective journaling, and a host of other ways. Making the learning interactive automatically leads to greater application of the learning on the job in the real world.
Effective Training Videos: The Bottom Line
Creating a clear, simplified message will help your learners understand and remember what you want them to know and do. Providing content that is entertaining, emotionally evocative and interactive will boost learner engagement with and retention of the material so they can apply it real-world situations in the workplace. These are all features that make training videos one of the best ways to visually guide your employees through the steps of learning and implementation that will accomplish your company’s learning objectives.