If you’re creating eLearning or organizational training materials and you’re on the fence about whether or not to include videos, the evidence is strongly in favor of doing so.
Videos become tricky for some employers and creators of eLearning materials —they’re unsure of whether they’re necessary, if they’re worth the time it takes to create them, and how to make them meaningful and effective.
It’s important to understand just how significant a role videos can play in the effectiveness of eLearning and training.
The Case for Videos
Perhaps the most important reason to think about utilizing at least some video components is because they appeal to the learner’s visual sense. Countless amounts of research shows humans learn better through images than they do simply by looking at page after page of text. Information presented through an image is not just better comprehended and easier to focus on, but it also tends to be retained for longer.
Videos are great for presenting complex material because people often gain a much better understanding through the “show not tell” method. Something that seems highly technical and difficult to grasp in written form often makes more practical sense when presented in a video form.
Similarly, a video allows for a lot of customization in the learning process. The person viewing the material has the opportunity to watch it at a time that works well for them, at a volume that they’re most comfortable with, and at their own pace. If they don’t feel they completely absorbed something that was presented in a video, they have the ability to watch just that portion again, or watch the entire video until they feel comfortable with the material. The capacity to tailor the learning experience to one’s own preferences is an important component across nearly all generations and learning styles.
For employers weighing the value of videos, think about the time that can be saved through the use of a video as at least one aspect of eLearning materials. Rather than having employees go through hour after hour of dense reading material, videos tend to be a much more efficient presentation method.
Effectively Utilizing Videos
Even if you’re already convinced videos are valuable, the next question is how to incorporate them into your eLearning in a way that’s truly going to be effective.
While there’s no right answer, and a lot of how you approach videos can depend on your employees and your industry, there are some basic tips that can be applied universally.
- Keep it concise. The most effective videos are those that are broken up into short, sweet segments. Many learning experts think the most impactful videos are those kept under three minutes. If you have a significant amount of information you’d like to present in video form, intermix small segments throughout materials so there’s a combination of text and brief, to-the-point videos.
- Keep video content engaging by asking the learner to interact. You can add interactive components to a video segment in a number of ways, including a forum-style discussion at the end of videos where the user can ask questions or engage in conversation about what was just viewed. Another way to encourage interactivity is by including a short quiz, questionnaire or poll at the end of a video.
- Use videos as a simulation tool. During eLearning, training videos are often best utilized as a way to create a real world simulation of concepts being presented. They provide a context for training materials that might not be achieved through the use of text and still images alone.
- Let employees know what they’re about to watch. Most people tend to work best when they understand what they’re going to see in a video and why it’s relevant to them. Provide a brief introduction to videos that lays out these concepts, rather than leaving it ambiguous. By showing not just what a video will be about, but also why it’s important, you’re going to make the information contained in the video more salient to the learner.
eLearning is powerful and plays a huge role in today’s modern workplace and one of the big reasons is because of the ability to customize it and make it something that appeals to a broad set of employees. One of the best ways to ensure your learning is effective is by incorporating multimedia components, and in particular short, meaningful videos.