Video has become the hot item on the training and learning circuit. In fact, over the last few years I haven’t had a client that hasn’t asked for it. This isn’t surprising considering how connected people are to their mobile phones and screens. Canadian adults aged 18 to 35 are said to spend at least two hours a day on their phones, while Americans spend 11 hours each day watching, reading, or interacting with media.
These statistics are incredible right? It’s no wonder that learning and training solutions have evolved to match these new habits. Full stop, I do see the value in using video for training. I also remember the pendulum swinging in the early 2000’s to a belief that 100% of classroom-based learning could be converted to CBT (there are three letters that show my age) #epicfail. Twenty years later, I feel similar influences kicking in. Here’s the key. I’m an advocate for emerging technologies and next generation solutions, if they are learner centric in their purpose. That means 100 per cent of anything is destined to perform poorly. We need a blend! So, when you’re thinking about that blend and how to make the most of video, here are a few considerations:
What it’s good for
Video is very engaging when done right and there are several benefits from training this way including: It provides you with the flexibility to watch it at your own leisure. You’re not tied to a specific time or location—or even device.
It provides data which gives trainers important details like specific challenges or areas of concern that should be addressed with additional training.
It gives people the opportunity to learn at their own pace. For example, video allows users to pause, rewind or even fast forward.
Things to consider
Video is a phenomenal learning tool when used right. But it’s important to note that:
Content is king—like any other mode of learning. The information and the way you show this must be interactive and engaging or you will lose people’s attention.
Length is important. Uptake on video learning is generally higher across all demographics when it is short and concise.
Leverage the tools right in your hands. With minimal investment, you can turn your mobile phone or laptop camera into a high quality recording solution (e.g. iOgrapher).
Access can be an issue. Even though we live in a virtual world, there are still some that do not have access to a computer, mobile phone or internet. Even for those that do have the equipment, they may not be working in an environment where they are fully technology enabled. Open working spaces are common. Do all your learners have headphones?
People get distracted easily and are often skimming or multi-tasking while they are watching videos.
Accessibility requirements need to be considered. Ensure you are not introducing barriers for persons with disabilities.
It is independent based learning which isn’t always the right fit for everyone.
Remember Heraclitus the Greek philosopher? He was quoted as saying “change is the only constant in life.” Produce your video with change in mind. How will the content be maintained? Will you have access to the voice talent you used if future edits are required?
So, what is a trainer to do and how do we leverage video for training purposes? In my opinion, it’s critical to provide a flexible training program that leverages engaging video, face-to-face instruction, along with other digital learning vehicles to accommodate different learning preferences.
I admit, I will always be a strong proponent of synchronous learning events (i.e. instructor led training). There is nothing else that can provide opportunities for candid discussions, and learning from their peers. There have been many instances where I have learned from participants in the course. It’s such a great way to bring a variety of experiences and perspectives to the table. What’s more, learning this way allows people to address challenges in real-time and provides trainers with valuable insights and data. Body language and tone of voice tell you a lot and you cannot get this information from video training. With that said, video training does have great potential. It has evolved significantly and this approach to training will lead the future—let’s just find the right blend.
Greg Roth Managing Partner Toronto