I had to attend an event a few days ago — not too fancy but not too casual either — so I found myself yet again in front of my full wardrobe closet, contemplating about what should I wear. I didn't want to spend too much time doing that, so I picked a nice plain dark-colored dress and a bright-colored scarf. I then spent a few minutes on YouTube looking for fancy ways to tie a scarf, and then a couple more on actually doing it. The plain dress and the fancily tied scarf became the perfect outfit for my event. And I have to thank YouTube for that.
The second largest search engine, YouTube offers much more than cat videos or funny fails. The how to ... search query returns over 400 million results at the time of writing. I guess YouTube can teach us how to do millions of things!
I for one learned how to fancily tie a scarf, how to make a Merovingian knot on a tie, how to wrap odd-shaped presents, how to cook — and so much more — just by watching YouTube tutorials. And whenever I have a new task to tackle at work, I know I can count on YouTube.
I also know I'm not the only one. Ask any employee about how they learn new things at work and try not to be amazed by how many of them mention how-to videos, tutorials, and YouTube. Millennials, which represent the largest segment of the workforce, know that they can find a video online on anything they need to learn.
Many of today's employees simply associate workplace learning with videos.
4 Reasons to use video for business training
If you're in any way involved in creating or implementing the L&D strategy for your company, you might want to tune in, since I'm about to drill down into four reasons why video should be part of it:
Video for training doesn't have to be expensive
It can be, but it doesn't have to.
It all depends on your specific organizational needs. If you come to the conclusion that each and every video produced for your company has to be professionally made, you have all the managers' approvals and the necessary budget, by all means, go ahead and do that. There are plenty of companies out there offering professional video services.
But there are alternatives. Most smartphones come with reasonably powerful cameras, a tripod for stability and a microphone for clear sound are not that big an investment, and you can find various video-editing software at fair prices. Professionals actors and voice-over artists may be better at speaking and/or performing in front of cameras, but you and the other employees are the ones who best know your company.
Training videos have to help people learn new things they need to do at work.
Senior employees can shoot some videos explaining what they know best. This way, less experienced employees can pick their brains without interrupting them repeatedly. Anyone should be able to access and replay the videos as many times as they need, so the ones offering the knowledge don't lose time answering the same questions over and over.
These videos don't have to be long — they should be quite the opposite actually — and they don't even have to have the perfect setting or light. These videos have to show familiar faces within the company, that share their knowledge with anyone interested.
So, creating videos for training can be done with limited resources.
Video for training is versatile
Companies can use videos to raise awareness about what they do, to market themselves to new possible clients, to recruit new employees, and more — besides internal training.
If we zoom in on training through, videos can be used to deliver a variety of learning content for employees. From on-boarding and compliance training to technical demonstrations of how a product or service works, from fire safety to performance support, employees can be trained by watching relevant videos.
Not only that, but if most training videos are created with company equipment and with the company's employees, they can be easily updated. In industries that working techniques and tools change every few months, being able to keep all training videos up-to-date is always an advantage.
Also, one video can be used in more than one training course. You shoot it once and then you can use it and reuse it whenever necessary.
For example, a detailed video about how a company product works can be included in a course for project managers, in another one for sales and another one for marketing. Even though not every employee is directly involved in the making of that product, they all should know how it works and what advantages it brings, so that they can market it better, sell it better, or simply understand it better.
Video connects the learner in a deeper way
Between plain text and a mixture of text, graphics and images, the visual document will catch learners' attention better. Between plain text, text with visual elements and a video, the video will always win in terms of employee engagement and learning retention rates.
Why is that? Because the human brain is attuned to color and movement and because people people involve more senses when watching a video than when reading a text, be it with visual element or not. Hearing someone's voice explaining something and watching his/her body language while doing so makes people pay more attention to the addressed topic.
What's more, the people in the video have the opportunity to present the facts that need to be learned in the most engaging way possible: by wrapping them inside a story. Even the driest of topics can be associated with a memorable story.
And even if storytelling is not an option, the mere presence of a known colleagues in a training video gives an authenticity touch that text-based courses can never achieve.
Interactive videos make training more interactive
Probably the best thing about training videos is that they can be interactive. No matter how captivating a training course is, if it's online, it keeps learners stuck in a chair, with the eyes glued to a screen. If it's face-to-face, learners can interact with each other and with the trainer, but still have little control over their learning setting.
When an employee has control over what he/she learns, training results are better in terms of everything. An interactive video puts more power into learners' hands, by allowing them to steer their learning process wherever they want. They can try more than one solution to solving a problem, and they get instant feedback regarding their decisions.
This simple thing of choosing A over B in what will happen next in a training video makes employees more interested in what they learn and contributes to higher retention rates. They'll spend more time interacting with the learning content from the video and they'll better absorb the new information they're dealing with. So, when real business situations demand it, they'll have better chances of taking the right decisions.
So, the use of videos in training courses can be done by any company, of any size. The ubiquitous technology makes it possible to create training videos with limited resources, and the same video can be used time and again. Generally, learners respond better to video in terms of engagement and retention rates compared to text-based training courses. Last but not least, videos can add a new and exciting level of interactivity to training, which is otherwise perceived as boring.
Once the necessary videos are created, you as an instructional designer need to find the perfect place for them in one or more training courses. Depending on what your company already uses to manage training materials — a cloud-based business LMS, or other kind of software — the videos should be easily uploaded and then accessed by anyone who needs to learn something new.