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How interactive videos shape the future of workplace learning

They say a picture is worth 1000 words. If that is true, how much is a video worth? One million words, maybe? Taking a step even further, what about interactive videos? Should we keep doing the math?

It is probably invaluable, anyway. At least in today's day of workplace learning and the strive for engaging learning materials. We are witnessing a shift in workplace energy, as employees put a great value on continuous learning opportunities at work, demand personalized learning experiences and show their back to irrelevant training or downright boring company presentations.

From text to video in e-learning

Technology advances enable instructional designers to meet these expectations. Cloud-based LMSs allow for creativity in creating courses, while their analytics and reporting tools keep instructors in the know about their efforts. Data suggest that courses with a mixture of learning materials — text, images, graphics, video — perform better than those based on text only in terms of engagement, time spent on page, attention grabbing or later recall of the learned information. While video-only courses still have a long way to go to become the norm, they are going there, as they perform better than any other kind of courses.

This shouldn't be a surprise, as people are naturally drawn to move and respond to movement. Any e-learning course, no matter how interesting, keeps the learner seated, staring at a screen. Add to this the ever shrinking human attention span, and no wonder L&D departments find it hard sometimes to brag about their results.

“52% of employees are using YouTube for their own learning.”

The consumer learner at work Report,
Towards Maturity in collaboration with Filtered

The report goes on to say that YouTube's repository of searchable, immediately available content makes it the number one choice to fill in missing skills. The familiarity, availability and experience of accessing YouTube should not be ignored by L&D leaders looking to engage staff in online training.

Training videos can be great for performance support, product updates, fire safety, health and safety, quick references, code of conduct and many many more. Video learning is so efficient because it helps the learner experience the learning situation in an authentic way. Seeing similar people or recognizing familiar working activities in a video are emotional triggers that contribute to the learner's better retention of the new information.

Workplace learning unchained: interactive videos

Making a video nowadays is no longer something only the big players in the industry can afford to do. With a decent camera or even a phone and an editing software, everyone can shoot some scenes, edit the shots and upload the video. A professional team of video designers does indeed add up to the costs compared to a one-man performance, but the results are usually better and the expenses still don't require an arm and a leg.

Interactive videos can be embedded in an LMS with just a few clicks. All you really need to do as an instructional designer is to decide where to include the video. A good rule of thumb in this case is to combine high level, attention grabbing information with more detailed background information. Users can click on a button and be fed the in-depth information, or just click on to the next sequence if they consider they already master that part of the course.

Interactive video software allows you to make videos in which users can click on various parts of the screen — buttons, menus, transparent hot spots, text entry overlays — and change the way the direction or narrative that the video is taking.

This is particularly useful when creating branching scenarios with video. Users are immersed in a specific workplace situation and become the main character in the story. What they choose to click in the video influences what happens in the next scene, and so on. They can get feedback on their actions instantly, or at the end of the story.

In any case, making the learners interact with the video — even through a simple click or drag and drop — increases their emotional engagement with the learning material and grows their chances of making the best decisions when confronted with the real world.