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Velfies and bite-sized learning: a recipe for training success

When people have ideas that can solve a need but lack the resources to put them into practice, they access that brilliant part of the brain where creativity dwells. They have to either come up with creative ways to find new resources, or get creative with those available.

Examples abound:

  • pitch and convince rich investors that your idea is worth their money — like the CEO of Uber did, raising billions of dollars;
  • ask everyone for a dime — like any Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign (Music for cats being my favorite);
  • discover the hidden potential in ordinary things — like any student life hack you can think of.

With hoards of millennials taking over the workplace, growing numbers of mobile devices, time constraints, and shrinking training budgets, instructional designers nowadays need to be as creative as possible. While the first two options above — finding the resources they need in creative ways — may hit some roadblocks sooner or later, the last one — being creative with the available resources — seems to lead the way to success.

So, what training technique is cheap, offers just-in-time support, can be accessed on mobile devices, and keeps employees engaged during the learning process?

That's right: bite-sized learning, a.k.a. micro-learning.

And what is the most engaging type of learning materials?

That's right: video is.

Take one step further and you get to the video selfie, a.k.a. the velfie.

What? Velfie in online training?

I bet you met this headline with a raised eyebrow. I sure hope you'll lose it by the end of this post.

So, what exactly is a velfie?

Basically, it's a talking selfie.

A velfie, or a video selfie, is a short video (of one to three minutes), informal, unscripted, and fun. Anyone can create a velfie, a mobile phone camera being the most popular way to do it.

People make velfies whenever they have something cool to share - the atmosphere at a concert maybe, or how the world looks like when sky-jumping.

Why should L&D professionals consider velfies as a part of bite-sized learning?

Mostly, because bite-sized learning is cool. The rest of the reasons include:

  • the cheap and easy way to create them, so all training materials can be constantly updated;
  • their flexibility in application — you can build them once and then reuse and re-purpose them as many times you need;
  • the authenticity they bring along, as they're typically made by employees of the same company, for their coworkers;
  • their attention-grabbing characteristic — the brain engages almost all of the five senses while watching a video (compared to reading text), and since velfies are not yet mainstream, people are naturally drawn to them;
  • their short nature, corresponding perfectly to learners' short attention span.

Benefits of velfies in online training

All of the above characteristics of velfies are the ingredients of the perfect recipe for successful online training programs. They contribute to better engagement and retention rates, as well as to an organizational culture of knowledge sharing.

Better learner engagement

The protagonist of the velfie has this enormous power of transferring or inducing emotions to the audience. We know that emotions can have a great impact over the knowledge acquisition process.

What's more, bite-sized learning modules can include short quizzes at the end, or invite learners to comment on the video, thus adding an interactive touch to the whole learning experience.

Better retention rates

The attention grabbing characteristic of velfies makes learners remember more information than in any other training technique. They can identify familiar faces and settings and watch the short videos as many times they need until they get to mastery.

This means that all training programs, no matter if we're talking about the orientation program, compliance training, workplace safety, or any other type, can become not only shorter, but also more efficient.

A culture of knowledge sharing

Real mastery happens when employees are able to explain a business process or procedure, or how to best perform a task, in words that anyone can understand. Experienced employees are usually better at this, so they are the most qualified for creating velfies for training.

New employees rely on all these pieces of shared knowledge in order to improve their productivity as fast as possible and reach that point when they themselves can make training velfies for others.

Over to you

What's your opinion about the use of velfies in online training? Do you think this could ever become the norm? What challenges can video selfies create for L&D professionals?

Do share your thoughts in the comments section below.