In case you were wondering whether video should be part of your learning strategy:
- “Employees are 75% more likely to watch video than read text.” Forrester Research
- “82% of employees learn better from visual content like video than static content like PDFs.” Rapt Media
- “By 2019, 80% of global internet consumption will be video content.” Cisco Study
- On YouTube, “education videos are viewed twice as often as those found in the Pets & Animals category.” Forbes
Note: We are not talking about repurposed lecture content. We’re talking about video designed for learning.
On Wednesday, I joined the eLearning Guild’s Spotlight event, The Video Revolution. They brought together a group of speakers with deep expertise in video design for training. Here are my top 15 insights.
Leila Ortega and Jason Bramlette from Cisco Systems kicked off the Spotlight with the nitty gritty of getting started producing video for learning. Which for most of us means we need to produce professional videos on a lean and mean (if any!) budget. They’ve been there/done that and had great insights to share. Loved the crowdsourcing around free and cheap equipment recommendations.
Insight 1: If you have a smartphone, you can produce a professional training video. What you need to buy: tripod with rotator, basic light kit, and either a green screen or white screen (and this can be accomplished for around $100). Or forego the screens and find interesting shooting locations for free. What you likely already have (or can borrow): in-house talent, office laptop with a free teleprompter app installed, makeup, appropriate clothing selection, and audio/video editing software (you can either acquire free or your org probably already owns). With planning, you can create effective video segments.
Insight 2: When you’re working with your in-house talent, don’t be afraid to go with someone else if it’s just not working out. Leila and Jason shared examples of how forcing a square peg into a round hole makes you uncomfortable, makes the talent uncomfortable, and ultimately that is evident in your final product. They recommend that even if you’ve gotten started on shooting, don’t be afraid to shut it down and find the right talent for the job.
Insight 3: Video is a storytelling medium. Make sure your setting is telling the right story. When taking test footage, examine the backgrounds you’re planning to use to ensure they are professional, appropriately lit, aren’t cluttered, and support the story you’re telling.
Insight 4: The easiest and highest quality lighting for a shoot is outside on an overcast day. No harsh shadows. Just right for color and consistency.
Robert Leavitt and Benjamin Miller from Investools/TD Ameritrade shared their story of starting with simple video and building a curriculum that was later featured in prime-time TV spots. I loved that they not only addressed the qualities of video that make for great learning, but shared their approach to building a robust microLearning curriculum.
Insight 5: Design your projects by analyzing the success of other videos your target audience likes to view. Get to know the aesthetics your specific audience looks for by watching what they watch. Do they gravitate toward animation or is live action receiving more hits? How long/short are the videos? How broad or granular is the content. Analyze the content your learners consume for insights that will drive eyes to your content.
Insight 6: Low fidelity does not mean low quality. When video producers make the decision between high fidelity production values and low fidelity, they need not be sacrificing a fine product. We can’t all produce Pixar level films. But we can use modest end tools to achieve great training results. Check my Twitter feed for a few of the recipes Robert and Benjamin recommend.
Insight 7: Your microLearning curriculum is like a building site. You must begin by thinking modularly about your training – will your content blocks stand alone or must they be watched in order? And consider what connects the concepts in your curriculum — will it be entirely video or will you incorporate other content assets alongside video? This strategy warms my heart because I am all about incorporating micro content into learning pathways.
Insight 8: Know when video isn’t the best format to meet your learning objective. Benjamin and Robert recommend if something can be conveyed easily without video, consider foregoing video.
I loved Caleb Hanson’s presentation on interactive video. Such a powerful method for reimagining video production to allow adult learners the autonomy they crave by choosing their own adventure within branched video scenarios.
Insight 9: Caleb’s Ctrl, Alt, Delete presentation structure is the perfect set up for adopting interactive video in your learning strategy. Learner’s want Control; and if interactivity amounts to just bells and whistles, it’s not valuable. We must embrace Alt (Alternative) methods for meeting the needs of our learners and interactive video scales from simple to complex allowing even “nerd free” teams to get in on the advantages (with tools like Rapt Media). And finally, we’ve got to Delete ourselves and make the learner central to the training. Interactive video puts the learner in the driver seat of their own learning.
Insight 10: Consider applying the traditional card sorting exercise information architects use to your interactive video design. Get inside the minds of your target audience to make the scenarios most relevant and appealing to them.
Insight 11: Want to know what Lynda.com uses for interactive video? Camtasia on Windows and Ambrosia on Mac.
Check out great examples of interactive videos in Rapt Media’s Showcase.
Ken Thomas and Bob Beauchamp from United Federal Credit Union rounded out the day with another alternative: using streaming video in your eLearning and knowledge management system without breaking the bank on studio set up for “show me” demos.
Insight 12: “Show me” demo videos are great for novices learning the ropes and experts reviewing steps to complete a task at hand. Recorded streaming video offers a simpler alternative to complex studio production and can be captured from the comfort of your web cam. Ken and Bob walked through how they use Camtasia allowing them to capture the warmth of the talent as well as the screen animation necessary to demo workflows.
Insight 13: Consider your office your studio. Which means you need to think about what’s in the background of your shot, controlling acoustics, setting your lighting, and adjusting your camera angle to simulate eye contact.
Insight 14: You still need to storyboard your streaming video. Your storyboard should include key shots, screen actions, and talking points. Keep it simple and to the point. Never waste learner’s time.
Insight 15: Ensure your “show me” videos address the level of need. The screen scenarios you step through should address common processes as well as main issues they will encounter. If you need to address multiple variations, you need to create multiple demo videos.
No more excuses! Video training scales to all size organizations. And is a requirement for relevance.