Using videos in your virtual training programs is not only effective, but also cost efficient. In fact, professional services firm, Ernst & Young’s video training led to a 35% reduction in costs and a 52% reduction in training time. Incorporating videos into your training programs is incredibly useful because it eliminates the need for a physical learning space and teachers and allows employees to learn at their own convenience, with regards to pace and schedule. However, not all video training programs are created equal. Below, we have outlined some tactics to create the most effective training videos.
Factors that affect a training video’s effectiveness
There are many factors that could lead to a training video falling short. Firstly, these videos are often too long and stray from the main lesson that the video is meant to convey. Additionally, these videos are sometimes text-heavy when, really, the video itself is a more engaging and effective learning tool for the viewers. In addition to limiting the text on a video, branding and aesthetics can help keep viewers engaged. For instance, ensuring that there is no distracting background noise or clutter, clear volume, and no excess footage at the beginning or end of the clip. Ultimately, clear and concise videos are the most likely to keep viewers engaged and best educate team members.
Here are things to focus on when creating your training videos:
1. Act natural but still prepare
Successful training videos find a “sweet spot” between the speaker being their authentic, and natural self, while still delivering the information in a practiced manner. In order to convey information in a comfortable manner, a lot of preparation must be done behind the scenes. While it might seem feasible to simply begin to record training videos, it is crucial that an educator prepare what they plan to share in the video to ensure the video’s utmost clarity and brevity. A speaker might even consider filming a practice recording to see how they could improve.
Vimeo is an excellent tool for uploading these videos, particularly for their “snipping” feature which would allow for speakers to cut out excess footage at the beginning and end of the clip. Vimeo also offers users the option to add logos and GIFs and to alter their privacy settings.
Programs like Loom and Zoom are excellent for improving a video’s professionalism, but ensuring professionalism does not need to come at a steep price. Both those programs are free yet still allow for users to film advanced training videos.
2. Position yourself well
Presentation is key to successful training programs. A speaker must ensure that there is sufficient lighting from the front and sides while the background is dark to avoid the speaker appearing backlit. Speakers should avoid complicated backgrounds and stick to simple colors or scenery, such as a white wall or curtains. Another factor that helps speakers present themselves well is being positioned in the center of the frame, leaving equal room above, below, and to either side. A speaker’s appearance is also critical; speakers should wear appropriate clothing, avoid hair in the face, and practice proper hygiene.
3. Know your audience and keep it concise
One area where these videos often fail is in their length. Sometimes, videos are too long and stray from the main lesson that it is meant to convey. For this reason, it is important that an educator study their audience to know which points need to be highlighted and which are less relevant. President of Partners in Communication Inc, Laurie Schloff, advises segmenting, or “chunking” information into smaller clips if there is more information to cover. These smaller clips are a useful tactic in microlearning. Schloff advises against any videos longer than 7-10 minutes long. myQuest makes this process seamless by allowing videos to be embedded in distinct missions, enabling users to achieve mastery in one topic before moving onto the next.
Alden Do Rosario, CEO of Poll the People, suggests testing the video with real people. By getting real user feedback, you can understand what people are thinking and then improve the video.
4. Laurie Schloff’s “Four E’s” can help you keep your videos concise and engaging
Speakers should jump at any opportunity to incorporate an example. Including examples gives listeners more context and helps them to better remember information. Schloff argues that the more obscure the example, the better.
Professional videos should include impressive statistics, or evidence. Including evidence not only can shock the viewer, which enhances engagement, but also improves a teacher’s credibility.
Short stories and anecdotes are one of the most effective methods to engage a listener. When a presenter shares an experience, they increase their connection to their viewers and better sustain a viewer’s attention. Research even shows that hearing a story is associated with the parts of the brain that create pleasure.
Schloff encourages speakers to “not be shy” and to “express their opinions.” Speakers are experts in the subject upon which they are presenting and should feel comfortable to share their ideas.
5. Use vocal variety
“Vocal variety” refers to using one’s voice as a tool to convey information. When a speaker uses vocal variety, they shift their tone of voice throughout the lesson to emphasize and deemphasize specific concepts thus sustaining a learner’s attention. If a speaker has notes (which they should!), they can even consider highlighting some points that they wish to emphasize with their voice when delivering the information. Incorporating music and visuals is another way to sustain a viewer’s attention, in addition to alterations in one’s tone of voice.
Ultimately, what you put into your training videos determines what your viewers will get out of them
Training videos are an excellent tool for employee onboarding, to teach employees a new skill and for leaders to share their expertise. Authenticity, aesthetics, brevity and vocal variety are just some of the elements of successful training videos. When leaders are intentional about creating videos that include these traits, their training videos have the potential to be incredibly effective and completely eradicate the need for real-life classrooms and teachers.