February 11, 2019

Possibilities and Challenges of Video Content in eLearning

Did you know that 90% of customers say video helps them make buying decisions and 64% of customers say that seeing a video makes them more likely to buy? Given that about 65% of the global population comprises of visual learners, it’s safe to assume that familiarity with, and the inclination to learn via this medium can offer compelling arguments in favor of video as an excellent medium to deliver eLearning content.

Video-based eLearning can undoubtedly be interactive and engaging. However, using it indiscriminately within eLearning content, and even attempting to use it as the primary medium of eLearning, can deliver results that are not always positive. Although it has improved effectiveness by more than 60% in some cases, video in eLearning has also resulted in failed implementations. This is largely because, merely employing video does not guarantee effective eLearning. To ensure that the full potential of video is tapped, it is necessary to take a few other factors into consideration.

Here are a few simple questions you can ask yourself to make sure video, as a medium of eLearning, works for you:

  • Is it a good match?

The many advantages of video as a format can easily sway you. However, to ensure its effectiveness, it is best to determine at the outset if your learning material suits this medium. After all, videos will cost more to produce than some other training methods. If the size and scale of the project do not justify the expense, then videos clearly aren’t the most sensible option. If your content requires constant updating, video might end up singeing budgets. On the other hand, if your content needs to be engaging, portable, easy to duplicate and consume, or simply be visually presented, then video could be your best bet as a learning tool.

  • What’s the right type?

If you’ve decided that video is going to be your eLearning tool of choice, you need to think about what kind of video you’d like to use. For instance, contextual videos are helpful if the objective is to instruct learners on what to do in certain situations- company policy, standard operating procedures, etc. are good examples. A demonstration is extremely effective when you need how-to instructions, which is something that sales teams might find it useful. If you need to break down complex concepts for your learners, analogy videos could be considered; an upskilling initiative could be effectively boosted this way.

Simply put, the best results are achieved when you are clear about the expected outcome and employ the right type of video as per your requirements.

  • How long should it run?

Duration is a crucial aspect, when it comes to making videos effective. Short videos that have an optimal length of about 5-10 minutes are ideal. Anything longer would bring back unpleasant memories of being in a classroom and having someone drone on endlessly. Not only are short videos easy to consume in one sitting, editing for this length helps distil the content to its vital elements,  unsurprisingly, helps both, the quantitative and qualitative retention of information. A shorter video also means less time to load, as waiting for a video to buffer can be frustrating, which is an undesirable emotion to be carried forward into the learning session.   

  • What about the script?

Just because you have appealing visuals does not mean you can neglect the text that forms the voiceover. It’s best if you use the active voice, and stick to short sentences for your script. Eschew words like the one at the beginning of this sentence, as you will be addressing a diverse audience; simple words are easier to follow and retain. Also, ensure your message is clear, since beating around the bush certainly doesn’t help anyone. Finally, write a script that’s fun and relatable. Video is attractive because it can be an engaging and entertaining medium; but if the script is mediocre, your entire video could become drab and tedious.  

Video as a method of eLearning allows for easy duplication. Look at the universality of flight safety videos, for example: one video works on all flights and it’s just the language of the voiceover that requires changing. So, while creating a video-based eLearning module might be a somewhat expensive proposition, its ability to be duplicated and its immense versatility would probably ensure a saving in overall training costs. Thanks to its distinct edge over other media, video in eLearning could be an invaluable tool that helps you create easily digestible content that is accessible anytime and anywhere, and can make the entire learning process much more enjoyable. However, it’s important to keep in mind that a poorly made video, or the mismatch of the video type and learning need, could easily derail the eLearning process.