The need to train today’s corporate workforce did not diminish but grew with the sudden switch to home offices instead of traditional workspaces. People no longer have the opportunity to meet in person and share experiences or simply ask the colleague two chairs over for assistance when it is needed.
Online communication is helpful but not always efficient and almost always more time consuming than face to face interaction.
That’s why L&D teams now face the challenge of providing quality learning opportunities, tailored to the requirements of our ‘new normal’.
Video learning presents itself as a viable choice for delivering much-needed training. The technology is available virtually to everyone, and there is no shortage of tutorials online.
Furthermore, the great number of streaming channels doing quite well offer valuable insights into the makings of an engaging video.
5 Guidelines on how to design video-based training
Yet learning has its own particulars, and when embarking onto educational film making, there are some things to consider. So let’s explore five guidelines on how to design video-based training:
Start with a good storyboard (and stick to it)
Planning is very important because you are not setting out to create an artistic product but a rather mundane and useful one. Learning objectives are highly relevant, and so are the methods by which said objectives would be attained.
The video has to be about the learner, not about the creative prowess of the filmmaker.
A comprehensive storyboard will ensure that all the learning items find their way into the presentation, and it will give a bird’s eye view of how the final product will like. It will also help all the people involved with the design and execution process by outlining their part in the process.
Since several individuals with various backgrounds will have to work with the storyboard, it’s essential for it to contain all the necessary explanations – just like the blueprint for a new building.
Gather all the necessary equipment and find the right people before you start
The storyboard should make it easy to compile a list of people, props and equipment that will be necessary. For everything to go smoothly, all these logistical aspects should be addressed before beginning to create the video.
The “we’ll cross that bridge when we get there” approach will lead to improvisations that, more often than not, will prove quite costly, especially in terms of quality.
With video being an almost sacred pastime of today’s audiences, bad quality means they will either turn the whole thing off, become very little invested or even offer rather stinging pieces of feedback.
Since the goal is to engage and educate, the video learning content needs to be good, if not entirely flawless.
Make video learning available over several platforms
While today’s adult learners agree on the utility of using video content to facilitate knowledge transfer, they have different preferences when it comes to how and where materials ought to be accessible from.
Some use their laptops or computers, while others prefer to be able to download the modules and go through them offline. The devices themselves (and subsequently the operating systems) vary as well.
As a result, when you make an educational video that needs to reach large and diverse audiences, you have two options. One is to choose a versatile platform that allows for content to be rendered on a multitude of devices. The other — and safer in the case of large organizations — is to have an updated LMS with mobile capabilities to host your videos from.
Keep in mind that size matters
There are two aspects I want to touch on here. First, there is the undeniable preference towards bite-size learning. Engaging as they may be, videos can still become tedious if they run too long. People want to find exactly the information they need without a lot of secondary data around it.
Read more: The Micro-first Model for business training
The other important thing to be mindful of is the actual size (in data transfer units) of the video. If it is too large, there may be issues with its loading, it may freeze and buffer at times, and all of this will lead to a poor user experience and even poorer knowledge retention rates.
With this in mind, try to optimize content and size (for example, a safety instructions course does not need to be recorded and rendered in 4K) during the making of the video. Then, once it is completed, have another look to see where you can make adjustments.
Update the materials when there is a need for it
Just because a certain video-learning unit was top-notch when it first ‘aired’ does not mean it’s by default in the evergreen material section. Things change, new information surfaces all the time, numbers are frequently altered, and research periodically proves that much of what we thought was set in stone has transformed beyond recognition.
Adding to the video module is fine as long as there are only minor updates, but once more information becomes obsolete, it is better to just re-do the whole thing.
It’s all right to use the same storyboard outline; just make sure that the content looks and sounds engaging and fresh. If the video talks about the latest breakthroughs in device connectivity, but it features dial-up internet, it’s a historical documentary at best.
Video-based learning is currently trending with the majority of today’s employees. That is a great opportunity, and an equal challenge since this particular audience consumes video content daily and is rather discerning when it comes to its quality. Following these guidelines ought to help designers come up with optimal finished products that engage and educate.
Raluca Cristescu is a Faculty of Letters graduate with over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.