For a long time now, videos have served companies as a truly high-impact tool for training purposes. Their ability to capture and replay human activity is second to no other medium, and so they are especially ideal for walking their audience through specific techniques, processes or tasks.
Indeed, many learning and development teams have been creating videos for their training courses, whether it’s for new employee onboarding programs, for job-specific training or for teaching soft skills. And now with the advances of modern technology, it’s even easier for employees to capture, produce and share videos on their own. With the help of their smartphone cameras, webcams and simple editing software, they can quickly demonstrate a skill, or new concepts and ideas from their desk, around the workplace or out in the field.
And because video is such a popular medium, sometimes we don’t even have to create our own videos; there are plenty of great content already available on a wide variety of topics and skills that could be shared amongst colleagues in the company’s knowledge base (whether that’s a learning platform, a video-sharing platform, the company’s intranet, or an internal wiki).
Whatever it is, videos will form an important part of your company’s knowledge base. So here are a few key tips when using videos to provide a knowledge boost in your company:
#1 Keep it simple
Engaging and effective training videos can be created without a big production budget. You don’t necessarily have to outsource everything to production houses – that can come with a hefty bill. Consider doing the story-boarding and scripting with in-house subject matter experts, and using willing colleagues as ‘acting talents’ (note: if they’re demonstrating a skill that they perform on a routine basis, then they won’t really have to do much acting anyway). And for a simple video, you can easily record it with equipment that you already have and are simple to use. The camera on your smartphone, or Windows or Mac computer is perfectly able for this task!
#2 Keep it short
Sure, videos are an engaging medium, but if it’s not your favourite soap opera, an inspiring TED talk or a high-octane action sequence, most of us would probably start dozing off once the video hits the 10-minute mark.
So if you’re going to share a 20-minute video, it’s best you think twice. If you can, break up long videos into bite-sized pieces of 1-5 minute segments. And if you’re creating your own videos, cut out the fluff by showing only the most important information, and try to limit each video to a single concept or idea to keep the videos concise.
Shorter videos makes learning more digestible; it makes it easier for learners to stay engaged, watch videos on-the-go, and gives them the flexibility to choose the segments they want to see first.
#3 Try to include captions
Consider that your audience might be viewing the videos from their mobile devices (25 percent of YouTube views are driven from mobile devices). So sometimes listening to the audio can be challenging for your learners. They might be on a crowded train, waiting in line at a busy restaurant, or in other public locations without their earphones. So to make it more user-friendly, include text in your video as an accompaniment. Make sure it’s suitably big and bold for viewers to read. It shouldn’t take up more than half of the screen, but viewers shouldn’t need to take out their magnifying glasses to read it as well.
#4 Add context
You can add value to the video you want to share by putting it in context for the learner. Instead of just sharing a video and letting it stand on its own, you can provide more information in the following ways:
- Notes to set the learner up for what they are about to view
- Links to other related content, or if they’d like to dive deeper into the topic
- Commentary from subject matter experts in the topic
- Reflective questions to get viewers thinking
#5 Show and tell
Videos are especially useful for demonstrating a skill, process or task. So where possible, it’s always best to show the viewer than rely solely on narration or a talking head to convey concepts or ideas.
Here are a few examples of real world scenarios that can be conveyed through video:
- Product demonstration tutorials to show how a product works
- Step-by-step tutorials to guide learners through a task
- Sales training videos that illustrate the right or wrong way of serving customers
- Demonstration of soft skills like communication skills (because videos are especially great at showcasing body language and other nuances not easily conveyed through text)
#6 Tap on the opportunity for discussion
Videos are also a great tool for facilitating discussion. Learning doesn’t have to end after they finish watching the video, you can encourage online discussion by asking for personal insights, getting people to share their feelings or any personal experience related to the video, posing questions about the topic, or maybe asking them to share their own videos to extend the discussion.
#7 Make it accessible
Try to ensure your videos are made accessible to as many people in your company as possible. This involves a few key things:
- Making sure the content is easy to find – content should be properly categorized to make it convenient for employees to quickly reference the video training segments they need with a keyword search or when filtering categories.
- Making sure videos can be viewed on multiple devices – so employees can watch it anytime and anywhere
- Making it easy to share videos – by giving employees multiple options to share content; they can upload existing videos directly to the knowledge base, or share external links (Youtube, Vimeo etc) within the knowledge base.
#8 Use feedback to improve your video content
Employees may be more receptive to certain videos than others – some videos just work better. Knowing what works for your learners will help you provide better video content. So use feedback from polls, surveys, interviews or even the analytics features of the online platforms you use, to gauge which content are most helpful or more popular with your audience. With some information, you’re in a better position to make adjustments to the videos you create or share such that they become more helpful to your audience.