Training is big business. Whatever the size of the company, training represents a significant proportion of the annual budget. In 2015 US companies spent an average of 11% of their budget on training. Implementing video-based training is a strategic move for many companies – to remain competitive they must provide training adapted to the needs of the modern learner.

Well trained employees are happy employees

With 55% of people watching videos online every day, many companies are harnessing the power of video training to train and onboard employees. 

Training plays a significant role in employee satisfaction. Although many managers believe that staff view training simply as a perk, research suggests that in fact, 16% of employees consider it to be a significant benefit.

Training can be an excellent tool for engaging and retaining employees. Clearly, the company also benefits from having skilled, motivated and effective staff.

The pressure, therefore, is on HR and Training departments to deliver relevant and cost-effective video training to employees.

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Advantages of implementing video-based training

Implementing video-based training within a company has some clear advantages over conventional training:

  • Accessibility
    Learners can participate at any time, from anywhere – all they need is an internet connection. It doesn’t matter if employees are in the office, at home or based remotely. Learners can access content on their smartphone, tablet or PC instantly wherever they are in the world.
  • Consistency
    Video-based training ensures that the quality of the training is consistent and that all employees receive the same key messages.
  • Cost-effective
    Corporate training can be expensive and takes up a lot of valuable time. Video-based training saves both time and money.
  • Connects people
    Implementing video-based training gives learners the opportunity to network and acquire new knowledge – commonly called social learning

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Video-based instruction is effective because it is convenient and puts the learner in charge of their learning – they can dictate how quickly they advance.

Making training content easier to digest and more enjoyable promotes knowledge retention, improving the level of learner engagement.

So what type of video content should companies look to offer employees?

There are a number of different approaches to implementing video-based training out there.

Clearly, the prime consideration is to find the type of presentation most appropriate for the objectives that you are trying to achieve.

What are you trying to deliver and do you have the right material available?

The cost implications for commissioning material are also significant. Will the employee be able to identify with the context and content?

Approaches to video-based training

Video styles can be broadly divided into four categories:

  • Contextual 
    Gives you the power to visually represent real-world situations in which the concepts you are teaching come into play. This is incredibly useful in bringing abstract theories into focus as well as to illustrate real events or activities.
  • Analogy 
    Analogies help learners to develop cognitive shortcuts to use as a reference when trying to solve real-life problems. Videos can create compelling visual analogies that are more memorable.
  • Illustrative
    Illustrative examples are a great way of concretely defining the topic at hand. Illustrations and graphics bring clarity and ensure that learners gain a thorough understanding of a concept.
  • Learner-generated
     The internet can be utilized to facilitate knowledge sharing through learner-generated videos. By encouraging learners to upload their own videos, it is an opportunity for them to share their knowledge through social learning.

Demystifying the Modern Learner

How technology and new learning preferences are shaping modern-day learning

Learning style

When implementing video-based training it might also be advisable to assess the trainee’s approach to learning within the seven style learning model:

  • Visual (spatial) – You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  • Aural (auditory-musical) – You prefer using sound and music.
  • Verbal (linguistic) – You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
  • Physical (kinesthetic) – You prefer using your body, hands, and sense of touch.
  • Logical (mathematical) – You prefer using logic, reasoning, and systems.
  • Social (interpersonal) – You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
  • Solitary (intrapersonal) – You prefer to work alone and use self-study.

While the solitary learner might well be happy to view the material at home, the social type will most likely be happier in a group environment, watching the video with colleagues.

Equally, there is much controversy about the difference in learning styles but for whatever reason, visual content is generally accessible to the majority.

So the question is: does the objective mesh with the medium and category?

And equally important: how can you judge success?

Measuring the success of video-based training

The Kirkpatrick model proposes four criteria:

  • Reaction
    The first stage is to evaluate how employees react to the training model by asking questions that establish their thoughts. Each program should be assessed at this level to help improve the video training model and identify any gaps.
  • Learning
    The next level is to determine what your employees have learned and whether they have met the objectives that you set out for them.
  • Behavior
    This involves evaluating if your employees have changed their behavior based on the training that they received – have they applied the knowledge that they have acquired.
  • Results
    As is the case for traditional training, analyzing the results of your training is of fundamental importance to determine the success of the program.

Keys to video-based training success

Thus the keys to successfully implementing video-based training are:

  • Identify the content
  • Identify the objectives
  • Identify the most appropriate video style
  • Ensure that the video is not a replacement for a person
  • Be adaptable

Implementing video-based training is a challenge facing HR and Training departments across all industries. HR must ensure that video is the right medium to use – not merely a convenient cost saving or bowing to the current trend.

Remember that it goes against the movement towards transformative communication. If the principal objectives are behavior and results, will you be able to demonstrate that the skills have been acquired?

There is always the option to use a person to verify the success of training, after all – there is a world of difference between training and learning.