Instructional Design

Video Based Learning: A Guide to Launching an Effective Video eLearning Strategy

By now, you’ve probably seen BuzzFeed’s Tasty videos cropping up on your Facebook news feed: Short, appealing cooking videos that show you how to make mouthwatering foods in about 30 seconds or less. With over 55 million Facebook fans, it’s almost impossible to check your profile without triggering a craving for nachos.

But what about those Tasty videos is so appealing to so many different users? As it turns out, your brain might be steering you toward the how-to video. The brain processes video and graphics 60,000 times faster than it does text. E-Learning has followed suit. Traditional, lecture-style training has made way for interactive courses that allow for learner individuality. As eLearning modernizes, so does the innovation behind components and concepts. With all of the advances and innovation in eLearning, it’s important to remember that engaging learners’ senses is what makes the biggest impact. It’s also why video in education remains a pillar of instructional design when the material needs to be watched, experienced and ultimately, retained. Perhaps that’s why video is such a vital part of an effective eLearning strategy, and why the success of corporate learning experiences often relies on the power of video based microlearning.

Benefits of Video Based Learning

Some training simply falls flat when done without video. Video based learning shows learners things that are difficult to explain using text or audio alone.

Adopting video based learning as part of your eLearning strategy makes good sense, especially when retention is your goal. A report compiled by Cisco found that when learners experienced multimedia modules, their knowledge in higher order skills increased by 32 percent. The same skills, when presented without media only increased by 20 percent. The increase in learning retention is directly relative to the number of sense engaged during the learning process. Engage just one sense – hearing, for example – and you won’t have the results of a module that engages sight, sound, and touch. Video gives you the opportunity to trigger learning retention through learning engagement for a more effective module.

Consider compliance training: Teaching harassment or discrimination can be almost impossible without situational nuance and body language shown clearly. Whenever a learner needs to be aware of facial expression or situational awareness, video makes a clearer impression. The same goes for technique or behavioral-based learning. You can tell your sales force how to accomplish a certain technique, but it won’t stick until their shown. When shown the technique, it’s easier for learners to recall the information later. Video training should be used any time there’s a physical component involved: How to act, how to respond or what to do.

In short, when the instructional design best practice is applied to video learning, your corporate learning strategy can benefit from the major benefits of using video based learning:

  • Video engages learners in a way the audio and text cannot. Because learners are using several of their senses at once (sight, sound), they’re more likely to retain the information for future application.
  • Video breaks up the monotony that is all too characteristic of informational modules. Instead of reading through blocks of texts or disengaging with audio alone, movement and context brings the concepts to life for learners.
  • According to the Visual Teaching Alliance, 65 percent of your workforce is made up of visual learners: Individuals who learn best when shown a visual representation of a concept. Video respects those who need more than just words to absorb information.
  • Video can dramatically cut your training time. After all, you can show a technique much faster than telling, and learner grasp the technique even faster when shown.
  • Video increases demonstrable knowledge. When learners are shown as well as told, they’re more likely to leave training and apply that knowledge to their work, therefore increasing training ROI.

Using video in education is a step toward creating a visual knowledge culture within an organization, making L&D efforts even more valuable. Brains love videos because they’re quick and easy to process, but just because something is delivered via video doesn’t make it an automatic success. Video e-Learning needs to be implement correctly for benefiting from the benefits of video based learning.

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TED Talks Case study: How to effectively implement video based learning strategies

From a small startup conference in 1984 to a learning powerhouse in 2016, TED leads the way when it comes to shaping opinions and sharing ideas. Basically, it’s L&D pro’s dream, making thousands of bite-sized, hyper-digestible videos available for free to help round out courses and make eLearning possible.

There’s been one glaring issue with TED Talks as learning tools, however, and that’s with the problem of citation and annotation. Many TED presenters don’t cite their data and the material moves so fast that in order to discuss the subject matter, teachers and students must be face-to-face and physically pause the video to talk.

TED’s new website addresses one of these problems, allowing for presenters to add footnotes based on video time for better citations and improve post-video reading.

Creating Context for Video Based Learning

The way one facilitator uses a TED Talk on leadership is going to be vastly different from the way another instructor harnesses the material. That’s because they’re teaching different groups in different industries; probably for different purposes. Because of this, when using widely-available online resources, it’s imperative that facilitators be able to create context and relevancy before, during, and after a learning experience.

What if, during a video, a pop-up appeared and directed learner attention to a scenario in which the information would help. A sales-based training video, for instance, could be made more relevant when an annotation explains exactly when to use a new technique. Creating context helps highlight the “why” behind a video, so learners can see the end game and stay engaged.

It’s unlikely that you’ll get any learner’s undivided attention for anything longer than a few seconds. Continuous partial attention is the new norm in eLearning, and facilitators have to compete with disruptions, disengaged learners, and second screens.

Annotated videos could help by directing learner attention to the time and place it’s most important for a few key moments throughout the video.

Overcoming Limitations of Video in Education

One of the main complaints about video based learning is the lack of instructor to student interaction. Not only do some students enjoy the discussion that comes from more traditional classrooms, but videos can seem cold and final without any real chance for participation.

With annotated videos, the question of collaboration could finally be answered by allowing users to submit questions, participate in discussions, and collaborate with their instructors, even when the video isn’t live. An instructor could solicit opinions via comments or emails at key places in the video, or suggest that a user pause and reflect after a certain chapter. Annotations could be the key to adding a more traditional classroom element to what is usually a hands-off method of learning.

TED Talks have obviously revolutionized the way that we share ideas and information, but that doesn’t mean it’s a perfected medium. Footnotes have definitely helped with citing issues, but we hope to see even more interactive features in the future. The ability for instructors to annotate videos throughout (whether they’re TED Talks or custom eLearning videos) could be the catalyst that tips video based eLearning into a more interactive realm of instruction.

Video eLearning: An indispensable tool but no panacea

Not every course is ideal for video presentation. When discussion or Q&A is required to teach a concept, an instructor-led or flipped approach probably works better. But that doesn’t mean you have to ditch the video altogether. Instead, media works well for pre- and post-course materials. A short, three-minute video might help to introduce and engage learners to the course, while a post-course video can help wrap up the concepts learned in the process. When planning video as a module component, think outside of the main body of content and you might find a new home for engaging media.

When a course is instructor-led, learners get a set block of time to spend with that instructor: When the course is over, they’re on their own. But adding video as a media component to your module can give learners on-demand access to information in case 100 percent retention fails. Adding your videos to an online knowledge base, for example, means learners can check in and rewatch videos to refresh their knowledge or revisit a concept they didn’t understand during the first go-around – no instructor needed.

Video is a no-brainer for learner engagement, especially when done right. With a clear track record for learner retention and accessibility, it should be a consideration for anyone hoping to make an impact through eLearning.