Videos have become commonly used tools for corporate training and employee learning, and for good reason. Studies have also shown that short videos can be effective at boosting engagement among learners (Guo et al., 2014).
Before training videos can be effective, though, these must follow certain techniques. For instance, in 2010, Fadde indicated the possibility of using interactive video training and occlusion techniques to boost cognitive recognition in certain skill areas. To measure the effectiveness of these techniques, the study included measuring whether subjects’ cognitive performance improved after exposure.
Works like these provided the drive to stimulate training video as an acceptable module for mainstream organizations and businesses to add to their arsenal of training options, in order to enhance the transfer of knowledge and increase productivity in the workplace.
In this article, we highlight the most recent developments in training videos. We also examine trends that point the way to what forms this technology will evolve into in both the short- and long-term. If enhanced learning and productivity are your primary concern, you should check out the full discussion to see what’s at stake for your organization.
The effectiveness of video learning has been confirmed by numerous research studies in the literature. Even analysts from renowned organizations like IBM, Microsoft, and Bersin have case studies and research supporting this approach to training.
It used to be a novel idea but now it is the norm. Indeed, 95% of businesses confirm that video training allows their employees to learn better and faster (Kaltura, 2015). This is understandable, as people are more likely to pay attention to engaging video content. Based on a different empirical study by An (2020), 63% of respondents say that they are attentive to training videos.
Video training is being used more and more, as numerous lecturers and professionals are producing online videos as online documentation or training support for their students or employees. Research has shown that more than 80% of learning takes place visually and that a combination of video and audio demonstrations are effective ways to learn tasks (Harward, 2014). Today, all it takes is a computer to produce a training video. As a result, video-based learning is gaining more adopters, not just in online courses but in traditional and blended courses as well. In case you are looking to fine-tune your audio-video presentations, you can also learn how to use Audacity to clean up audio files.
Live video streaming is a hot topic now, with multiple platforms providing smooth experiences to users. Because of that, it has become a readily available channel of communication between brands and their followers.
Video training statistics also indicate that 88% of large companies use tools such as virtual classrooms and webcasting for corporate training delivery. Organizations should consider including live streaming in their training programs, as it allows interactive instruction. During live streams, mentors can turn on commenting to see what trainees think in real-time. It can also help them see if they have questions or clarifications.
Live video also offers a full training experience, unlike in presentations and texts where only 10% of what you say can be absorbed fully by the audience (Streaminar, n.d.). With this, trainers can ensure that trainees understand the information being imparted to them.
A study by Payne et al. (2017) showed that live video instruction using the streaming platform Twitch enabled students to have a high learning performance. This was true for both students under experts and students who were taught by novice instructors. This result demonstrates the feasibility of live streaming in instruction.
Aside from allowing an improved subject comprehension, Contreras-Castillo et al. (2004, as cited in Abdous & Yen, 2010) found that informal (video-based) interaction also enabled students to have better social relationships with fellow classmates and teachers.
Another benefit of live streaming is that it can be saved for participants to rewatch. It can also be viewable by those who missed the broadcast. Because of this, organizations can satisfy the video-on-demand needs of members of their audience.
Platforms that enable this include the following:
Also, a favorite platform for live streaming is Twitch, which has been mentioned above (Brown, 2020).
Live videos are powerful avenues for education. Universities like Harvard and Stanford offer live lecture streaming to their matriculated students. This way, regardless of students’ location, they can tune in to their classes, thus breaking down location barriers (Chernova, 2018). And with online teaching, it is possible for students to receive directions from their instructors. This is beneficial when they are working on academic projects or research for their degrees.
Apart from that, it is now common as well to live stream conferences and similar events. This brings together people who are unable to fly to a venue with their colleagues who are on-site. And with the current pandemic situation, this has become the mode of teaching of choice of many educators.
An example of a major conference that has been conducted online is the Pacific Conference for Development Economics. Originally scheduled in March at UC Berkeley, the host, the Center for Effective Global Action, was forced to rethink its approach to the conference. Instead of canceling it altogether, the host decided to conduct it online via Zoom (The Center for Effective Global Action, 2020).
Remote work is now more common than it used to be. Similarly, distance is no longer a barrier for training new hands on board. Organizations can address the training needs of new hires through live video streaming.
This can be instructor-led (Pandey, 2020) or it can be social learning. For the former, it would mean that one individual would take the lead in the instruction. Meanwhile, for the latter, it would mean that trainees can also engage with each other.
Source: LogMeIn, 2017
Thirty-one percent of webinars are done for customer onboarding or orientation (LogMeIn, 2017). While some webinars are recorded, there are many that are conducted live instead. Some organizations schedule these live events and allow users to sign up at a day and time that is convenient for them. Meanwhile, others offer on-demand user training for enterprises.
By offering video training, businesses also ensure that users retain information about their products (Omer, 2017). Doing so helps buyers maximize goods or equipment. What’s more, delivering product information exactly when customers or users need them reduces calls to the support team.
Video training for the public on health and safety procedures are also available. One organization that provides those is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For example, they have a webinar series about blood disorders. The agency has on-demand programs for emergency preparedness as well (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.).
Similarly, the Health and Safety Executive in the United Kingdom has training videos on agriculture, construction, woodworking, workplace transport, and more (Health and Safety Executive, n.d.). With these instructional videos, the public can be informed regarding health and safety and do their own part in maintaining it.
Interactive video is a new form of video technology that lets you do more than just play, pause, forward, and rewind. Unlike traditional videos, you can interact with the video in different ways such as by dragging to get a 360-degree view, by scrolling, and by deciding what view or action to do next.
If you have seen Bandersnatch on Netflix, then you have an idea of what it is. If not, you can think of it as R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps Choose Your Own Adventure, where every choice you make affects the outcome of the story.
With an interactive video, you can expect three to four times more engagement from viewers (Interactive4video, 2020). Incorporating this in training could mean that employees or users are more attentive and can absorb more information.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are two technological innovations often associated with games and entertainment. Collectively referred to as extended reality (XR), these two find applications in the enterprise as well, particularly in training.
Global spending on XR is expected to go up by as much as 78.5% in 2020 (IDC, 2019), as industrial use cases of AR and VR rise. This is not surprising, as XR can boost productivity as well as safety. Companies can employ VR to train employees for working in high-risk situations or with sensitive and expensive tools first before they do the actual task. Training industry trends also indicate that the technology is now more commonly used for soft skills training. Meanwhile, organizations can utilize AR to transmit critical data to users regarding the situations they would have at hand (Marr, 2020).
One example of the application of XR in training is in the aviation industry. Airplane companies use both AR and VR for in-flight simulations of pilots. In particular, new and veteran pilots are required to undergo training in a flight simulator regularly. This is also critical when they are flying a new type of aircraft (Velichko, 2019).
The ground crew has rigorous and regular training as well (Mileva, 2018). For example, a VR app called aViatoR helps train the cabin crew to tackle issues pertaining to cabin components like doors. It can also prepare them for situations where passengers are under stress (Velichko, 2019).
The attributes and current advancements of AR and VR technologies offer a novel pedagogical approach that better addresses the specific requirements of today’s learner, who wants interactivity, entertainment, object manipulation, and participation (Elmqaddem, 2019).
Despite the optimistic predictions, though, there are still many barriers to the adoption of AR and VR in video training. In particular, the cost of the equipment as well as the production of videos can be prohibitive. Nevertheless, organizations worldwide are already taking steps to incorporate it into their coaching programs.
Source: IDC, 2019
As has been mentioned, interactive videos allow the user to interact with it, akin to what can be seen in Goosebumps Choose Your Own Adventure. This particular breed of interactive video is called a branching video. It is an interactive video where the viewer is presented with a situation and several solutions. Every choice they make then leads to different outcomes.
It is a video that extends more control to the viewer over what they want to happen or watch next. It can work in different ways: producers can provide options to swipe right or left or offer them a full menu (Coyne, 2018).
A prime example of a branching video for training was created by the ICT Leaders Project, a collaboration between the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies and film studio Paramount Pictures. It had complicated scenarios where users had to make critical decisions. Every choice they make would affect the outcome of the mission, just as it would if they were indeed a U.S. Army personnel (Gordon, van Lent, van Verlsen, Carpenter, & Jhala, 2014).
Through branching videos, individuals could witness the impact of their decisions. That is because they are active participants in the video and they have an influence on the results. Thus, they can be mindful of their decisions in real-life situations, as they have an idea of the outcomes of their choices.
There are many aspects of learning and development that AI can have an impact on. In particular, it can pave the way for smarter adaptive learning. It is a personalized approach to training, thus it can better engage workers (Lamon & von Redwitz, 2018).
It personalizes the course for every learner. Content, such as video that they consume, is tailored to their needs; thus, they do not have to encounter parts of a curriculum that has little to no bearing to their learning requirements (Posner, 2017).
In particular, artificial intelligence (AI) can enhance video training with automatic translations. Remarkable advances in AI are making this possible. A prime example would be Google’s system called the Translatotron. This directly translates spoken speech to another language. To illustrate, an English speech will be translated into Spanish while maintaining the voice and tone of the speaker (Jia, et al., 2019).
Other tech companies like Babel Fish, Microsoft, and Unbabel are also working towards better AI translation systems. These can be helpful in real-time and real-life situations where speakers of different languages can knock down language barriers (Davies, 2018). And in canned videos, these innovations can eschew the need for an expensive human translator.
Additionally, organizations can take advantage of AI for developing closed captions. It is a time-consuming process that still needs to be done manually. With the development of intelligent closed captioning systems, it can be automated. This is something that YouTube already employs–it applies automatic captions to English videos and even provides automatically translated captions for non-English videos (YouTube, n.d.).
Companies can do the same for their training videos by incorporating APIs. These can also work for real-time training videos, providing communication access to those hard of hearing and for those who have audio difficulties.
One of the characteristics of a good training video is how it is tailored to the requirements of the user. Producers need to keep in mind the people who will be watching the content to ensure that they really meet the expectations of their audience (Halls, 2018).
However, this does not necessarily mean that organizations have to make personalized, canned videos all the time. They can also apply this approach when they are conducting one-on-one conversations through video calls.
If it sounds challenging, that is because it is. Think of it this way: when a business is marketing a product, they are marketing to a wide audience. Meanwhile, when a sales representative is doing a sales pitch, he/she is doing it to convince one person to acquire the goods or services on offer. Thus, it is important to highlight the benefits specific to the individual that they can enjoy (Anderson, 2020).
It is the same in training or education. The trainer has to target the individual training needs of employees to ensure that they are equipped with the knowledge and skills that are critical to their roles. Applications like Google Hangouts and Zoom are the ones that are paving the way for these, as these have improved video conferencing capabilities (Hennequin, 2020).
A vlog is similar to a regular blog only that instead of blocks of texts and images, the content is in video form. These abound on YouTube and in other video-sharing platforms. Vloggers, the term for referring to people who create such video content, also post these on their websites or blogs.
Vlogging is also applicable to businesses. In particular, they can utilize the platform to introduce their products and services or to be transparent with their operations (Digital Agency Network, 2019); meanwhile, they can use vlogging to conduct training.
Why should businesses do this? Because the contemporary approach is well received and best of all, it is effective. After all, viewers retain 95% of the message of a video compared to the 10% of the information from text (McCue, 2018). Therefore, it makes sense to create vlogs to augment training on a regular basis.
Story-based training or learning is not a novel concept. However, it is becoming more popular as more studies explore its effectiveness. One such research found that students exhibit learning gains when microbiology was presented through a narrative. Researchers also discovered that students became more self-sufficient and interested in the topic (McQuiggan et al., 2008).
Story-based learning is a student-centered learning model that involves the use of relevant stories instead of traditional studies to enhance student learning (MacKinnon & Young, 2014, as cited in Shaw et al., 2017).
In training, it can be effective for getting employees interested in the exercise. It can also be useful in enabling trainees to better understand concepts that may otherwise be challenging to digest. What’s more, it allows employees to explore possible outcomes of the choices they make, illustrated in stories (Rimmer, n.d.).
Organizations should also keep in mind the following for engaging story-based training:
Serious games are games that are meant for training and educational purposes rather than for entertainment. Some of the industries that utilize it are defense, education, healthcare, engineering, aviation, and scientific exploration. Usually, serious games have elements that are akin to simulation, such as flight simulation. However, the main point of serious games is to add fun and friendly competition to learning (University of Michigan Library, 2020). One of the oldest examples of serious games is Microsoft Flight Simulator. This was released in 1982 and is considered as the “most successful commercial flight simulator” (Growth Engineering, 2016).
Gamified videos, on the other hand, are videos where gamification is applied. This means that they have video game elements in non-video game contexts. The main purpose of this approach is to augment the user experience and draw in users to the task (Deterding, Sicart, Nacke, O’Hara, & Dixon, 2011).
Gaming elements that organizations can add to videos can include the following:
According to studies, 75% of participants would be more engaged if there are gaming elements included in an activity. Additionally, 60% of learners admit that they would be more driven if they know their points or scores (Desuyo, 2018). Additionally, gamified videos can drive retention. Landes and Callan (2011) explained that students are likely to learn more when completing tests rather than simply studying.
Organizations can incorporate these into their training videos by prompting learners to complete tasks as outlined. They can then have a friendly competition with their colleagues as they see their ranking on the leaderboard.
Source: Desuyo, 2018Designed by
Microlearning has become a widely accepted form of learning. It is efficient and effective, as learners can acquire new knowledge in the span of a few minutes. Scientific studies back these, with one research revealing that bite-sized information is 20% more efficacious for retention (Kapp, Proske, Narciss, & Körndle, 2015). Content is also accessible on-demand, making them convenient for learners (Association for Talent Development, n.d.).
Along the same vein, microlearning videos are short and to-the-point videos that support a learning goal. It can be about a single topic or it can be part of a series. Companies have also been using microlearning videos more, as 79% of training materials by organizations are in video form (Association for Talent Development, n.d.).
Aside from their succinctness and their accessibility, microlearning videos are more engaging and offer higher information recall and retention. You can, for example, rewind any challenging part of a video until you get the point, something that is simply unthinkable to do with human agents. By incorporating these, organizations can empower employees to learn on the go.
A good example of a microlearning video for employee training would be McDonald’s quick video about the transfer of training and return on investment.
Silent videos have been making a comeback in the past four years, particularly among marketers who utilize Facebook. But it is not just in the marketing world that it can be useful—it can provide benefits to professional training as well.
Silent videos here do not mean that content has no audio whatsoever. It only means that users choose to watch them with the sound off. Thus, content producers have to optimize their videos to catch the attention of professionals. A common way to keep them engaged would be to provide closed captions. These are easy to create and can be a method to ease multi-language instruction. Other good practices like attractive visuals and succinct and well-placed texts are necessary, too (Parsons, 2016).
These can take off for professional training, as data shows that 85% of Facebook videos were viewed with the audio muted (Patel, 2016).
It is easy to want to pack a video with explanations but according to Patel (2016), the trend is leaning toward less talk and more show. This means that instead of relying on voiceovers or explanatory texts, content producers can generate videos that show more.
This way, training videos can become less tiresome and gain positive ROI, such as the majority (73%) of marketers who report an increase in the use of demonstrative videos (Foundas, 2020).
Video is a powerful medium and is one of the most consumed media on the internet. Indeed, around one-third or more than one billion people spend a lot of time on YouTube, with the average viewer watching nearly seven hours of video per week (Hockley, 2020).
It is likely that in the future workplace, video will be the most preferred mode for learning. In a survey, it was revealed that 90% of respondents used video to gain new knowledge while almost 70% confirmed they favored video over other mediums such as documents (Hockley, 2020).
And based on the trends above, training videos are bound to undergo evolution in the coming years. Some trends are difficult for small organizations to get into, such as AR and VR, due to the steep costs of development and of the equipment. However, XR tools are likely to become more cost-effective in the future as more companies continue to drive down costs to attract additional audiences.
There are less costly trends that organizations can take advantage of now, though, such as AI for video training (automated captioning and translation), microlearning videos, vlogs, and story-based training. By starting with these, businesses, non-government organizations, and other institutions can already elevate their video training programs.