The advent of widespread remote work ushered us into the era of video-first training — which is good because video is the best way to deliver learning and development (L&D) content.
There are a ton of ways video makes for a superior training medium — the ease of distribution and repeat trainings, the consistency it delivers for culture and norms, and the efficiency it brings for making updates and changes to curricula.
But starting and scaling video production is far from simple — especially when your team knows nothing, or very little, about making video. Maybe you’re a instructional designer, maybe you’re a trainer or educator by trade. You don’t need video production skills for these roles, so the advent of video can be intimidating, even anxiety-inducing, for a lot of L&D professionals.
It doesn’t have to be. New artificial intelligence (AI) tools are making it easy for anyone to record, edit and publish professional-grade video, regardless of their technical knowledge.
A Flood of New Tools
As recently as a few years ago, L&D teams trying to crack into video faced a troublesome, often annoying choice: either spend months (at least) learning to make video, or spend a pile of money hiring outside professionals to make it for you. A few teams may have been lucky enough to work at organizations that had in-house video production teams, but even those teams were often already operating at capacity.
That choice is no longer necessary, thanks to the new AI tools that have exploded in number, capability and availability, just in the last six months.
There are tools that make editing a video as easy as editing a Word document. There are tools that can generate new video from a text prompt and tools that can create studio-quality audio from an instructor talking on a laptop mic in a reverberating home office. And there are tools that make it easy to update learning content with product or regulatory changes without recording anything new.
The best part: Most of these tools require little to no training or technical expertise. And it’s only the beginning. The coming years will see an explosion of new creative tools that use machine learning to take much of the drudgery out of the production process — so training and learning pros can focus their time and energy on making great content.
How AI Tools Help
Take a look at the tools that are already out there, put them against L&D workflows and you’ll see they fall into a few categories.
Technically all AI tools save time — that’s the core value proposition for any technology — but the ones that move the needle the furthest are the ones that create efficiencies across your workflow. There are a handful of new video production tools to record, edit, add effects and transitions, collaborate and publish without hauling massive video files from one app to another.
Not all of those features are AI powered, but usually a handful of them are. Whatever AI they’re using is built in from the ground up — compared to legacy editing tools that are bolting on new AI tools. Those older editing suites still fundamentally rely on paradigms that emerged with the advent of non-linear editing in the 1980s. The newer stuff isn’t beholden to anything but what today’s technology can do.
Better Content Tools
Pretty much all creatives face trade-offs between time or resources and quality. Always have, always will. L&D content could always be better and more effective if teams had a little more time or a little more budget.
AI tools can tip the scales toward quality by making it easy to make big, sometimes game-changing improvements. Many editing tools now feature AI-powered noise reduction; it’s a feature that’s been around forever, but the best of the new tools not only reduce noise but regenerate speakers’ voices. So it sounds like that instructor whose voice was echoing around the room, or the speaker whose neighbor’s leaf blower kept going off, was in a recording studio.
There has also been a wave of text-to-speech tools. They use AI to clone recorded voices and, in some cases, enable you to create new audio in that voice just by typing. The implications are profound. If an instructor flubs a name or uses the wrong word, you can edit out the mistake and add the correct one without rerecording.
Even better, when technology or regulatory changes require an update to your training content, there’s no need to call the instructor back into the studio. Just use AI to recreate their voice and make the updates.
Finally, something as simple as automatic transcription can be a game changer. Most L&D teams have to transcribe their video content for accessibility. AI is enabling transcription that’s as accurate as the human kind, and much faster.
Yes, these tools carry some scary implications. Whichever tool you choose, be sure to check out the policies — technical, contractual and ethical — of its maker.
Buckle Up: Lots More on the Way
A lot of the tools described here have existed for the last four or five years. But in the last six months there has been a biblical-level flood of new tools hitting the market. This surge started with the release of ChatGPT, the AI chatbot from OpenAI. You’ve surely heard about it.
Entrepreneurs and technologists are building all sorts of text-to-video, text-to-speech and text-to-image tools — so that by writing nearly as much as they would for a Google search, just about anybody can generate blog posts, video b-roll and original imagery. Some of it is hilarious, much of it is bad. But it won’t be for long — these models train themselves so they get better every time you use them.
It’s a lot to get your head around. For now, the smartest thing for L&D teams is to do a little research, see what’s out there and find the tools that will make the biggest impact in your workflow.