Editor’s note: As we ended a difficult and unique year and entered a new one, the Training Industry editorial team asked learning leaders to write in with their reflections on 2020 and predictions for 2021. This series, “What’s Changed and What Hasn’t?: Taking Stock of 2020 and Planning for 2021,” is the result. Plus, don’t miss our infographic, “5 Tips for Turning 2020 Disarray Into 2021 Direction: Insights From Learning Leaders,” which shares insights from the series.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, analysts were predicting that it would take several years for the mass adoption of enterprise video. Now, platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, BlueJeans and Google Hangouts are well known to the average consumer.
Video use has crept into almost every industry, and although we all wanted to return to normal, we started seeing the benefits pretty quickly. Teachers could continue educating their students; salespeople no longer had to travel the world to meet potential clients, saving costs; events and conferences continued virtually; and training became personalized.
With this new video-first mentality came more opportunities for learning, sharing and staying connected. Training content was now captured, searchable and available for employee and customer education, marketing content, internal communications, and so much more.
It is a brand-new year, so here are four pillars that will help you use video to take your training to the next decade in 2021:
1. Choose the Right Technology to Be Remote-ready at Your Organization
Streaming video’s potential to keep employees connected despite distance is now front and center. When leveraged to its full potential, technology can create virtual experiences that are almost as personal and effective (if not as much so). However, you need the right mix of tools, including:
- Web and video conferencing: Collaborative tools are the go-to technology for most organizations. How many Zoom meetings do you have each day? They’re great for real-time dialogue with employees during one-on-one or small-group communications, but they’re just the first piece of the puzzle.
- Streaming video: The “one-to-many” technology is ideal for delivering training sessions, town halls, corporate communications and so on. What’s more, on-demand video recordings make it possible for employees to watch on their own time.
- A content management system (CMS): A CMS will enable you to manage all your content in one secure, searchable and easily accessible place. Do the research to determine a hosted or on-premises solution is best for your organization.
Make sure you have a tight integration between all three technologies, too.
You might also consider using a third-party virtual event platform for organization-wide or continuing education meetings and conferences. A virtual event team could do the heavy lifting for you with live or simulated-live streaming.
2. Be Considerate of Your Online Audience
Once you have the right technology, be sure you’re creating high-quality, engaging videos. As you and your training team teach, work and communicate remotely in this new video-first world, create a seamless experience for your audience. Instructors should make sure training sessions are aesthetically appealing and that viewers can better engage with them by:
- Using their presentation and on-camera presence as an opportunity to speak directly to their online audience.
- Positioning themselves so the camera sees them, avoiding distracting backgrounds, and making sure that they are centered and take up most of the screen.
- Testing their audio levels before the presentation and speaking clearly (and, whenever possible, using a hard-wired microphone rather than relying on their computer audio).
- Keeping in mind that whatever they show on the screen is what will be streamed to their online audience.
3. Leverage Video to Keep Employees Engaged
Your employees are probably distracted with too many virtual meetings. Take a page out of the higher education handbook, and flip your meeting or training. Think of it this way: If conferencing systems are your virtual, real-time classroom, on-demand streaming video is your textbook or manual.
Record training sessions and communications like chief executive officer updates ahead of time for employees to watch on their own time. Then, schedule a real-time conference call so they can collaborate and discuss what they learned. It’s critical that you allow employees to consume information before, during and after a meeting or training. In this new virtual world, flexibility is more important than ever.
4. Move to the Cloud to Scale Your Video Training More Quickly
Video has never been more prevalent than it is now, but that new demand brings the need for more bandwidth to ensure your infrastructure can handle the massive increase in viewership outside your network.
Have you considered moving to the cloud? You can rapidly scale your network to handle this unprecedented worldwide access to your training content. Don’t just think of the cloud as storage; it’s more about scaling with your network and making content more accessible to your users, ensuring a quality playback experience regardless of where they’re watching. Don’t worry about security, either; your data will have the same security settings in the cloud as it does on site.
Things won’t ever go back to “normal,” and that’s OK. After the pandemic, we will work in a hybrid world with both in-person and online communications. Navigate this change with an open mind, and you’ll come out on the other side as a leader.