As an instructional designer or training professional, are you taking advantage of the many new ways to create learner engagement in your training solutions? Or do you still use mostly traditional static images in your eLearning or instructor-led training (ILT) efforts? Of course, any type of media you choose to use must meet the learning need and support training goals and objectives. But video is being used more than ever to keep eyeballs where they need to be — on your message!

Using videos in your learning design is a great investment and adds flavor to otherwise dry toast. It can be a quick way to deliver content, sound and motion to engage learners. It can be used simply to generate excitement, or it can be used in a more functional way to show a complicated process or system.

Need an interesting way to communicate your vision? Use video. Do you have a difficult concept to understand? Use video.

You can also use video to showcase how a situation or conversation should go. For example, let’s say you want to show a good example of a phone conversation between a financial analyst and their client. That’s a perfect spot to use video. You can show how the conversation should be conducted between them. The video can show the entire call evolution: how to greet the client, discuss the service and end the call. As the conversation progresses, mix in some content-specific visuals — such as charts, forms, reference procedures or even key terms — to appear on screen to emphasize critical points being made by the narration.

The end result is a video that not only meets the learning objectives but also is engaging and easy for the learner to watch. There are also other advantages to consider:

  • A video can be accessed on demand. Learners don’t have to wait for an instructor-led event or for schedules to align for a coaching session. They can access the video at any time to learn something new and can use the video as a performance support tool when needed.
  • Video can be easier to consume than other types of content. This is dependent on the content, and quite frankly the learner, but video can bring dry text to life or add finesse to complicated concepts.
  • Video can be quicker to consume than other types of content. Ideally, you want to create short videos (often 1-2 minutes is enough to make your point). A well-crafted script allows you to say just what you need and allows the learner to get to the point faster.

Let’s look at some other examples of how video can be used effectively in learning.

Show and Tell

The “show and tell” video is a great way to explain how to use a system, a webpage or parts used in manufacturing. It can be narrated with accompanying screenshots or diagrams that use visual highlights and verbal directions for what to click, enter or use at a specific point in time. This type of video is extremely helpful when learners must follow a set of actions in a specific order and where visual cues or context is imperative.

A show and tell video is often sufficient on its own, but it can be paired with text-based performance support that learners can access quickly. These text-based items usually have screenshots or diagrams a learner can process at their own pace or easily circle back to, such as one small item within the whole video.

The Talking Head

The “talking head” video hits on the “what’s-in-it-for-me?” element and creates more personal connections to the content. It can convey why a training matters to the company, why it matters to the larger learning journey — and most importantly — why it matters to the learners.

Talking head videos are best if they are short, supportive and have a call to action. In a larger curriculum, these videos can be part of a series where the person appears on camera at various times in the learning journey, speaking directly about the content ahead.

Text and Image Explainer

Text and image explainer videos use on-screen text and images to convey a message. They can be used to explain difficult-to-understand topics (e.g., compliance; process changes), to help drive interest in a topic or to welcome learners to a company. As long as the content isn’t time based and the imagery too specific, these videos can have a longer shelf-life. Text and image explainer videos, when well designed, tend to pack a big punch.

Regardless of the type of video, I highly encourage you to see where a video component fits into your learning events. Just give yourself time to plan and execute a script (the words and the visuals), and you’ll see where a little moving picture can lead to big impact on learner engagement.