So, your fancy new LMS or web training portal is up and running. Your course outlines are in place, and your subject matter experts and course authors are set up to make some great video training content.
However, have you really thought about how your content will engage your learners? Long gone are the days of monotone voices over boxy screen captures and two-hour live recordings of event lectures.
Luckily, there are some easy ways to not only keep the attention of your learners but also create a better learning experience. Here are the five golden rules of video training content.
1. Put a Face to the Name.
Think of the last time you watched the news. Why do you suppose reporters are on camera while describing a news story? People are programmed to pay attention to other people. If you want to better connect with your learners, it’s important to have your instructor’s face on screen. Having a face on screen creates focus and a sense of trust and demonstrates involvement on the part of the instructor.
It’s simple to demonstrate. Look at the following images and consider which one catches your attention.
It can sometimes be difficult to convince your instructors to put themselves on screen, but keep working on them, because the impact is worth the effort.
2. Speak Conversationally to Your Learners.
Once the instructor’s face is on the screen and ready to deliver content, it’s time to use your LMS to engage your stakeholders and enable efficient use of your workflows, relieve some pressure on your SLA, and support the release cadence of your end product.
See what I did there? If you’re anything like me, you completely glazed over the second part of that sentence. When you’re training a wide variety of learners, you need to speak to them conversationally.
A common rebuff to this concept is that training is geared toward people who already know their industry’s jargon, so they will understand. That reason alone is enough to give them a break from the usual and speak to them casually – especially if you expect them to push through technical training content. Try to explain concepts in a way that is easily understandable for the layperson, and you’ll be surprised at how appreciative the experts will be.
3. If They Can’t Hear It, They Won’t Watch It.
Far too often, audio isn’t a consideration when it comes to video. “Don’t worry, the built-in microphone should be good enough,” people say. “We can just use our phones to record the voice and sync it to the video later.”
If the learners can’t hear what you’re saying, or if there is distracting background noise, then it doesn’t matter how good your camera is and how great your video content looks on screen. Learners will walk away.
In the modern age of high-quality, sub-hundred-dollar USB microphones that you can plug directly into your computer, there is no excuse for audio quality issues. Find a quiet room and use a decent USB microphone, and all the work you put into your great video content will be matched by a full-toned, clear instructor voice.
4. Record Videos at 1080 Pixels or Higher.
Almost all of your learners will be watching your videos on computer monitors configured for a resolution of 1080 pixels or higher. Pay close attention to the video resolution you are recording in. Learners may excuse a slightly blurry video when watching a speaker on stage, but when they view a screen capture of a user interface covered in text, and that text is too blurry to read, you’ll lose them.
In this same vein, it’s important to keep in mind that just because text is legible in a small embedded frame within a website or LMS does not mean that the same text will be legible once it’s blown up to full screen on most monitors. Review your content in both small frame and full screen.
5. We have the Attention Span of Kittens.
In the age of YouTube and Instagram, we’ve collectively lost the attention span we need to endure a two-hour recorded lecture, even on a topic we are passionate about. Like kittens, we will go find another toy to play with.
For the sake of maintaining your learners’ attention, keep your videos short and concise. Resist the urge to create an hour-long lecture on one technical subject. Keep videos to five to ten minutes. Also, try to keep movement on the screen. If you’re using static slides, make sure you animate the slide points in the slideshow software itself or in a post-production suite. Doing so will create focus on the specific point and make the viewing more enjoyable.
When you get wrapped up in the complications of your learning systems and course building, don’t forget that the actual content you put into your courses matters a great deal. Fortunately, there are simple ways to make it shine and keep your learners engaged and on board.