If you are like many people responsible for talent development these days, you’re feeling a little adrift. There is so much information out there about training: what works and what doesn’t work, how you’re wasting your budget, how not to waste your budget, how adults learn, how to boost retention…it’s a real information overload. How do you get past the data and continue to be effective?

You keep reading that video gives high ROI, but you may not be all that comfortable with the technical side of things (leveraging BYOD, attention span data, structuring video for retention, etc.), and if you aren’t a geek, you may feel quite challenged.

Take heart. Your skills and experience are as valuable as ever. In recent posts, I’ve tried to boil down the information overload into bite-sized, actionable pieces. I’ve examined why video is one of the strongest training tools available, and how it functions to enable adult learning. Today, I’d like to focus on how to make the paradigm shift from in-person training to video-based learning.

Video-based learning employs a different learning style than in-person teaching, so it makes sense that the presenter/curriculum developer needs to approach it in a different way to get the best use from it.

Is video the best format for what I need to teach?

The first step in developing training is to match the presentation style to the material. Video is an incredibly powerful teaching tool—for some forms of training. If you want to teach something that can be concentrated and summarized, video is your tool of choice. Let’s look at some examples.

You work for an international fast food corporation, and you need to teach people all over the world a set of discrete steps to preparing a new menu offering. Video saves the day: you can create the same script in many different languages, roll it out simultaneously around the globe with the push of a button, and play it for employees right in the kitchen, as many times as they need to see it.

You need to teach people subject matter that requires significant background knowledge and involves internalizing a flow chart of decision-making. Video can play a significant role in parts of that process, but you’ll also need printed material and in-person resourcing.

You need to teach someone an involved skill like watch repair. While video might supply some valuable background information, the most important part of your training will be hands-on practice with a mentor.

Give up control

The most significant change in this paradigm shift is that the control of the training process shifts from the trainer to the training consumer. Your planning process begins with the employee, and how to present information in the best way for he or she to access, consume, assimilate, retain, and implement. How can you best serve the person you are trying to teach?

Though it certainly makes sense in terms of effective teaching, this is a big change in your thinking. You must reconsider the steps of information delivery, from concept and delivery through evaluation.

Making the transition

Here are some concrete things you can do to make this paradigm shift.

  • Focus on the benefits video and animation provide, rather than feeling overwhelmed by working in a medium with which you are unfamiliar. Find professional support that makes you comfortable and confident.
  • Make sure your content is appropriate for video presentation.
  • Work in small, bite-sized chunks of information.
  • Remember that video is a highly visual medium where you can leverage both hearing and seeing at the same time. Not everything has to be said and not everything has to be seen.
  • Create training that has a beginning, middle, and end, allowing the viewer to understand where they are in the process.
  • Retain the proven educational approach: tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and summarize what you told them.
  • Think more broadly than content. Incorporate assessments, quizzes, and evaluations as part of the process. Interactive elements help increase retention, reflection, and confidence in the material learned.
  • Write the content to be spoken, not read. Be clear on the feeling and corporate identity you want the video to project. Don’t be afraid to use humor. This helps avoid stuffy, boring voice-over narration.
  • Budget for good production value so your training doesn’t feel cheesy, sound bad, or look terrible. Project the quality you want your employees to achieve.

Too good to ignore

There is no doubt that video and animation have great value in the world of training. It respects adult learners, gives them the ability to control their learning pace, andprovides measurable ROI.

In short, it’s too good an opportunity to ignore. It is a different medium than the in-person training we relied on for many generations, and that does require a shift in how we think about and prepare curriculum. The good news is, you don’t have to know it all. We will bring the technical knowledge to match your subject-matter expertise, forging a partnership to benefit everyone involved. It might even be fun.