What do wireless headsets, LED lighting, portable cordless vacuums, freeze-dried foods, memory foam and scratch resistant eyeglass lenses have in common?
No – they’re not just the contents of your latest Groupon email. They all exist, in large part, thanks to innovation inspired by the space race.
They weren’t all entirely new ideas or concepts – but without the investment and innovation that went hand-in-hand with putting a man on the moon, they simply wouldn’t have been developed and evolved into their current form.
Historic events often drive innovation and change in this way – and that’s a phenomenon that’s playing out now in the world of video training.
Just like the list of technologies above, online video training isn’t a brand new concept – it certainly wasn’t invented from scratch in 2020. But the seismic events of the year could well mark a turning point that makes it the dominant way to train employees in future.
The research certainly suggests so. Voices.com’s 2021 Voice Acting Trends report found that 33% of respondents cited an increased demand for eLearning content and online training as a trend impacting their business or industry during 2020.
So what is it that makes video such an effective, and sought-after online training tool? We spoke to 10 video training advocates about their successes and experiences…
Showing AND telling: a powerful combination
Something that came up repeatedly in our conversations was the power of video compared to written and printed materials thanks to its multi-sensory qualities. By incorporating audio, visuals and motion, video is able to both show AND tell.
“As we are a small business, I take care of the entire training process,” says Will Ward, CEO of Translation Equipment HQ – a B2B ecommerce company specialising in translation equipment.
“Most people are audio-visual learners and videos are the best training tool for such learning. Moreover a lot of information can be packed into one video without making it too complicated.”
Aaron Haynes, CEO of Loganix – an SEO marketing company, agreed. “For some companies like ours, video is an incredibly important tool for training,” he says.
“We have to train our employees and teach them how to use complex and powerful SEO tools to do their work, so It’s not something you can do without screen-showing. We use both pre-recorded and live videos to train our employees on how to use our communication systems, SEO tools, and other tools related to our work. It’s simple, cheap, and efficient.”
This is backed up by our research which suggests that 89% of people feel video is an effective tool for training.
It’s also comfortably the most popular training tool, preferred by 36% of people – giving it a wide victory over one-on-one training (25%), shadowing/work-based learning (17%,) classroom training in groups (12%) and training manuals/workbooks (9%).
Repeat and revisit
Gone are the days when training was a ‘one-and-done’ thing.
Training often needs to be revisited and refreshed, and video is a perfect way to offer this capacity for ongoing, top-up learning.
Our recent survey found that 15% of employees say they NEVER have their training revisited or refreshed – a huge problem which can be quickly overcome by incorporating more video.
“I would rate video as the number one technique compared to all other training techniques,” says Will Ward of Translation Equipment HQ. “The only thing which comes close is in-person training. But videos are still better because it can be replayed whenever you want and cheaper to implement.”
That’s an opinion shared by Akkram Asaaf, Co-founder & CTO of Bayt.com – a leading job-search platform in the Middle East:
“Using both video and audio to train people is a lot more efficient, and our employees can always go back to the video in case they need to.”
Better learning outcomes
Akkram Asaaf, also credits video with driving better results among learners – not only driving knowledge retention but also making employees more receptive to new ideas and material, even outside working hours.
“Our training process is a lot cheaper than before,” he says. “Knowledge retention is up by 40% and employees are more receptive to training in their own time.”
“I can say from anecdotal experience that this approach is much more friendly for the individual that has to deal with complex systems and work tools.”
Research cited by Matt Bertram, CEO of EWR Digital – a digital marketing agency focused on SEO and corporate videography – paints a similar picture:
“We have found that video training boosts information retention,”
“According to our internal data, the retention rate for video training is 60% than when using traditional methods based on slides and written documents.”
“Video training also boosts work productivity as no time has to be wasted in taking employees to a training venue for a presentation that can take a whole day.”
Content for anywhere, anytime
We all know the pandemic created a huge number of new remote workers. In many cases, this will be a permanent arrangement.
The fact that video can be consumed whenever, wherever, is a key selling point that has helped many businesses adjust to this trend.
Alison Pearson, Head of HR at Waldman and Associates explains:
“Using videos for training saved my life this past spring!
I am a very hands-on onboarder, and when we hire, it’s usually just one or two people at a time so I can just show them the ropes by pointing and talking in their offices.
Well, with the shut downs, our new hires didn’t always come into the office.
When they did, it wasn’t (and still isn’t) socially acceptable to be working over their shoulder.
So, I went to work typing up guides. But can I tell you how utterly boring that was? I just dragged my feet through making each one.
Luckily, for a few, like teaching our new hires how to save case research and access case-related discovery, and such, I created a video.
It was like night and day that I created a video for how to access the HR platform too. This is where they add and update all their contact information, receive pay statements, W-2s, sign-up for their benefits, etc.
To be able to walk them through these in a covid-friendly hands-on way has been glorious that I have been updating all my guides to video.
It’ll eventually become a quarterly project to update the videos as things inevitably change. I wonder if I’ll ever go back to hands-on, over-the-shoulder teaching again!”
The ‘anytime, anywhere’ aspect of video training also appeals to Matt Bertram of EWR Digital: “Most of our team work remotely and the rest work in our office,” he explains. “We have found video training has been effective for both our remote and our office employees, (as it) can be accessed anytime and anywhere.”
“This is very important when many of our people are working flexible schedules, and some are working in the office and others at home.”
“The fact is that these days it’s almost impossible to gather every member of our team together at the same time and place, so video training is our only solution.”
An ever-shrinking barrier
Another factor which came up repeatedly was the increasing ease and shrinking price of creating educational video content.
Aaron Haynes at Loganix discussed how easily his business can use software tools like Loom to create video quickly and easily. “I can just sit on my computer, turn on the app, and record a quick 10-minute training video going through the whole process,” he says. “Video and audio quality guaranteed.
On top of that, we collect all of these videos and put them in something like Google Docs, where employees can access them 24/7 in case they need to refresh their minds. It’s a very simple yet amazing approach. We use it for onboarding, communication training, technical training, sales training, client training, and much more.”
James Surrey, Founder of Review Home Warranties also uses Loom and he discussed how these ‘rough and ready’ videos can be surprisingly effective.
“I regularly record videos with training updates and send them to the staff for viewing. I use Loom for recording and have a database on our company collaboration tool where all the videos are archived and can be reviewed with a click of a link.
The video themselves are quite crude and nothing fancy. Often, it’s just a video of myself discussing some training methods and pulling up a few screenshots. As someone who researches, writes, and edits home warranty review guides, a quick video is an effective way to disseminate the latest updates and expectations from staff.
Since it’s all for internal use, there’s no need for any editing to make the video more presentable. It costs practically nothing and is actually a time saver. If employees have questions, I could just refer them to one of the archived videos.”
Reduced training costs and saved time
One of the pitfalls of employee training is that it can be time consuming for organisations to roll out and implement.
The time it takes to prepare resources and training materials, accompanied by the time to deliver them, and – of course – the time it takes employees away from their workstation, all adds up and can be considerable.
One of video’s key benefits, which people repeatedly spoke of, was its ability to save time – reducing the burden on organisation’s staffing levels and productivity.
“As a training tool video has really revolutionized how we cooperate both internally and externally,” says Quincy Smith of Test Prep Nerds:
“I can’t speak to how much time it saves the recipients, but the people who make the videos have probably saved 100s of hours combined – all you need to do is make the video once, save it in the SOP list, add it to the template than every time a similar task is created the video link is attached!”
Rex Freiberger, CEO @ The Call Of, a travel and lifestyle guide, agrees: “I’d estimate it saves us at least a day’s worth of time and resources in the onboarding process.”
“We use video as a more efficient way of training our employees in our editorial standards. It’s easier to show them than to just throw a long document at them.
With video, we can point out good examples as well as what not to do. It saves us lots of time, too, since managers don’t have to keep going over the same points.”
This is a view shared by David Alexander, Designer, Developer & Digital Marketer at Mazepress. He explains: “I don’t have any data but I am confident that email exchanges that might have taken 30 minutes or more combined have been reduced down to 5 or 10-minute videos and that has a material impact on my ability to get more done.”
Thanks for reading!
Almost invariably, people in organisations across many different niches and industries, were happy to extol the virtue of video as a training tool.
The quotes we’ve laid out in this post tell you all you need to know: training videos offer better learning outcomes, they’re more popular among learners, they can be revisited on demand, watched anytime, anywhere – and this unlocks cost and time savings that are transformational in how businesses’ relationship with training and development.
And it all shows that video training is right on course to become just as ubiquitous as the ‘space age’ technology we now take for granted! 😁 🚀