Videos in eLearningAccording to the website, YouTube is the 3rd most visited website in the world. Additionally, the total number of hours of video watched on YouTube each month is 3.25 billion. You may think using videos in eLearning is just another ploy to cater to millennials, with their short attention spans, but looking at age groups with the highest numbers on YouTube suggests that Generation X and the Baby Boomers are also drawn to video (25-34 – 23%, 35-44 – 26%, 45-54 – 16%).

With the popularity of online videos and the increased emphasis on microlearning, it just makes sense to use videos in eLearning. Why?

  • Videos are more engaging and memorable than text.
  • Videos can contain smaller chunks of information in a short amount of time making content easier to absorb.
  • Videos enhance story-based lessons, allowing learners to better connect with the content.
  • Especially in terms of leadership, sensitivity, diversity, and other soft skills training, videos make it easier to understand behavior, emotion, and culture, because the learner can fully see and interpret things like tone of voice, body language, posture, etc. adding dimension and depth to lessons that would be harder to understand in text format.
  • Videos can provoke discussions.
  • Videos invite learners to analyze what they are watching and think critically about how they would respond in certain situations, making scenarios especially powerful using this medium.

Of course, not all video is created equal. If you use video in a course but it’s just a man or woman speaking in an academic and often monotone way, you have lost your audience. Ben Stein is a clever man, but listening to him speak could lull the fussiest of infants to sleep. The most effective videos show a person what to do or what not to do, especially surrounding topics such as customer service and sales. Using immersive scenarios and impactful storylines provides your learner with a better connection to the content. Make it realistic and the learner will better relate.

As always, the best practice is to put yourself in the learner’s shoes. By now most of us have taken an online course, been bored to death, scanned the slides or pdf or pages for just enough information that we can confidently take the assessment at the end and be done, retaining nothing at all.  Microlearning is booming because we’re busy, our attention spans are small, and we want a snack-sized solution to our immediate knowledge need. Regarding video, if watching the whole thing isn’t mandatory, approximately 20% of the people who start your video will leave after the first 10 seconds. That means you need to grab their attention from the start. If possible make the video interactive for maximum engagement. If you can’t create interactive videos, at least follow up with a summary, and thought-provoking questions on what they saw and how the video made them view the topic differently. Have the learner summarize what they learned. That reflection will increase retention.

To conclude, you would have preferred to watch this rather than read it. It could have included animations and scenarios which would have helped you retain up to 65% more of what you just read after 3 days. If by some chance you’re a millennial, you looked at this and immediately thought TLDR (too long didn’t read). But if you’re a member of Generation X or even a Baby Boomer, you probably would have enjoyed a video too. Did you know that the average blog post which will garner the greatest bang for the SEO buck is 2,500 words? Now would you rather read that excessively long academic paper of a blog post or watch a 3-minute video which gives you the same information? I’ll bet you’d much rather watch a short video. Well, your learners feel the same way. So, consider using videos in eLearning, offering your learners a snack-sized solution to gain the knowledge they need.

Remember that videos are simply more engaging. They offer small chunks of information in a short amount of time making them perfect examples of microlearning. They enhance story-based lessons and give the viewer a connection to the content. They enhance comprehension, especially in soft skills-based training. They provoke discussion and analysis as well as critical thinking, as the learner wonders “what would I do?”.  With all these benefits, why not try adding videos to eLearning in your organization?

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