Lights, camera, action…everyone loves a video! And, videos make a great addition to eLearning courses. But is a video always the right option? Not always.
Here are five questions to ask before you spend the time (or money) adding video to your course:
Will this video help increase learners’ understanding of the topic?
First things first, don’t include a video just to add some pizazz to your eLearning course. Just like any other content, the video needs to help you meet the learning objectives. If you’re creating systems training, a video is an efficient way to illustrate the steps learners need to take to complete various tasks in the system. If you’re trying to demonstrate effective and ineffective communication styles, sharing examples via video might be an efficient way to illustrate your point. Make sure you keep the objectives in mind at all times when you’re considering whether or not a video will add impact.
Will a short video clip suffice?
If you’re drafting a video script and realize it’s about 10 minutes in length: re-evaluate the strategy. Although videos involve movement and often include audio, viewing a video is still a passive experience for learners. Watching and understanding the key points of a video requires concentration and effort. Make sure your videos are short (no more than 5 minutes in length) and follow-up with an activity or interaction that allows learners to cement the learning.
Are the tools in place to update videos as needed?
When you launch the course, your video will be current and up-to-date. Content in the video needs to stay current—anyone who has viewed a dated video during an in-person workshop can tell you how distracting old footage becomes. Rather than focusing on the content or the message, learners are busy critiquing hair styles, fashion, and anything else that demonstrates the content is out-of-date. Keep the content current, and make sure you’re using the latest technology so that you can ensure the video downloads quickly
Do you need a way to deliver a message from leadership to a large group of people?
Some people argue that “talking heads” shouldn’t be included in a video. I disagree. Sometimes the best way to deliver a powerful message from the organization’s leadership team is by including a brief video in an eLearning course. Keep in mind that it has to be the right leader. The person in front of the camera must comfortable being filmed and must be able to engage with an invisible audience. Whether it’s a story that illustrates your training topic or a message about why taking the training is important, the right leader can inspire your learners with a meaningful message.
Can we create a quality video?
If you can’t create a quality video, don’t bother. Just like the out-of-date hairstyles, learners will be distracted by a video that looks like it was made in your grandmother’s basement. Instead of including a second rate video production, consider using other types of interactions (quizzes, simulations, or games) to engage learners. You might also look at using a voiceover with some expertly chosen cutouts that will illustrate your point rather than detract from it with a less-than-great video presentation.
Ask yourself these questions before you decide to include a video to ensure that you’re making the right choice. If a video is the best option, your learners will still be smiling as they enjoy the lights, camera, and action in your eLearning course.
Liz Sheffield is a freelance writer with a background in training and development. She specializes in writing about everything related to the human side of business. You can contact her via LinkedIn or Twitter.