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Natalie Lewendon A quick guide to choosing the right type of learning video

I read an interesting blog last week on the benefits of videoconferencing in learning, which got me thinking about how we use video to reach people, and how accessible it has become.

And with many L&D people now introducing video content, either standalone or as part of a blend, I wanted to take some time to consider the different types of video available to us and their best uses in the learning environment.

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Webinars and video conferencing

Great for: Delivering live sessions to a large audience
Not so great for: One-on-one feedback

Webinars can connect facilitators, trainers and experts with large, dispersed audiences, and can incorporate elements of audience participation and discussion.

It may be difficult to field questions from very large audiences, though, so may not be suitable for all purposes.

On the other hand, video conferencing can be a useful tool in social learning, and for smaller groups. Skype can host video calls for up to 25 people and learners can share their screens – something which would be difficult in a large webinar or video conference.


Bite-sized video

Great for: Performance support, strengthening recall, mobile learning, demo videos, talking heads, expert interviews, video tips
Not so great for: Lots of detail

Attention spans are shorter than they once were, which has seen the rise of  ‘chunking’ learning into smaller pieces, making it more easily digestible. Short video clips targeted at specific points of needs, can be a great way to make up these chunks.

Readily accessible videos that cover a single topic, can also support learners in their everyday roles. They can be watched on demand, wherever the learner is, making this perfect for performance support - and meeting learners at their point of need.


Instructional video

Great for: In-depth descriptions, demonstrations, tutorials
Not so great for: Point-of-need learning

One big benefit of using video in your learning is harnessing its power to get a large volume of information across quickly. This is excellent when you have a lot of information – perhaps around inductions, new processes or new products, or complex information such as best practices or various scenarios – and the traditional PowerPoint or full report won’t get the depth of engagement you need.

A longer, well-structured video can provide space for explanation of detailed concepts, and is a great way to introduce new skills, knowledge or behaviour to be learned or reinforced.


Curated video

Great for: Wider development – like soft skills and leadership, budget
Not so great for: Tailored content

With more and more hours of thought-provoking video uploaded every day, sourcing video that supports the learning you’re delivering can provide good results when incorporated into your blend.

Towards Maturity report that many L&D professionals are using a curation or content repurposing approach—with 64% using resources such as YouTube and TED talks, rather than developing original video. This can save money on creating bespoke video, and also weave in new ideas and compelling storytelling.

However - if you can't find something that fits, leaves something key out, or includes content that doesn't deliver on your message, you may want to think twice about using it. Key to this is leaving enough time to research and prepare - curation means investing time to find the right resources, so being organised is key!


Interactive video

Great for: Quizzes, how-tos, company culture, recruitment
Not so great for: Expert interviews, talking heads

Interactive video can be used to create effective learning materials that really engage the viewer, and can create a platform for learners for test things out – an opportunity to make the wrong choice and see what consequence it may have.

Engagement is a key benefit here – learners need to stay alert and focussed, and test their knowledge throughout.

One more thing - VR is gaining popularity and a lot of ‘buzz’ as a learning delivery method. It’s a jump from video to VR, perhaps, but you can try it out this weekend with nothing more than your smartphone, as the Guardian are giving away free Google Cardboard VR headsets free with the newspaper.


Try it out, and let me know on Twitter if you can see a place for this kind of digital experience in your learning strategy! 

Want to look at additional digital elements for your learning? Access our microlearning webinar now!

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Natalie Lewendon, Content and Marketing Executive

Bringing you business, leadership and L&D wisdom from the experts.

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