How to create an effective training video for your employees
Thursday, December 10, 2020
Video has long been a critical part of educating employees. This term might remind some of grainy 1990s VHS videos, but actually, 76% of employees today believe video is an effective learning method.
Nowadays, though, there are more advanced ways to make great training videos for your workforce, helping you educate your workforce and boost employee satisfaction using your education program. You can deliver these videos in person or remotely.
You have two primary choices regarding training or educational videos for your staff: using commercial-off-the-shelf training videos or making your own. The former has the advantage of taking much less time and being generally easier.
However, a commercial video may not have the exact information that you want to give to your staff. You run the risk of providing generic information that your staff already know. If you want to give tailored training videos that suit your business’s specific needs, you need to make your own videos. In this article, we’ll give some advice on how you can make those videos most effectively.
Making an engaging and effective video
Know your audience: think about who you are planning on delivering the video to. Think about their age, sex, their position in the company, education level, and so on. Videos delivered to different kinds of workers have to be tailored differently. You need to engage and connect with your employees through video, so you need to make videos specifically for them. This is true even for videos that you think might apply to an entire workforce, like workplace equality training.
Keep your videos short. According to MIT, the optimal length for a video is six minutes. After that, viewers’ attention spans start decreasing. So, separate your videos into six-minute chunks. You can still play them together – consider having an in-person Questions and Answers section after each video. Keep your videos short and to the point.
If you’re worried about communications with employees working from home, you can stream longer videos to them in short chunks, pause, then discuss. The Questions and Answers section gives you a chance to get feedback on the video too, especially if you can’t gauge their response in person.
Include annotations and subtitles too. Some people may find your speech hard to understand, or might learn better from visual rather than audio cues; especially if it involves non-speech, like phone numbers, for example.
With home office broadband getting faster and faster, a lot of people are beginning to upload their own educational videos for their business. However, many of these violate the basic style requirements for an effective video.
Make sure you use a clean background. Clutter in the background is distracting and makes it hard for the viewer to focus their attention on what’s going on. Nobody wants to watch a video on how to use an all in one desktop app if there’s a cat moving around in the background. Try to use a clear colored background
There is one exception. A training video can benefit from being filmed in a professional setting, especially one where the work is actually done. For instance, a video for cloud computing companies could be set with a server bank in the background – as long as it’s not distracting.
Notice how the man’s eyes and the center of his torso align to two intersection lines, vertical and horizontal, respectively. Source: Digital Photography School
When filming, remember the rule of thirds. It’s quite simple: divide the screen into nine imaginary boxes and think about the lines intersecting them. Humans naturally draw their attention to these lines, so place anything you want to bring attention to — the person on the screen, perhaps — along those lines.
Tools and materials
You only really need three things to get started — a camera, a microphone, and video editing software. If you need to demonstrate how something works on a screen, like a collaboration app for example, then you might need screen capture software, too.
There are free and low-cost versions of all these things (your phone is probably good enough to be a camera and a microphone, for instance) but better quality equipment and software might cost you something. If you are planning on making lots of videos, consider buying some good software or equipment. You don’t want your materials to look cheap.
Ensuring your video gets watched
Imagine spending all that time making a video only for employees not to watch it. It’s easy to imagine: an employee simply skips through your video on customers making the transition to telehealth and says they understood it.
Luckily, the technology exists for this: video tracking software. Learning management systems have software that bookmarks and records the progress of an employee. It prevents skipping ahead, and if they quit, they’ll be returned to where they were before.
LMS software also allows you to choose how much of a video your employees must watch if the video is long and they are short of time. You can select a minimum of 75%, or 85%, or whatever you think is suitable.
Making sure that your employees watch your video is important, otherwise, there’s no point making it in the first place.
Where to start?
If you’ve decided to make your own videos, we recommend starting small, with something highly specific that your employees can straight away take something from and use immediately. Perhaps that’s why video learning has been shown to hugely increase employee satisfaction.
Source: VMP E-Learning
An employee referral program or some other employee-based activity would be a good start. You can then check uptake and survey people as to whether the video was useful and how you could improve it.
After all, the advantage of making your own videos is that you can personalize it for your business. Surveying your employees about the videos you make is the best way to get useful feedback on their utility.
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