When to Include Video in eLearning? Three Indicators
Feb. 18, 2015 • Greg Ball • Video
When it comes
to eLearning, not every topic needs video for the program to be
effective, but some really do. Video
can often play an important role in how quickly and fully you can learn and
retain information. Studies have shown that learning by watching substantially increases
How do you know when you should use video for your eLearning
program? Here are three indicators:
Indicator #1: Whenever
“Let me show you how it’s done” gets better results than explaining the process
example. In my experience producing training videos for Burger King
Corporation, we found that when we added video to the eLearning mix, restaurant
employees learned how to prepare sandwiches much more easily than without it.
theory and purpose behind the preparation steps for each sandwich, and Burger
King needed their employees to prepare them in a consistent, standardized way.
King performed training using a PowerPoint style, where the trainee read the
instructions, and then reviewed diagrams of how each ingredient was to be added
to a sandwich. For example, many sandwiches include mayo, ketchup, mustard,
onions, pickles, and cheese, and Burger King had specific instructions for
applying each of these ingredients.
trainees understood the ingredients, we found that they still had trouble
applying this learning to preparing actual sandwiches according to directions. When
we added video to the training, the trainee saw exactly how to swirl the
ketchup and mustard in a circular motion, how to overlap the pickle slices so
there would be a pickle in every bite, etc.
combination of watching the actual steps in a video, combined with applying
these procedures in a Burger King kitchen, usually with a trainer present, really
helped these trainees learn the process and retain the information.
Indicator #2: When
the process is visually complicated
Let’s say you’re training someone who is not
particularly technical on installing parts into a computer. That can be a very
intimidating and complicated process for most people. One wire or connector in
the wrong spot, and the computer may not function.
Explaining something as complicated as this by using
words on the screen or still images can be helpful, but many people will still
find the material too difficult and confusing. When you add video to the
training, the learner gets to watch exactly how to disconnect or attach a
connector. It adds substantially to their confidence, level of understanding,
and the ability to complete the task.
We’ve all turned to YouTube for demonstrations on how
to do something complex and beyond our technical ability. Viewing the actual process,
especially from various angles, can make all the difference.
Indicator #3: When there’s real technique involved that’s more easily
One area where this can work well is sales or customer
service eLearning. Role playing scenarios fall into this category, since proper
demonstration is key. For sales training, using video to demonstrate how to
deliver a sales presentation by using actors and customers can be very effective.
This allows the learner to see and hear behavior, such as proper tone, facial expressions, and body language, that is more easily demonstrated than talked about.
One of our clients successfully used video to help
their granite countertop sales force meet customer objections and close more
sales. We used their organization’s top sales person, along with actors playing
customers, to show how to present the products. We also used a reality show
style, to allow the actors/customers to explain why certain sales strategies
used by the sales person worked.
At Burger King, we used video roleplaying scenarios to
teach front-counter and drive-thru employees how to deal with a variety of
situations. We were able to teach topics such as how to deliver quick and
friendly service, effective handling of complaints, upselling meals, and even dealing
with robberies or violent situations in a restaurant.
We used very memorable situations, and often paused
the video in the middle, asking the trainee to answer the question “What would
you do here?” We found that this interactive technique was very helpful in the
In summary, if you look
for these three situations, you’re more likely to consider using video as part
of your eLearning courses for appropriate topics. Please remember that the
higher the video quality, the better the retention. Make sure you use a
production company that can consistently give you good-quality video.