Instructional Media StrategiesVideo Production

Can Videos Replace My Manufacturing eLearning Courses?

How to develop effective e-learning courses through strategic use of video

Use of video by large companies for their employees is exploding. By 2016, predicts Gartner Research, each employee will be viewing 45 minutes of business videos per day.

Video has some great benefits in the workplace. It can:

  • Show what can’t easily be seen or is difficult to explain
  • Provide convincing expert testimonials
  • Demonstrate procedures
  • Tell stories in a convincing manner
  • Engage the viewer emotionally, visually and personally in ways that text can’t
  • Increase retention by involving multiple senses
  • Illustrate realistic case studies

Plus, videos are in demand. Most employees would rather watch a video than read instructions.

So let’s get rid of instructional designers and hire video producers. Let’s give ‘em what they want! Right?

Well, not so fast. Keep in mind, viewing is not learning

Although video has many strengths, using video as the sole, stand-alone instructional technique has limitations. Video is:

Linear (even annotated, non-linear video is very limited)
Not customizable
Non-responsive – it cannot judge responses or provide feedback

As a standalone item, video can be effective as an on-demand resource, used in blended learning for instructor support and in limited applications as a demonstration tool.  But relying solely on video to deliver self-paced training is generally not the most effective method for comprehensive training. Video is most effective when it is appropriately integrated into a -multi-layered training program that allows for practice, feedback, assessment, and the opportunity to dig deeper.

Videos do a good job of showing, but they don’t let you practice.

Performing activities is at the core of most training objectives. Video allows you to view, but does not let the learner internalize the training by practicing.

Adult learning theory suggests that retention and engagement is increased when adults interact and participate in their own learning.

Effective, immersive multimedia e-learning uses a strategic combination of training methods in addition to video to help students achieve their goals. Suggestions beyond standalone video for development of a fully interactive e-learning include:

  • Incorporate ACTIVE learning experiences such as use of scenarios and interactive activities
  • Offer learners the opportunity to dig deeper or seek assistance by linking to additional resources, providing embedded Help, or encouraging engagement in social learning to maximize their experience.
  • Build in games, simulations and other interactive activities that can result in a more engaging experience than linear video.
  • Develop opportunities for students to check their knowledge and be provided with customized reinforcement
  • Embed navigation controls so users have a self-paced learning experience.
  • Vary the instructional methodology used throughout the program

Video is only one of many tools in the Instructional Designer’s toolbox and used appropriately, it can offer great value and results. But it is rarely THE solution for comprehensive, self-paced e-learning. When developing a course plan, ask yourself, is video the best tool for me to help learners accomplish a certain objective?

Ron Trilling
Author of Learning Lines | Founder and Partner, at Media Dynamics
Ron is a great source of information when it comes to eLearning. He has a background in instructional design and has worked with many companies to help develop their eLearning content and courses.
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