Tips to Use Video as a Learning Tool

Anyone who has ever sat through a corporate video training course knows that not all video content is created equal. It’s not enough to record someone teaching a class and put it online. Video content has to be engaging, relevant and easy to consume if it’s going to add value to the training program.

“The need for quality instructional design doesn’t change just because you are using a new tool,” said Tom Dorriety, instructional designer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

The team at BCBS, which is building a library of on-demand video training courses through its BLOOM initiative, offers this advice for how to make sure video training is engaging as a workforce learning tool.

You’re not a trainer. You’re a consultant. The idea behind BLOOM is to encourage the workforce to capture and share its own corporate knowledge via video. To do that, the learning and development team had to stop viewing themselves as learning providers and start seeing themselves as learning enablers, said Jeff Tyson, director of instructional systems at the insurance firm.

Recognize that different people learn in different ways. Video won’t work for everyone or for every occasion. It’s about giving people options, said Chris Peronto, director of strategy and innovation at BCBS. “Some people retain information from reading, while others prefer to watch,” he said. “Video should be viewed as another way to resonate with your workforce.”

Keep it short. Viewers today have little time for training and even shorter attention spans, said Adri Maisonet-Morales, vice president and head of the learning team at the company. “They want bite-sized nuggets of knowledge that they can consume and keep moving without having their lives disrupted,” she said.

Be provocative. The best videos succinctly introduce employees to a concept and leave them wanting more. “You want viewers to go away thinking about how that information will help them connect with their jobs in new ways,” Peronto said.

Find a champion. Just because people love to watch videos doesn’t mean they will be eager to star in one, said Heather Lynn Bailiff, BCBS’ manager of communications. “You need one or two leaders who are willing to show people how it works,” she said.

Manage quality control. Every video has to add value for employees to stay engaged, Tyson said. To avoid building a library of boring content, offer employees tips for generating useful videos, train people across the company to help their teams identify training topics and ask viewers for feedback on the value of the training to make sure standards for good content are being met.