For employees, few terms may elicit a sense of impending boredom than “training video.” For many, the idea of a training video elicits images of outdated and hokey content filmed using terrible “actors.”
At the same time, the concept of a training video makes good sense for training and development professionals. Recording a training session is a great way to expand the reach of a one-off training. Instead of having an experienced trainer spend hours or days repeating the same training session in live settings, a single recording can be continually reused as a refresher or to bring new employees up to speed on important issues.
So, how do you capitalize on the force-multiplying potential of a training video while avoiding the potential boredom and lack of engagement? In an article for the Association of Talent Development (ATD), Danielle Wallace discusses five common pitfalls of employee training videos.
Lacks Emotional or Thought-Provoking Content
A training video isn’t intended to be a tear-jerking Oscar-contender, but it shouldn’t be overly dull either. Take advantage of the medium to keep your audience engaged.
The Key Message Is Written, Not Shown
Many instructional videos simply show a video of written content. This can be provided on a printed handout. If you opt to use a video, be sure that you are capitalizing on the advantage of this media: Show—don’t write.
The Message Is Inconsistent
Even among professionals, attention spans are short. Branching off onto endless tangents will confuse and distract your audience. Pick a clear, simple message, and stay consistent.
Video Is Not Distinctive
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to instructional videos. If your video is too similar to 90% of what your audience has already seen, expect them to have trouble remembering your content and message.
Poor Use of Dramatization
A training video isn’t the place to flex your theatrical muscles. Adding too much “flare” can leave your audience rolling their eyes and missing the key information.
Live, in-person training may be the preference for many L&D professionals—and employees. But, due to time commitments, budgets, geographical constraints, and other factors, it’s typically far more efficient to record and replay a training session. The key to success through better engagement is to avoid some of the common pitfalls that render such recordings boring and ineffective.