How to Create a Great Training Video

Modern learners expect to be engaged from beginning to end. Boring voiceovers accompanying dull PowerPoint presentations won’t cut it anymore. If a training video doesn’t fully engage the viewer, they won’t retain the information.

Making It Memorable

Fortunately, along with new technology, we have access to valuable metrics that demonstrate business value and isolate the essential elements in effective learning videos. This use of data is a central pillar of effective marketing and training videos alike. Creating a training video follows a lot of the same principles as marketing. It’s all about creating a memorable experience that viewers want to engage with. Here are some steps you can take to create a training video that learners are sure to remember:

Align training videos with your brand. Your company’s brand is vital, and training videos should align with it. Besides being on-brand visually, one of the best methods for showcasing your organization’s brand and culture in a training video is to use shots from within your business. Let an employee be the voice of videos. If you’re on a budget, there’s no reason to hire expensive voice actors when there’s probably someone within your company willing to lend their voice to a training video.

Define your target audience. Generic videos have a generic effect. Create videos with specific learners in mind, and isolate the intended audience with a learner persona. Interview employees to get a feel for their personalities so your video for that learner base resonates. Write down everything, and use that information to create a profile that defines the target audience for the video. Once you have that information in writing, answer these three questions for every video you create:

  • What information do they need to learn?
  • Why do they need to learn this information?
  • How will these training videos benefit them?

Lay out the concept with a storyboard and script. Don’t just list a few points and start filming. Lay the training out on a storyboard that transitions from one point to the next. Create a visual for the learning journey employees are about to take. Having a storyboard keeps your video clear, credible, and concise. Once the storyboard has been laid out, write a script. Follow along with your storyboard and jot down the dialogue for each phase of the video. Here are a few essential tips:

  • Do not use jargon. Learning videos must be simple and easy to understand.
  • Read your script aloud when you edit it. This helps you spot errors before the cameras start rolling.
  • Always have someone else—preferably one of your targeted learners—read the script and provide feedback.

Prioritizing Engagement

Both data and common sense tell us that when a video fails to engage its audience, learners lose focus and forget what they watched. On the other hand, an audience that’s engaged with a video will remember the experience. The culmination of your effective storyboard and script should be a training video that speaks to your learner and draws them in with one key message that is heart- or mind-opening. Here are some techniques you can use to prioritize engagement:

Add interactive elements when possible. One effective way to produce an engaging training video is to provide interactive elements that focus on the key message. Programs like Camtasia and Articulate Storyline and others make this an easy task for anyone with basic editing skills. For training videos, have learners answer a series of questions before moving on to the next video.

Use a storytelling approach. Another method of engagement is to impart a memorable experience to viewers through stories. Storytelling is a time-tested method used in training; telling a compelling story takes learners on a journey through each lesson. That’s how educators are able to keep young children enlarged in their lessons. But the storytelling approach isn’t just for children. It works for everyone. Define the core message of the training video and then search for creative ways to take the viewer on a journey to learn the lesson. Learners have a low attention span. If they are not entertained, they won’t pay attention. But if you can reel them in with a compelling story, they will be fully engaged.

Be concise. Don’t throw an hour-long video at participants and then expect them to remember every detail. Researchers have found that an audience’s attention span plummets after six minutes. Create modules that contain several short videos, each ideally focusing on a single learning objective.

Putting it All Together

Many companies underestimate the importance of creating engaging experiences for employees, even though it’s in their best interest. Create a series of videos that showcases your organization’s culture, engages the audience, and teaches learners the valuable information they need to do their jobs.

Finally, don’t forget the all-important step of monitoring results. Pay attention to new employees to see how much of the information they retained. If you notice a gap, ask them for their honest opinions. No training video will be perfect right away, so ask for feedback to discover ways to improve the next one so you can provide engaging video learning that sticks.

To learn more, sign up to attend Danielle Wallace’s session at the ATD 2022 International Conference & EXPO, Make It Stick: Engagement Strategies for Effective E-Learning.

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