Everyone loves a good video.

Picture this: you’re making your way through an eLearning module assigned to you by HR, clicking through page after page of text. At first, you were determined to be engaged, but now your eyes are starting glaze over and the information is going in one ear and out the other. You keep clicking through, but then up pops a video!

Suddenly, your attention is back. Maybe it’s an animation, interview or a scenario providing a new angle on the information. When you get to the quiz at the end of the module, it’s the video that’s playing in your head, providing the answers.

We know instinctively that videos are more interesting than text. But why?

Videos take charge of our eyes and our ears with images, motion, sound and text. When these elements are designed well, they can reach into our affective domain (our thoughts and feelings) to reshape our cognitive domain (our knowledge and understanding). In a nutshell, learning that engages multiple senses is far more memorable for learners.

Videos can also be important for building trust between the learner and the content. Learners want to know that what they are being taught comes from an authoritative source. Learners who trust their learning content are more likely to pay attention and apply their learning. Videos present an opportunity to put a face to the source of the information and introduce subject matter experts.

However, throwing in any old video at any point in your module won’t somehow magically add value to the learning experience. In fact, an irrelevant or low-quality video that is poorly placed can turn your learners away. Here are several ways to include videos that will add value to your learning experiences.

Three places for a video:

  1. At the beginning. Use your video to introduce the topic you’ll be covering. The purpose of this video is to immediately catch the attention of your learners and draw them in. Introduce the fundamentals that will become a springboard for further questions and learning.
  2. After your information. Once you’ve conveyed your key learning point, use a video to illustrate the information with a scenario or demonstration. Alternatively, you could interview a relevant expert for their tips on the topic or ask them to share a story of a time they successfully implemented the learning (or ignored it to their peril!). A mix of faces keeps learners interested.
  3. At the end. Here, you can use your video to summarise and reinforce your key learning points. You might like to share a positive example of a time when the learning was implemented. Have a go at including a question or two for your learners to reflect upon.

Three tips for a video:

  1. Signpost your learning. Wherever you place your videos, make sure to explain its purpose to your learner so they know what to expect and how it will fit into the broader story of your module. This can be as simple as a short written instruction or explanation prior to the video.
  2. Keep your videos short. The attention span of our learners are growing shorter all the time. Limit your videos to ten minutes at most and aim for five minutes or less. That way, you can focus your message into something that packs a punch and gets to the point. Leave the details for later.
  3. Caption, caption, caption! Captions make videos accessible not just for the visually impaired but for all kinds of learners in all kinds of situations. One of the beauties of digital learning is that it can be done any time, anywhere. Your learner could be trying to complete your module while sitting on the train home with no headphones. If you don’t have captions, they’re going to skip straight past your video- what a waste! How Too makes it easy to upload caption files to your video so everyone can enjoy your hard work.

Including videos in your learning can be a huge investment. It might seem daunting, but with a little planning, you can create small learning moments that leave a big impression on your learners. Better yet, How Too makes it easy to upload your videos directly, or embed them from another site like Youtube or Vimeo.

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