In eLearning, great video is an invaluable resource. Videos can be a great way to break down complicated subjects, illustrate key concepts, or offer a personal perspective on a topic. They're also an excellent medium for unexpectedly skateboarding animals, but no one's let me work that into a course yet.
There are plenty of different ways to think about using video to keep learners engaged with your content. Let's look at some of the most effective methods here.
A great way to give someone a quick overview of complex material is with an explainer video. You'll see these videos a lot on news sites like Vox, where they use infographics and visual metaphors to lay out the nuts and bolts of topics in the news, like gerrymandering or bitcoin. You'll also find them on a lot of startup sites, where companies use them to quickly explain a unique new product or service. In your training, these videos can be a useful introduction to a topic, or they can even stand alone as a discrete resource.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how much is a video worth? When you need to illustrate the nitty-gritty of how something moves or progresses over time, a video may be the perfect medium. Whether it's a kinesiological illustration of body mechanics, a chronological timeline of the beer brewing process, or a step-by-step demonstration of how a circuitboard is built, consider using video as an engaging and easy-to-understand way to convey information.
First-person "talking head" videos are one of my favorite types of content for eLearning—and not just because I love The Office. You can use talking heads to offer a personal touch, whether they're prepared messaging from corporate leadership, interview snippets from knowledgeable experts, real-life testimonials from actual peers, or even stylized performances by professional actors. We perk up when we see another human on our screens, talking directly to us. That personal connection helps us invest in the information they're offering and helps us retain that knowledge later on.
As I've said, great hooks can grip learners right from the beginning and get them excited about their training. Those first moments are critical, as learners set their expectations for the experience they're about to have. When you draw learners in, build enthusiasm, and show them they're in good hands, you'll be off to a great start before they even hit the menu.
In order to show how key concepts are actually put into action, consider showing short scenarios. Scripted interactions designed specifically to illustrate ideal performance, negative consequences, or common misconceptions help learners put their knowledge in context. Don't just ask learners to read and remember why something matters—show them what it looks like on its feet, and what emotions it provokes.
These are some of my favorite ways to use videos in eLearning to make content come alive. Now I just have to find someone to buy a course on this cool bulldog.