The use of Video in L&D

Nov 25, 2013

How much video plays a role in the % of training material?

I have experienced a previous instance in one factory where they sat all the new employees down in a room and played a video to cover all the safety training on a small TV.

Once the video had finished, the employees where then told by the trainer/supervisor:

'That covers your safety training for working with the machinery in our factory. Any questions?'

The video looked like it was produced in the 1970s.

It looked like this 1974 video on Forcible Entry for police:

(Although this video was more fun to watch.)

Thanks for any input from community members experience or thoughts on this.


12 Replies
Nick n/a

Thank you Bruce,

I did find a chart in the article posted here:

It does say .mp4s are an increasingly common format.

I'm interested though in real-world examples if possible.

Maybe I should ask Nicole (Articulate Community Manager and All-Round Helpful Person) as its her blog anyway.


Rich Calcutt

If you want to see the efficacy of video training then look no further than YouTube. Having users that can create and curate video training materials is changing the learning landscape in lots of ways - you can learn to play instruments, to cook, to fix a car, to do practically anything...all on YouTube. 

That being said, there are some very clear parameters within which video is an effective training tool. The safety training video example you cited is clearly ineffective, but in other cases it works phenomenally well. The two MAIN conditions required for video to be effective are (in my opinion):

  • The learner can practice the thing their learning about whilst watching (or at the least, they can practice immediately after)
  • The learner has a degree of prior knowledge and expertise in the subject. 

Drawing on my experience as a drummer, here's what I can tell you about learning from YouTube: So long as you have a good degree of prior knowledge, you can learn far more efficiently from teachers on youtube that you can doing f2f lessons. Video lessons let you pause, rewind, and re-watch as much as you like. 

In the push towards mobile learning, video is going to play a much bigger part in training. 

Shameless plug: Come and see my talk at Learning Technologies 2014 to find out more about mobile learning and video training


Bruce Graham

Nicely put Rich..

From my wanderings around the various worlds of eLearning I feel that there is a MASSIVE reluctance by some to see the wave of video (in (corporate) learning...) coming. People are still arguing that eLearning is not effective...

The last time I saw this and FELT this wave of emotion was about 15 years ago when so many people said things like "...but of course people will ALWAYS want to hold books before they buy them, or touch a vinyl disc..."

I think our world is rapidly approaching another major sea-change in the way things are done - they are ALREADY being done (as Rick points out) in the "non-work" lives of many like this.

We fall behind at our peril in the world of Instructional Design.

Rich Calcutt

Nicholas - I'm preparing a synopsis right now (well - I'm procrastinating from writing a synopsis). The theme - not chosen by me - is Mobile Learning: Back to the Future, and I'm going to the arguing that we need to clarify what we want to achieve with mobile learning before we produce a load of half-hearted mobile courses that aren't good at anything. 

You said you wanted to learn more about the ID career path - you'd do well to attend the conference. Here's the programme:

Rich Calcutt

I appreciate this is getting quite off topic now, but here's my talk synopsis if you guys are interested. Bruce, are you attending this year?

Back to the future -  learning design for themobile learner

We are allmobile learners. It’s in our DNA.  If you have access to a mobiledevice, to confine your learning to a classroom, online course or exhibitionhall is to go against the very nature of how you learn. Knowing hasnever been a static process, but only now are we starting to connect thepotential of mobile technology with our natural propensity for dynamic,responsive, and viral learning.

As ownership and usage of technology rise sky high andexpectations for the content it delivers rise with it - faster, smarter,effortless, social - has e-learning kept up? Or is it simply cramming itselfinto the 4" format when it should be reinventing itself accordingly?

  • What lessons from the past can we take into future oflearning design?
  • What are the gaps in the current approach to designinglearning for mobile?
  • What will be the radical designs that tap into thebest of mobile technology and help us fulfill our potential as mobilelearners?
Bud Keegan

We use a fair bit of curated video but our field changes so rapidly (digital marketing) that everything dates very quickly.  I do agree on using video-- though doing so effectively means using it a bit surgically IMHO (not all-video, all the time).  We conduct interviews with practitioners and that seems to humanise the rest of the material.  I also do simple animations and have started to use some b-roll on some drier sections just to make them more relate-able for learners.

Before we jump on the video wave, let's remember those days we spent in school w/ a substitute teacher who might just turn on an "educational" video to burn through the hour.  I don't remember any of those "History of Metals"-type productions at all!

Still, video is a great tool for demonstrating some things very well.  My own idea of perfect e-learning is that scene in The Matrix where Trinity transmits helicopter piloting training to Neo with the press of a button-- now, THAT's e-learning!  : )

Bruce Graham

The somewhat optimistic and futuristic Bud "ahead of my time" Keegan said:

Still, video is a great tool for demonstrating some things very well.  My own idea of perfect e-learning is that scene in The Matrix where Trinity transmits helicopter piloting training to Neo with the press of a button-- now, THAT's e-learning!  : )

Right...that's the next monthly challenge sorted then! 

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