3 Techniques to Transform Stale Training Videos

A recent study from TechSmith took a close look at video viewing preferences and found that 60 percent of respondents prefer to watch videos no longer than six minutes—demonstrating how quickly viewers can lose interest.

When it comes to video creation, viewer engagement is about so much more than driving clicks. Corporate trainers need to create an immersive educational experience to influence audience behavior. 

Today there are more distractions and things vying for our attention, and when the information you want to convey is about something as crucial as training information, you want to ensure you get it right.

A recent study from TechSmith took a close look at video viewing preferences and found that 60 percent of respondents prefer to watch videos no longer than six minutes—demonstrating how quickly viewers can lose interest. In addition, a whopping 74 percent of respondents reported closing an instructional video before it had ended.

Your viewers won’t make the most of a video they never finish watching—which is why it’s so important to hook your viewers early on and keep them hooked.Because of this, creating a captivating video should begin with a purposeful sense of timing and should weave in a few key elements.These three techniques will help transform your training videos from stale and boring to interesting and engaging, from the moment your viewers hit “play” to the credit roll.

1. Keep Up the Quality 

Quality is arguably the most critical element to any engaging content. Without it, the objective and message will be lost because viewers won’t commit to your video—no matter its length.

This doesn’t mean you’ll need to rush out to purchase expensive filming equipment.

Instead, spend a little more time up front in the planning and filming stages of your videos. Define the goals and audience for the content from the get-go. Storyboards and shot lists are also great tools to help ensure you’re keeping things relevant to your viewers.

Viewers always want to see that content is relevant to them, so it’s best to keep your training video as focused and concise as possible.

With proper planning, great writing, and solid execution, you’ll grab your audience’s attention earlier—improving engagement even if your content needs to be longer.

2. Interact with Your Audience

Passive videos filled with static images will make for a dull and unenthusiastic training experience for just about anybody. Adding a few interactive elements to your video is a sure-fire way to ward off boredom and improve viewer engagement and retention.

Quizzes are a fun and effective way to bring interactive elements to your video to encourage participation from viewers. These also ensure your audience has a firm understanding of the material, as they give viewers the chance to immediately apply the knowledge they’ve learned from your video and hone in on areas where they may require some additional support. 

Simulations are another technique that will help to add intrigue to your video in an educational way. An effective simulation begins with a problem your viewers can relate to and walks them through the process of solving it, step by step. For example, if you’re training your sales team to improve its conflict resolution skills, create a simulation of a difficult interaction with a customer to demonstrate how the scenario should be handled. 

3. Vary Your Presentation

Whatever topic your video covers, find a few ways to mix up the flow. While a single-camera shot will quickly stale in the eyes of your viewer, there are plenty of simple options to help to keep your audience engaged in the topic at hand. Experiment with your camera and don’t be afraid to try out different video shots and angles to add some dimension. By incorporating a balanced combination of b-roll, talking-head shots, still shots, and screencasts whenever relevant, you’ll be helping to draw viewer interest. 

A word of caution: It is possible to go overboard on this. As important as variety is for your video, you’ll also need a little consistency. Too much change can become hard to follow and can feel confusing and chaotic to your viewers. It’s all about balance: Too much variation and you’ll lose your viewers; not enough and your viewers might fall asleep. A good rule of thumb is to always be mindful of your audience as you work through the editing process.

When done correctly, training videos can be a remarkable asset for both your company and your employees. With a thoughtful filming process and some tried-and-true technique, there is endless potential to create engaging and effective training videos for every viewer.

Matt Pierce is Learning & Video ambassador at TechSmith Corp., the go-to company for visual communication. TechSmith empowers people to create remarkable content to share knowledge and information. A graduate of Indiana University’s School of Education’s Department of Instructional Systems Technology, Pierce has more than 10 years of experience working in learning and development with a focus on visual instruction. He has directly managed the training, user assistance, video, and other teams for TechSmith.