Breaking Beyond the Barriers of Your Video Player

Using hotspots and knowledge checks will engage learners, transforming their experience from viewing a video to an interactive experience.

Videos are the core of any successful e-learning or online training program. To truly improve knowledge retention and overall learner engagement, you need to go beyond the virtual walls of your video player. In this article, we’ll look at two techniques that will engage learners, transforming their experience from viewing a video to an interactive experience.


While we’ve briefly touched on interactive hotspots in a previous article, let’s take a closer look at what this entails. A hotspot is an interactive and trackable piece of content embedded within a video that you can click on to perform a variety of functions, such as:

  • Replay a section of the video
  • Launch a Website
  • Jump ahead to a different section of the video

Hotspots can turn your training videos into a personalized “choose your own adventure” experience. You can add hotspots that allow viewers to choose which part of the video they watch next, giving them some control of how they obtain their learning. Using this technique can be effective, but needs preplanning to avoid complications. For example, you can present learners with three options to choose from. Each choice takes the learner to a different video, job aid, or related trainings. This creates a unique and personalized learning experience.

You also can use hotspots to allow learners to jump ahead to different sections of the video. Let’s say you’re making a video to teach employees how to use a new piece of software; if they already know some of the basic steps, they can skip past those parts.

Knowledge Checks

Knowledge checks are equally important for both the learner and the training provider. They help learners to understand what they know—and what they don’t. Ideally, this will lead them to want to learn more, and focus their attention more on what they don’t know.

According to IBM’s The Value of Training report, interactive videos accelerate the learning process by improving retention and helping learners identify which areas they need to focus on the most. Quizzes can be integrated immediately following a new piece of information being introduced. This helps increase retention of new information.

For the trainer, the results of these knowledge checks can be tracked within a learning management system (LMS) system, providing analytics and data on how the training is performing. Trainers also can solicit feedback and get employee input on the effectiveness of the material through knowledge checks or a hotspot linking learners to a survey. This information can be used to improve current and future training and onboarding processes.

These two techniques are versatile, and will help increase learner engagement, knowledge retention, and overall effectiveness of your training videos and e-learning strategy. The best part:  There are tools out there that allow you to add quizzing and hotspot features to existing videos you’ve already created.

I’d love to hear about how you’re incorporating interactive features into your videos! Connect with me at @piercemr on Twitter to continue the discussion.

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.