Engaging Content Is Critical for Effective Training Videos

A recent study from TechSmith Corp. found that while video viewing frequency has increased in both instructional and informational videos, more than half (59 percent) of respondents stop watching a video without finishing it.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that effective workplace best practices impact corporate trainers, who are specifically challenged with the task of creating training videos that can comprehensively communicate, engage, and inform their audiences. In order to create effective training videos, it’s vital to make sure the content is relevant and engaging to your audience.

A recent study from TechSmith Corp. took a close look at video viewing preferences and found that while video viewing frequency has increased in both instructional and informational videos, more than half (59 percent) of respondents stop watching a video without finishing it. In fact, the main reason people stop watching videos is because the content doesn’t deliver the expected information (35 percent) or the content is boring (20 percent).

This information validates that training videos can be effective, but the content needs to be relevant, engaging, and, well, not bland. With advanced tools and technology and increased immersion into video culture (i.e., Netflix, YouTube, etc.), there is no need to continue to make static, boring videos. Frankly, we can’t afford the status quo of training videos if we want our training to be effective! Thankfully, there are several different techniques at your disposal to help make your training videos more engaging.

Use B-Roll

B-roll is supplemental footage intercut with the main shot to help tell the story. Adding b-roll to videos is a simple, yet effective technique to make your training videos much more engaging. B-roll gives the viewer something else to look at as it breaks up the monotony of a single camera shot. It also keeps the video fresh, and increases the overall quality of your videos. B-roll, while supplemental, still should be related (i.e., on topic), and help build understanding, whether through context or supporting ideas, or providing reference visuals. Finally, b-roll often is thought of as video footage, but can include photographs, animations, charts, infographics, or other visual elements.

Add Interactive Elements

Interactive elements are fantastic for engaging your audience and keeping boredom at bay. For example, you can insert quizzes directly into your videos. This encourages participation and engagement from viewers. This also helps ensure clarity of communication and understanding of the material, as it lets viewers apply the knowledge they learned from the video.

Hotspots are another great interactive element. A hotspot is an interactive piece of content embedded within a video that viewers can click on. Hotspots allow viewers to engage and interact with videos in real time. They give viewers the ability to dig deeper, learn more about a particular topic, launch a Website, or replay a portion of the video.

Keep the Video Fresh

Use different camera angles, insert some on-screen text, or try to engage and provoke thought from viewers by inserting a relevant movie clip. It’s important not to get too carried away with the amount of things you’re changing on the screen, as it can create some confusion with viewers. A good general tip: Always be mindful of your audience when you’re editing your videos. Try to create videos that will be engaging and help meet the viewer’s learning needs.

These three simple techniques are not only effective for creating engaging videos, they are inexpensive (if not free) to implement. I encourage you to experiment with your camera. Get creative! Creative videos are the most memorable and most engaging. By approaching the learning in a creative way, not only will you engage your viewers, you’ll also help them better retain the ideas and concepts you present. At the end of the day, it’s important to keep a clear focus on the goal (in this case, learning something) when creating a training video. Be sure the video you create serves the need of the goal, is interesting, and uses interactivity to keep viewers engaged. After all, a training video is only effective if people actually pay attention and watch it.

Matt Pierce is customer support manager at TechSmith Corp., a software company that provides practical business and academic products that can dramatically change how people communicate and collaborate. A graduate of Indiana University’s School of Education’s Department of Instructional Systems Technology, Pierce has 10 years of experience working in learning and development with a focus on visual instruction. He has directly managed the training and user assistance teams for TechSmith, and also has run its visual communication Web show, The Forge, interviewing guests from around the world discussing the use of visuals, video, and technology in education, training, marketing, and more. Teach him something @piercemr.