Audiences don’t Multifunction
Unlike a movie, which often spends most of its runtime keeping the audience guessing, a training video has to be pretty much direct.
Messages need to be spelt out big, loud and clear. Even subtle interpersonal behaviours need a big clear summary message to back them up.
The first implication is that what’s seen and what’s heard onscreen have to be telling the same story.
For example: If the voiceover is saying Jack and Jill went up the Hill, then we need to see a picture of Jack, a picture of Jill and a picture ofHill.
We don’t need to see what they’re thinking while they go up the Hill, or what’s over the crest of the Hill, or where they came from before they got to the Hill. Or what a colleague is doing while they’re climbing the hill.
This might sound obvious, but there are an astonishing amount of training videos where, for example, there is a cut to split-screen and we see two separate things showing simultaneously.
Audiences don’t learn this way. They don’t multifunction.
Similarly, we often hear a voiceover while we see captions wafting by – and these captions aren’t directly related to the voiceover.
The assumption being that the supporting captions give a wider feel or flavour to the spoken message.
Not so. It’s always far better to follow a single clear flowing storyline that follows itself in a linear fashion.
It might be cool to think we multifunction, but we don’t.
If humans truly multifunctioned we’d all have learned years ago to brush our teeth while using the loo!
Top Tip: Always keep the message simple and don’t make the audience have to guess, or watch two things at once.