Q: We’re a training consultancy about to embark on a major training video production exercise requiring ten 3-5 minute training videos based around sessions in our training workshops.
We specialise in leadership development.
My concern is that the videos will be dull stuff to watch, or that we’ll make mistakes, when our real aim is to inspire and motivate as well as provide learning material.
How can be we be more creative and professional in our approach to producing custom training videos?
London & New York
A: Interactive video training is a key element in training design, so in this final part to the Q&A training video production seminar, I’d like to feature this important new training topic:
Using interactive training video production to deliver more effective training
The idea behind interactive video is to involve the workforce or management audience more directly in the video training, so that later they’ll apply it more effectively in their everyday job.
As the saying goes, “involve me and I will understand”.
This is usually done through using interactive video questionnaires in a DVD, or it can be done online, depending on the facilities you have available, and the nature of your business.
Interactive questionnaires are a consistently reliable and powerful way of ensuring the learning has been understood. They communicate better.
They’re the commonest and lowest cost route to using interactive training video. So we’ll stick with this for now.
Interactive questionnaires can be included in every training video package.
Here’s how the sequence can work in practice with your workforce audience:
> First, show them a section of training on video
> This automatically then runs on to show a series of interactive quiz screens where the employee (or group of employees) select from multiple choice answers
> The voiceover (or the trainer) then says if the answer is correct or not
> If correct, they go forward to the next section. If wrong the correct answer is supplied, or the video clip is replayed.
> In either event, the individual cannot progress to the next section without first supplying, or being made aware of, the correct answers.
This is the basic interactive training video model.
The major advantage of this model/technique is that it’s designed to validate the training as-you-go.
What could be better.
Ultimately it should, if necessary, be able to demonstrate in a court of law that the individual properly understood what was required of them.
Now let’s compare interactive training DVD with online interactive training video.
This mostly hinges on how many you have to train at a time, and what facilities you have for it to be delivered.
Using an interactive training video production with groups vs individuals
When using an interactive video production with a single individual, they watch the DVD and use the DVD remote control – button box – to select their answers. Nice and simple.
But with a group, a DVD player and headphones per person isn’t feasible. So what do we do?
When in a group, such as a group of contractors coming onsite, or new temporary staff arriving in a retail store, the facilitator has to run the quiz.
They do it either by asking questions, or marking paper quiz sheets.
Numerous retailers and multi-site employers, like construction companies or major process plants, find one or the other of these approaches is satisfactory.
This is because it’s consistent, and the standard of the video training materials is high quality.
Check out Adobe CC which includes an interactive DVD authoring suite if you want to get hands-on
Discover more about interactive retail training video
Using online interactive training video production with groups vs individuals
Increasingly, employers are using internet video in their online interactive training programmes, some broadcast as part of their corporate television channel or in-house “school”, education centre, or company university. This applies to manufacturing industry, commerce and retail. The more international the organisation, the greater the savings.
The software tools and audiovisual technology for creating this have become available over the last few years, and advanced significantly this year.
Interactivity is used for a variety of reasons:
> To relieve the tedium of endless multi-choice non-animated interactive text pages with occasional photography.
> To show the user information that needs to be visually portrayed, rather than read about, including filming customer reactions, situation reactions, or shooting unique looking places/equipment/systems (such as fire safety training)
> So they can record results into a central employee records database
> Because they now have broadband, and enough bandwidth to take advantage of online video’s potential to deliver superior training.
> Because the support cost is low (virtually free) compared with using a human trainer/facilitator
The best reason for using interactive video is that it offers greater information retention than any static web text page application. It’s remembered better because it keeps the audience busy.
Obviously it’s easy to train individuals this way on a one-at-a-time basis, as all that’s needed is a spare PC with speakers/headphones and a graphics card.
With groups I’ve not yet seen any overall solution.
A personal computer terminal per individual is the obvious answer. But while this is fine for most single site organisations, it isn’t practical for many multi-site operations usually because of cost.
A single terminal/laptop (with modem card) and a trainer with a projector could induct a group.
Validation could take place using individual answer sheets or running a group quiz, similar to how interactive dvd is often used (see above).
It would very much depend on the nature of the training, and the resources available. So the jury’s still out on this one.
And you can also supply the interactive training on a multimedia CD, in place of online.
Multimedia makes a great training medium as it can include video, text, animation, graphics, pdfs, links, email, anything digital.
Useful info on interactive training video production services
Devising Interactive Video Training
Producing an interactive training DVD or video can be complex so a good work organisation method is essential right from the get-go.
A flow chart is the best tool for the job, or, maybe a spreadsheet.
Here’s why. Consider:
In a 20 minute interactive training DVD, you may well have:
> 4 sections that each require interactive assessment
> 4 questions per section
> 4 possible answers per question
> and each answer may well require a different response
Calculating these different elements; you get 64 items of information, requiring 64 responses.
That’s 128 interactive actions, each triggering a forward or backward action to the next relevant section in the programme, and all these details matter.
Starting to get complex?
You can see that a mistake, or accidentally omitting items, or making broad brush generalisations, will invariably lead to errors – and costly programming to fix it.
It takes a detailed flow chart to map this out clearly.
You and your training video producer can work this out together when you review the authoring requirements at the studio.
Developing your video questions and answers
The main thing to remember here is that you don’t need to know all the questions and answers on Day One.
Here’s a sample workflow to show what we mean by this:
> Initially, agree with the training video producer how many sections and questions you’ll need, and cost for this.
> Map out your flow chart, leaving empty spaces for questions and answers to be inserted later. Just the headings for now, so you can visualise the scope of the work.
> When the video is completed, you can now word in detail the questions and answers, confident that everything is exactly relevant to what is seen in the video.
In other words, interactive training dvd production is a two stage process:
> Make the video
> Then word the questions to suit.
Follow this rule of thumb and your interactive training video/DVD will work like a charm, delivering relevant questions and answers to fit the training material.
The Future of Interactive Training Video
This is crystal ball stuff, but interesting nonetheless.
How long before interactive training video is produced for cdrom/flash drive or usb stick, or live webcasting group demonstration, or remote download, or full interactive tv, or posted on interactive corporate training blogs for short-term training issues?
Whatever happens, the core elements will be much the same as today; ie, you need a scripting team, a camera, events to film, experiences to recount, instructional voiceover to tell the story, and company reviews & commercial to promote it internally so people know it’s available on their intranet.
And of course the price will drop as more and more skills are learned in-house.
This concludes our 5 part seminar on Training Video Production.