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2014: The year video will take the world of learning by storm

28th Jan 2014
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It's not the first time that the new year is heralded as the year of video. But Techsmith's Matt Pierce explains why this time, it might actually be the case. 

By 2016, Cisco predicts that 1.6 billion people will be watching video online, whether that’s in the form of entertainment or how-to tutorials. It’s evident the appetite for video content is on the rise. According to the survey, this will boost video web traffic from 57% to 69% by 2017 – that is a million minutes of video across the network every second.

As online video quickly becomes a way for people to satisfy their information and entertainment needs, it also presents trainers with an opportunity to use video in their training and L&D strategies.

Why video is built for success

Competition for new business growth opportunities that accompany a grass roots economic recovery is rapidly growing. As a result, pressure is mounting for trainers to deliver new employee skills to the front line more rapidly, more frequently and with greater impact to help businesses gain the competitive edge. Using the right tools to boost effective training and knowledge retention is now more important than ever before.

Videos are a highly effective and engaging way to communicate learning materials to the workforce. The brain responds - and retains information - best when it is presented visually, rather than through traditional, textbook methods. Video also has the advantage of being able to integrate elements that can truly capture attention - images, music and storytelling - making training more effective. Ultimately, this helps increase workforce skillsets, improve productivity and performance, whilst also allowing staff the room to develop.

"By capturing videos, sharing them and making them easily accessible, the talent of an organisation suddenly becomes quantifiable and inspirational.

Capturing knowledge is also important. This year organisations will identify how they can get individuals with expertise on a certain topic to better share their knowledge with peers. By capturing videos, sharing them and making them easily accessible, the talent of an organisation suddenly becomes quantifiable and inspirational. Therefore, the focus will be on how to create and share compelling content across the business.

Some businesses are already doing this. For example, IT Support and Services company Technology Services Group (TSG) is one example of a company using video to share knowledge within the organisation. TSG has a geographically dispersed workforce and wanted to train them on CRM solutions whilst keeping an eye on resources and costs. TSG believes that videos offer an easy-to-follow and visually engaging method of teaching that can be reviewed and revisited as necessary. Therefore, they created a series of videos to train staff on how to use the CRM tool.

Fiona Stuart, TSG Marketing Manager commented, “If a new feature is added to the CRM application, we can train staff in multiple offices on how to use it quickly and easily by simply adding an extra piece of content to an existing video. I used to spend a lot of time connecting with staff to give them ad hoc step-by-step instructions on how to use the CRM software. Now if anyone has a question I can point them to the video tutorials which are easy to understand as they visually demonstrate how to use the application.”

Creating videos with screencasting

There are many solutions available that make it easy for trainers to create affordable videos in-house. Screencasting is one such option. A screencast is a video recording of items on a screen, which could include anything from presentation slides, tutorials, websites and applications and incorporate actions such as cursor and mouse clicks. Screencasts have the added benefit of being accessible because they require very little investment in terms of equipment and unlike when working with video cameras or videography apparatus, can be mastered very quickly.

A screencast video is most effective when voice narration is included, as the training becomes much more engaging and accessible. Depending on the type of training programme required, videos can be used as a standalone tool or used to support formal instructor-led learning to create a blended approach. This means that trainees are provided with access to engaging learning materials whenever they need them. They can access the screencasts for ‘refresher’ sessions, or revisit parts of the training they have not understood.

The benefits for the trainer are also considerable. Trainers who work across many regions are likely to have to travel less and hold fewer training sessions for employees, saving both cost and time.

Learning methods are evolving

The proliferation of mobile devices has increased access to video content as screen capture tools become more sophisticated. Users can access their content anywhere at any time, and with more people using smartphones to access content on the move, they are able to learn at their own pace at home or at work, on the device or platform of their choice.

This will be the year that trainers look to capitalise on the increasing popularity and impact of video, the knowledge that already exists in the business and invest in training resources in order to enhance the learning experience. When they do, they will be able to more efficiently equip their workforce with the skills needed to succeed in today’s competitive and rapidly changing business environment.

Matt Pierce is customer engagement manager at TechSmith


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