eLearning Blog

Corporate Training Video: 6 Styles to Engage Your Learners

During our annual development team retrospective, we realized that video has begun to comprise an increasingly larger share of our project portfolio. The growing demand for video is exhilarating for us as a learning development team; it’s an indicator that clients are grasping the value of blended learning.

More than ever, clients enter the conversation knowing it’s not enough to focus on task-level proficiency; learning is optimized when learners are engaged at all levels: Head, Heart, and Hands. And, when it comes to engaging the Head and Heart, video is one of the best learning tools at our disposal.

Video is a powerful teaching tool, even outside the L&D world. It's exploded as an effective method for gaining learner engagement, which is critical to long-term retention. For example, the new level of video quality from news sources like The New York Times is drastically different than a 6 o’clock news format. Producers combine graphics and animation to deliver a new form of storytelling.

Indeed, the appetite for video is widespread. Findings from a recent Forbes Insights study illustrate that demand for video extends to the business world. According to the survey, senior business executives at U.S. companies with annual sales exceeding $500 million characterize video as both a “critical information source" and as a medium that drives employees to take action.

The power of the moving visual communicates and captivates in a way that simple text and images (clickable or not) fall short.

The following six corporate training video samples come from recent projects, each a bit unique in format or style. If you’ve heard suggestions in the conference room about needing video in 2017, you’ll find inspiration below.

1. THE EXPLAINER VIDEO

 

An explainer video is short, (usually) fun, with a simple purpose:  introducing a product, idea, or process. Unique typography, moving graphics (as opposed to live footage), and music deliver a distinct, positive tone. Usually the message or tone communicates a variation of, “Come and try it! It’s easy!”

When Should I Use an Explainer Video?

Use the light and friendly tone of explainer videos to:

  • Introduce a process or tool that may encounter resistance among learners.
  • Provide context for a new product or service by explaining the business problem it addresses.
  • Deliver a message with more personality and visual interest than eLearning or PowerPoint can provide.
 What Else Should I Know?
  • When requesting explainer videos, many clients initially ask for a “short, five-minute piece.” While five minutes might seem short in concept (especially compared to a 30-minute interactive eLearning module), five minutes actually feels like an eternity in video-land. Refer back to your purpose (a quick introduction and overview of a process or product), and challenge yourself to keep the video as concise as possible: a maximum of two to three minutes.
  • Music choice has a huge impact on pace and tone. Do you want an increasingly dramatic score, or a pleasant piano melody that skips along at a friendly pace? Mix and match using demo tracks from sites like premiumbeat.com or marmosetmusic.com until you find a good fit for your content.
  • Don’t be afraid to use an informal tone with the script. Short, conversational sentences convey friendliness and simplicity, putting the viewer at ease.

2. THE TALKING-HEAD INTERVIEW

 

 

“Talking-head interview” is just another way of saying “person talking in front of the camera where we don't see his feet.” This type of videos is, of course, common in corporate settings. Usually talking-head interviews are semi-scripted, but presented in a converstational style, with music in the background, and shorter cuts to keep the pace moving.

When Should I Use a Talking-Head Interview?

Use the scripted, but conversational talking-head interview to:

  • Give senior leaders a vehicle to convey messages in their own words. Perhaps they are rolling out a complex new software tool, and want to describe how the company will benefit.
  • Feature employees telling their own personal stories, which can provide relevance and a point of connection for learners.
What Else Should I Know?

Let’s be honest, talking-head interviews can be a bit yawn-inducing. To keep your video fresh and engaging, try:

  • Breaking up talking segments. Keep the visuals moving by laying-in some B-Roll or section-divider graphics. You don’t want your subject talking to the camera for any longer than 45 seconds without some kind of visual variety.
  • Not being too scripted. Consider using cue cards with short bullet points, and politely coach your interviewees to be as concise as possible.
  • Positioning the speaker to be looking slightly off camera, as if toward an interviewer. You’ll notice that looking slightly off camera rather than directly into the lens creates a more comfortable viewing experience.
  • Finding the right location with natural window lighting and a distraction-free background that are visually pleasing. Shooting can be done outside if you can find a spot out of direct sunlight (you don’t want squinting or harsh shadows) and does not compete with unwanted noise like traffic or a strong wind.
  • Using a tripod. An immobile camera is essential to limit shakiness.
  • Using a high-quality microphone. Quality audio is more important than anything else. A lavalier mic is ideal. A shotgun mic is a cheaper alternative that still produces high quality results.

3. THE TALKING-HEAD ELEARNING MODULE

 

 

Recording storytelling interviews or testimonies and dropping them into Articulate Storyline adds even more nuance and credibility to your learning project. Incorporating a talking-head video into a learning module also gives the learner a certain amount of freedom with navigation, allowing them to self-navigate through the module and proceed to the next slide at their own pace.

When Should I Create a Talking-Head eLearning Module?

Use the customizable talking-head eLearning module when:

  • A personal testimonial can lend credibility to the material, or provide learners a point of personal connection.
  • Your talking-head video is getting long and your content would benefit from breaks in the lesson with slides and non-video content

     

What Else Should I Know?
  • Research and understand any file size restrictions for uploading the published eLearning content to your LMS. Using video can quickly add to your overall project size.

4. THE INTERACTIVE VIDEO 

 

Whereas talking-head eLearning modules are essentially video clips dropped into a lesson, interactive video works with Storyline to seamlessly blend the video with the course content and interactive elements, such as multiple choice, drag and drop, and fill-in-the-blank. The challenge here is to make video slides blend seamlessly with non-video slides. Background music plays a crucial role in maintaining that unity.

When Should I Use an Interactive Video?

Use the stylized and graphic interactive video when:

  • You want to use heavily customized graphics and interactions to communicate a sense of high “production values.” While there are a lot of ways to define production values, the simplest is to think of them as the degree to which the piece looks like it was expensive to make.
  • You want to add interactive/clickable user engagement to your video. In the project above we had the user answer a series of reflection questions throughout the video that helped shape an action plan for their performance improvement as a leader.
What Else Should I Know?
  • Music brings a powerful unifying element to an interactive eLearning module, but making content feel seamless can be a bit tricky. Consider whether you have enough time budgeted to thread music throughout the module.
  • Budget plenty of time in the prototype phase. For the project above, we really wanted the user to feel like they were interacting with a clickable video, removing slide-by-slide monotony. It took us several weeks to polish the transitions so the video segments blended smoothly with the interactive elements. 

5. THE STOCK FOOTAGE MONTAGE

 

A stock footage montage typically consists of purchased or “stock” footage, voiceover, and music, sometimes with custom graphics.

When Should I Use a Stock Footage Montage?

Use purchased, generic stock imagery when:

  • You don’t have the time or budget for a film crew.
  • The footage you need is not specific and probably accessible in stock format. For example, numerous videos exist of people in meetings, typing at computers, collaborating as a team, etc.
  • Icons, graphics, or illustrations don’t seem to fit the content. The sample above features training for sexual assault response teams, a subject which doesn’t lend itself to iconography or illustration. Moreover, by using stock footage, we were able to protect the anonymity of individuals referenced in the video.
What Else Should I Know?
  • Stock photos and videos sometimes feel fake or send a message that it is obviously purchased, generic imagery. Try to find shots that don’t scream “Hey, I’m stock footage!”
  • Footage styles vary, so it may be difficult to maintain a sense of unity from shot to shot. Consider an all-black-and-white treatment or a distinct color overlay (like the above) to bring unity to the montage.

 6. THE CULTURE VIDEO

 

Culture videos are all about creating high energy and excitement. There’s no voiceover, just quit-cutting footage over upbeat music, which means you don’t need a big budget or fancy equipment. Step one: collect a set of short, energetic clips from around the office (some handheld, some with a tripod). Step two: pick a high-energy song. Step three: jump into your editing chair and stitch it together!   

When Should I Use a Culture Video?

Use an upbeat corporate culture video when:

  • You want to create something that celebrates your team or department.
  • You have an upcoming software or product launch and you want to generate some excitement.
What Else Should I Know?
  • Have fun.
  • Take time to choose the right song. Music is the most important element of a culture video. Go to a site like premiumbeat.com or marmosetmusic.com.

HOW MUCH WILL MY VIDEO COST?

The prices and options in the market for creating a training video vary greatly, and many custom video production companies do not list pricing at all. A 90-second video can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $15,000 depending on the following variables: 

  • Are there animated graphics? Are they purchased icons or custom illustration?
  • How much help do you need shaping the script?
  • Is the video animated or talking-head?
  • Do you need a makeup artist or artificial lights?
  • Is the footage highly edited?
  • Can the footage be captured in a day or two? In one location? If so, most of the budget/time commitment will go toward editing.

While learner appetite for video is growing, production costs are on the decline, which translates to an ever-increasing ROI for videos. With the tools available today, the potential is only limited by budget and time.

questions for scoping your learning project

 

Millar, B. (2010) Forbes Insights. Video in the C-Suite: Executives Embrace The Non-

Text Web. https://images.forbes.com/forbesinsights/StudyPDFs/Video_in_the_CSuite.pdf