Employee Training Videos: What Style Is Right For You?

So, you’re considering video for your next training project? Excellent choice! For years, employee training videos have been gaining popularity, and for good reason. As a modality, videos are engaging, memorable, and easily digestible. In the span of a few minutes, learners can visualize new or abstract information in a concrete and meaningful way. Video drives content retention, makes learning a bit more fun, and is readily accessible later as refresher training.

With more and more video being consumed every day, people are becoming increasingly comfortable with it as a medium. Every day they watch videos to get the news, weather, recipes, entertainment, and more. It’s a natural next step to use video as an e-learning modality. Why not use what’s great about video to make learning more engaging?

Video Is Here to Stay

By 2025, it’s anticipated that 75% of the workforce will be Millennials – some of the heaviest consumers of video as a medium. All those cooking and cat videos on the web? They’re the folks who love it most. In fact, Cisco projects that 82% of all internet traffic will be video by 2021. So what does that mean for you? Video is here to stay. Embrace it!

The Challenge

Picking the best style for your employee training videos can seem a little daunting. How do you decide between a screencast, an animation, or a live-action video? You have a lot of choices, and that’s great! Part of the beauty of video is how much you can do with it.

And while we know it can seem a little overwhelming with all the options out there, it doesn’t have to be. Based on our experience, we recommend the following three types of employee training videos: screencasts, animations, and live action. But how do you know which of those three options to use?

When deciding which style is right for your content, we’ve found it’s best to start by thinking about what it is you want to teach. Are you transferring knowledge, teaching a skill, or modeling a behavior? While any type of video can teach knowledge, some video styles work best for demonstrating skills and behaviors. Let’s break it down.

Which Video Style is right for you?

Screencast


What is it?
A screencast shows a learner how to effectively use a tool or system. Think of it as a digital demonstration, walking learners through a tool or system with step-by-step navigation, narration, interactive elements, and more.

What’s it for?
Screencasts are great for teaching both knowledge and skills. Consider a screencast for e-learnings like systems training, app tutorials, or other UI/UX or navigational instruction. It answers questions like: How do I access the reporting tool? What information can I find there?

What’s it look like?
Screencast can range from low to medium fidelity. Low-fidelity screencasts primarily highlight tool functionality and navigation and include text-on-screen. The high-fidelity option can incorporate professional voiceover, interactivity, and custom animations to liven things up and further demonstrate concepts or best practices.

Animation


What is it?
Animations are dynamic, custom-built, and loads of fun. An animator creates art from scratch and uses your brand identity to bring everyday training topics to life. It can include everything from custom graphics, icons, and characters to dynamic text-on-screen, 3D renders, lip-syncing, and more.

What’s it for?
Animations have a wide range of uses. They’re great for teaching basic skills and knowledge. With animations, you’ll want to avoid covering anything too detailed that may require a lot of assets and visuals. Some of the best animations cover one quick topic and are used in conjunction with other training. It’s best to keep it simple, clean, and captivating.

What’s it look like?
Of the various types of employee training videos available, animations have the broadest range of fidelity options.

A low-fidelity animation primarily uses text-on-screen, music, and a few simple visuals (like icons—think infographic style). Medium-fidelity can include kinetic text, professional voiceover, and more detailed visuals like character silhouettes. High-fidelity animation incorporates everything from lip-syncing the characters to the voiceover, 3D visuals, multiple voiceover tracks, and more.

Live Action


What is it?
Depending on the content, live action video footage may be scripted or unscripted, and can be shot locally or on location. You’ll see a cast on set delivering their lines, interacting with props and each other, and a production crew working with lighting and sound.

What’s it for?
Live action video is a powerful tool for teaching skills and behaviors. It helps humanize behaviors and depict skills in action. Need to model how to interact with a customer? Want to showcase a best-in-class sales presentation? Live action employee training videos are a great option.

What’s it look like?
Live action videos tend to be medium to high fidelity and can incorporate everything from testimonials and scenarios, to simulations and more. Even low-fidelity options like video shot on a phone can be engaging, but it’s important to remember that, regardless of fidelity, it still has to be high-quality content in order to be a successful training tool.

Hype Videos

When you think of the word hype, you think of an excited tone and an upbeat, engaging style. Basically hype videos are a bit like mini movie trailers; they act as teasers of great things to come by getting learners excited about new ideas, initiatives, or products that are coming soon.

Testimonials

Testimonial videos are ideal for sharing messaging from your leadership team with your audience. Have a new corporate responsibility initiative you want to get your employees excited about? Have key members of your organization like the CEO share their point of view on why the new program is exciting and how it’ll impact the company and its employees. Testimonials can also include quotes from managers, customers, and other company figures.

Scenario-based

Use a scenario-based video when you want to depict a good behavior for your employees. Seeing a behavior acted out on screen serves as a powerful model and helps learners visualize what the behavior would look like in a real-life situation. Want to show them how to deal with a unsatisfied customer? Use a scenario video to showcase the right way of interacting with the consumer to resolve their issue.

Simulations

A simulation takes scenario-based training to the next level by putting the learner in control of the outcome. In this type of video, learners see a situation unfold and practice how they’d react given the scenario. This option is ideal for allowing a learner to practice a behavior in a controlled way. It allows them to select what they’d do next and see how that choice would play out.

So, How do You Choose?

In the end, it all boils down to what you want to teach and the best way to visually present that information. When it comes to employee training videos, there are a lot of options, but that just means you have even more opportunities to make something extra “sticky” and truly unique.

We know what you’re thinking…unique sounds expensive. If your budget dictates your project plan, don’t worry! We can work with you. There are lots of options in terms of style and fidelity, so we can tailor what you need to fit your budget and goals. It is a lot to juggle, but you’re not alone. Having the right partner to walk you through the options and help you decide what’s right for you can make the process a lot more seamless and a lot less intimidating.

If you need to liven up your training or just want to help learners visualize a difficult concept, video may be the perfect way to go. It’s a highly effective and extremely fun training tool. With so many style choices and with different fidelity options, the sky really is the limit.

We know that’s a lot to take in. If you have any questions, we’re here for you. Give us a call or send us an email.

How Much Does Custom Training Cost? It Depends!

So, you’ve decided off-the-shelf training no longer meets your company’s needs. Maybe you need to teach your employees about a complex system or product, or maybe you have specific customer service behaviors you need to demonstrate. Or, maybe it’s time for your training to match your company culture. In each of these examples, custom training solutions are definitely the right move. So, how much does custom training cost?

Well, it depends!

Something that’s custom-built for you rarely comes with a standard price tag. It all depends on what you want and need.

It’s a bit like remodeling a kitchen.

Let’s say you want new floors, appliances, cabinets, and countertops. When you ask the contractor for an estimate, two things probably happen next:

  • The contractor doesn’t give you an exact figure right away.
  • Instead, he or she asks you a few more questions.

While this might slow you down in the short-term, it’s a sign the contractor cares about your vision. After all, there are countless options for customization. Do you want tile floors? Linoleum? Do you need top-of-the-line appliances? What type of wood do you want for the cabinets? Are you interested in granite counter tops?

When you talk with a custom training partner, it’s no different, and if you can bring some key specs to the table, the process doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Use the framework outlined below to break down your vision and get an accurate custom training estimate.

IDENTIFY SPECIFICS

To get a better idea of how much your custom training project may cost, start thinking about the specifics. A custom training partner will ask you questions like this:

  1. How many topics do you need to cover? Will you focus on just a few topics, or do you need to create an entirely new program?
  2. Are you teaching knowledge, skills, or behaviors? If you’re teaching knowledge, a self-paced format could be the right approach. If you want learners to build new skills, they need a way to practice and get feedback. If you’re changing behaviors, your strategy will need a leadership component.
  3. How complex is the subject matter? Some custom training projects require more up-front analysis than others. Do you need a quick, fun hype video to encourage participation, or do you need to train employees on a highly complex product or system?
  4. What’s the right level of fidelity? Not all videos can be shot on an iPhone or a GoPro. Sometimes you need a full production crew, equipment rentals, and professional actors. Think about the ROI you’re after, and invest your dollars in your most high-impact content. The right training partner can produce a polished, exciting video that has that wow factor.
  5. How evergreen will the training be? Is this project “one and done,” or will it require ongoing maintenance? And, who do you want to be responsible for the maintenance–your internal training team or your training partner?
  6. What interactivity will you include? Should your content be highly interactive and immersive–with simulations, games, or even virtual reality? The more interactive the content, the more you’ll want to budget.

Consider Different Modalities

A major driver of cost is the modality–or training format–you’re interested in. In most cases, the subject matter will determine the best modality.

Make sure your training partner has a reputation for making helpful, strategic recommendations about your options. Here are some thought-starters you can use to identify benefits and costs of different modalities:

FACILITATED training

  • What type of seat time do you envision? A few hours? Two days? Three weeks?
  • Will the training be facilitated in-person or virtually?
  • Will you need any videos to support your facilitated content?
  • Do you need any quiz or assessment content to confirm learning?
  • Will pre-work and/or refresher training be part of your strategy?

eLearning

  • Are you interested in using any live action video content or animation in your eLearning modules?
  • Does your LMS support the type of eLearning experience you want?

Animation

  • Are you planning any systems training that requires a screencast?
  • Do you prefer a simple animation style, or something higher-fidelity like 3D?

Live action video

  • Do you have a general sense of the video length you’re interested in?
  • Would you rather use professional actors or your own employees?
  • Do you need to shoot the video in a specific location?

Custom training is personalized, engaging, and it gets results. In the end, the up-front time you spend to find the right custom training partner and articulate your vision will pay off.

It’s just like any great home improvement project. You have countless options, but the right contractor can turn your dream into a reality–and help you budget along the way.

So, how much does custom training cost? It depends! Use our framework to identify some specifics, then work with your training partner to choose the best modality and put together an estimate.

Webinar: 3 Challenges That Limit Your Training Engagement (And What to Do About Them)

At ATD 2017, we asked people who visited our booth to share their top training challenges. When we compared notes, one thing was clear: everyone wants their training to be more engaging.

So, we returned from the conference and hosted a free webinar, 3 Challenges That Limit Your Training Engagement (And What to Do About Them). Good news: if you missed the webinar, you can watch the recording below. It’s conversational, informative, and full of actionable tips to help you engage leaders, learners, and SMEs like a rockstar.

trainng-engagement-challenges-Unboxed

VIEW THE WEBINAR RECORDING

Follow along with facilitators David Williamson and Rick Lloyd as they share expert insights that will help you:

  • get leadership invested to create a culture of learning
  • engage tough SMEs to generate content that scales
  • follow up effectively to defeat the forgetting curve

After all, for a training program to stick, it needs the support of engaged leaders and subject matter experts. Watch the webinar, and find out how to align stakeholders across your organization more effectively to boost retention and create meaningful change.

Learning Has Changed. Has Your LMS Kept Up?

Four decades ago, employees slogged through printed training manuals accompanied by the occasional slide carousel show. Today, cutting-edge training is conducted via high-quality video content on mobile devices. We’ve come a long way from those dog-eared three-ring binders!

As training advanced, the learning management system (LMS) emerged in the 1990s as a tool to manage organizational learning programs. But now that training is accelerating into a more mobile, social, and connected experience, do you see your LMS as an innovative tool that simplifies training and makes it more engaging, or a clunky obstacle employees must overcome to find what they need?

Your learning platform should engage and inform. If your LMS can’t do that, you have a training problem. And it won’t be long before that becomes a business problem.

learning-has-changed-hero

LMS Satisfaction: Lukewarm at Best

According to Brandon Hall Group’s 2015 Learning Technology Trends survey, 85% of companies surveyed use an LMS, but “LMS satisfaction” seems to be an oxymoron:

  • 38% of companies are actively looking to replace their LMS
  • 31% of companies said they would not at all recommend their solution to colleagues
  • 20% said they would not renew

That adds up to an astonishing 89% of companies seeking a new training platform.

The oft-heard complaints about your LMS: it’s too clunky, too expensive, employees hate it. And the clincher: “It’s too complicated! I can’t find what I need when I need it. Why can’t training be easy to access?”

Brandon Hall sums it up:

“A system that is difficult to navigate causes frustration and can even impact the completion and effectiveness of the learning it’s supposed to be delivering.”

Ranking dead last in Brandon Hall’s satisfaction survey was whether respondents thought their LMS has the ability to meet future needs. The score: a dismal 2.57 out of 5.

Organizations are unsure of their LMS’s ability to satisfy future training needs. Let’s gaze into our Training Crystal Ball to determine if your organization’s LMS can handle them.

What Modern Training Looks Like

In our modern world, learners consume high-quality content and videos daily. Bland training courses can cause an eye-rolling epidemic. To help knowledge stick, today’s learners need high-quality, modern training content that keeps them engaged.

So, what does modern training look like? Take a look at ATD’s Learning Trends for the Next 5 Years for a good starting point. Learning should be adaptive, social, delivered in short bursts, immersive, and include gamification to make it – dare we say – fun.

And here are the training trends our readers are watching in 2017, which compare favorably with ATD’s 5-year-outlook (we typically move a little faster than average).

This is where learning is going. Stop for a minute and think about these two questions:

  1. Does your training content stack up?
  2. Can your current LMS support these trends?

Should an LMS Handle More than Just Training?

Traditional LMSs only house training. Users log in, complete their training, and log out. Admins log in, analyze who’s completed their training, nag those who haven’t, and log out. Lather, rinse, repeat.

If that’s all your LMS accomplishes, it’s outdated and ineffective. Today’s learners expect – and deserve – more.

To step into the modern era of training, organizations need more than just a way to deliver training and track completion. They need:

All training materials in one place. A single platform to host all the content employees need to be effective in their roles ‒ training; job aids; product information, updates, promotions; etc. Put everything at their fingertips and make it easy to access.

Collaboration tools. Allow your learners to connect with one another to keep the learning going. Social learning doesn’t just make learning fun. ATD points out that social learning enables rock star employees who engage and inspire those around them to significantly widen their circle of influence – with no travel expenses.

Simplified communication. Training is not a one-sided conversation. Your learning platform should make it easy to communicate targeted, visual, and engaging updates to the frontline without sending yet another email.

Motivation and rewards. Modern employees, especially sales professionals, love a little friendly competition and being rewarded for performance. Use gamification to keep employees engaged throughout their learning journey.

Imagine what would happen if people were actually engaged in their training. Imagine if everything your employees needed related to their training and job performance was in one location. Imagine if all of the above tools existed in one platform. Imagine!

We Knew There Had to Be a Better Way

So that’s why we built Spoke. With Spoke, easy access to all of these tools in one simplified, compatible platform isn’t just a figment of our collective imaginations anymore. It’s real.

Folksinger and social activist Pete Seeger said it best:

“Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.”

Sure, Spoke was named a top LMS in eLearning 24/7’s annual Top 50 LMS report in 2015, 2016, and again in 2017. But companies using Spoke are the ones seeing real results.

“Improved performance for every employee…”

“It’s intuitive. Nothing is buried.”

“It makes my job a lot easier.”

Oh, not to mention it gets used up to 4X more than traditional learning management systems.

Let’s Connect

Is your organization ready to change as learning evolves to the next level? Can your learning platform keep up?

When you’re ready to discuss modern training and a high-performance platform that does more than just deliver that training, contact us or give us a call: (888) 723-9770.

5 Learning & Development Trends to Watch in 2017

Update: Check out our list of 2018 training trends to watch.

It’s January. Prime time for predictions about the corporate training landscape. In 2016, we highlighted shared goals, collaboration, and analytics as topics of interest. This year, instead of telling you what we think the year’s big trends will be, we went straight to the source ‒ you! We polled our audience: “What L&D trends are you watching in 2017?”

2017 Learning and Development Trends to Watch

We asked. You answered. Now, we deliver.

Here’s what’s on your collective radar:

1. Microlearning. Training in bite-sized, easily digestible chunks.
2. Personalization. Make training individualized and contextual ‒ so it sticks.
3. Employee Engagement. Wowed employees are happy employees.
4. Measurable ROI. How impactful is your training program?
5. Marriage of great content + great technology. Deliver awesome content – awesomely.

Now for a deeper dive into each trending topic and what percentage of you picked each topic.

69% Donut Chart

Microlearning: shorter courses and more of them

StatisticBrain.com says our average attention span in 2015 was 8.25 seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000, when mobile went mainstream. In addition to having an attention span lower than the average goldfish (Goldie clocks in at 9 seconds), learners are busy.

Delivering training in bite-sized chunks is key. With shorter courses divided into more segments, employees are empowered to learn at their own pace. They gain valuable information with minimal disruption to their workflow.

Adding mobility to microlearning enables users to train anywhere, anytime. And on the go. That autonomy combined with entertaining, informative content helps learners retain knowledge in a simple, easy-to-remember way.

Hungry for more? Check out this post on using microlearning for sales training.

49% Donut Chart

Personalization of training

 

Personalizing the learning journey for each specific job function ensures that learners get the information they need without wasting valuable time. For example, an inside sales rep requires different knowledge and skills than an outside sales rep. Their personalized training journeys should reflect that.

Learning is contextual. Employees want their training to look and feel like their day-to-day encounters, so they can see exactly how to apply new knowledge and skills situationally. This improves productivity, performance, sales – and therefore, your bottom line.

In addition to personalizing for job function, training should be customized to mirror your organization’s particular values and culture. Keep it conversational and sprinkle some humor around.

Unique, contextualized training that informs and entertains gets a thumbs-up from employees and superior results for your company. Win-win.

33% Donut Chart

Focus on employee engagement

Fact: highly engaged employees are more productive and less likely to job-hop. That’s critical because employee turnover costs big bucks. Some studies suggest replacing a salaried employee costs six to nine months of their annual salary. A CAP Study found that losing a high-level employee can cost up to 213% of their annual salary. Plus, it tanks employee morale.

Churn is bad. So how do you poach-proof valued contributors?

Increased employee engagement is key. If you think another three days of PowerPoint presentations will get your team amped, think again.

Instead, give employees something they will actually look forward to. Innovative, high-tech training ‒ like the media they consume on YouTube and Facebook in their spare time ‒ holds their attention and boosts retention rates.

We’ve found that instilling gamification, interaction and socialization into your training – maybe even virtual reality – boosts employee engagement and job satisfaction.

Smart content fuels discussions as learners compare best practices. They evolve into champions who bolster your organization. Collateral benefit: elevated employee morale.

33% Donut Chart

Measuring training ROI

 

Increased completion rates are great, but let’s talk about the measurable business impact of training. What’s your training ROI? How does training correlate with and impact key performance indicators?

The general benefits of training are undisputed: greater productivity, improved customer retention, increased sales, higher employee engagement and decreased churn. But are you measuring them?

To measure specific KPIs, identify them before creating your training program. Ensure the metrics are measurable. And integrate a testing function into the program.

27% Donut Chart

 The marriage of great content and great technology

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to tell you that today’s employees expect training to showcase the marriage of enlightened content and interactive technology. Perk: like many power couples, the two are more effective when combined.

For a hands-on example, look no further than your iPod. The game-changing technology moved the needle on the entire music industry. But without great content, an iPod is merely a well-designed piece of metal with potential.

Imagine lacing up your Adidas and listening to elevator muzak instead of a workout playlist. Spoiler alert: even with superior iPod technology in hand, you won’t shatter your 5-mile PR the day Engelbert Humperdinck replaces Daft Punk.

Don’t just deliver great content. Deliver it in a memorable, relatable way. Edgy modern media captivates employees because they relate to it, so the knowledge and skills they learn will stick.

So, what are you watching?

 

Let’s bring it full-circle. What other training trends are you watching in 2017? Let us know by commenting below, or give us a shout on Twitter @unboxedtech.

If your organization is on the verge of a growth spurt, custom training can catapult you to the next level. Let’s talk about transformational training solutions: (888) 723-9770