The possibilities for animation are endless. Quickly becoming one of the most popular trends in learning and development, animated videos provide you with tools to explain complex, intangible ideas in just minutes. Eye-catching, fast-paced graphics will grab the attention of your learner, and when paired with clear and concise language, help them piece concepts together.
From a brain science perspective, educational psychologist Richard Lowe writes that the following are two main reasons for using animations to inform or teach.
Animations attract and capture attention because motion is one of the primary attributes of a graphic that makes viewers take notice. Animations can also increase motivation because of their novelty. When they are humorous, they can create a positive effect.
Animations that have a cognitive purpose can facilitate learning because they provide more and different information than static graphics. They have the potential to help a learner build a more accurate mental model of a system’s behavior compared to graphics alone.
Additionally, animation maximizes this capacity by delivering information in two ways: Auditory and visual. This two-channel delivery system boosts the amount of content learners can encounter before reaching the maximum load for working memory.
Benefits of Animated Videos
Tell a story with a 3-D character. It allows the learner to connect through an emotional bond, increasing motivation. Characters can also act as a guide, helping the learner feel less alone if they’re going through the course independently.
Make complex programs or processes easier to understand with simple visual cues. This is an illustration of our host platform Spoke. The video helped introduce learners to the custom capabilities.
Take a challenging topic, like multifactor authentication, and tell a story that will increase retention. This allows the learner to tie eye-catching visuals to certain auditory cues as they apply the concept to their work.
At Unboxed Training & Technology, our award-winning animations have been created for everything from demonstrating complex processes to getting a learner excited for their training. Senior Animators, Michael Laskaris and Dan Kanach, have stretched their animation muscles to incorporate different levels of detail. Check out the reel below for a peek at some of our most recent work.
As a kid I wanted to be Alfred Hitchcock. As a graduate student I won a screenwriting award. Today, as the Director of Content Strategy at Unboxed, I’ve had the honor of being part of a team that’s produced hundreds of microlearning videos for our clients.
You’ll often hear me say, “Use as much video as possible!” However, over the years I’ve observed how corporate training video production intimidates most people in the market for it. They have justifiable concerns about production costs, timelines, actors, branding, and quality.
In an effort to make the production process a little more human-friendly, we created the Training Video Production, Humanized guide. The guide covers enough video terminology to make you dangerous, plus what you can expect during pre-production, production, and post-production.
Before you read any further, you need to know why training videos work—and why it’s such a worthwhile investment of your time and money. Here are a few helpful stats:
As we discuss in the article Employee Training Videos—What Style is Right for You: Cisco projects 82% of all Internet traffic will be video by 2021; An estimated 75% of the workforce will be Millennials by 2025—and Millennials are some of the heaviest consumers of video as a medium.
Video-based training programs can deliver impressive results—like 70% completion rates for training considered optional. (I mean, who takes optional training?! People who like videos, that’s who.)
Training Video Production: Things to Know Up Front
So, let’s go ahead and assume we’re creating microlearning training videos, not feature-length films. This has positive implications when it comes to your training video production costs. For training to be considered microlearning, it should be 5 minutes or fewer (we usually target 2-3 minutes) and focus on a single topic. Your microlearning video could be live action, animation, or a combination of both.
To feel comfortable throughout the training video production process, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with a little bit of terminology. Let’s start with the people you’ll meet.
People You’ll Meet
In most cases, the higher the fidelity and complexity of the video, the more team members are involved. Higher-fidelity training videos often involve sophisticated lighting setups, professional actors, additional sound and camera equipment, and extra crew. In our frequent participation in the 48 Hour Film Project, we’ve seen how the absence of the right equipment—particularly lighting and sound—can significantly reduce the impact of your content. Sometimes an iPhone just won’t cut it.
The Training Video Production, Humanized guide outlines the roles involved in a typical Unboxed training video shoot. Some of our corporate training video productions require more hands on deck, while some require less.
Here’s a sample of the people you’ll meet. Download the guide to meet the whole team.
What to Expect During Pre-Production
We can break training video production down into three phases: pre-production, production, and post-production. In a nutshell, pre-production includes all of the up-front scripting, storyboarding, casting, and planning. Your Content Strategist and Producer will handle most of the heavy lifting during this phase, and they’ll be asking for your feedback and approval along the way.
Will we get to see what the actors look like to make sure they reflect the diversity and tone of our organization? Yes! We’ll work closely with you to understand the right demographics and find talented actors that represent your company well.
What if I can’t afford professional actors? In our experience, professional actors deliver the best result and keep your content evergreen. However, if you’d prefer to use your own employees, we can share some best practices with you to set them up for success.
Will we get to recommend locations? Absolutely! In addition to that, we’ll also let you know if we can achieve the right look near our Richmond headquarters. If our crew doesn’t travel far, we can save you money.
Who should plan to be there on shoot day? We’d love to invite at least one subject-matter-expert (SME) on set with us. This person can be a great resource on shoot day and help ensure scenes are true-to-life.
What to Expect During Production
If you’ve never been on set during a training video production, you’re in for a treat. It’s exciting to see all of the scripting, casting, and planning come together. It’s also busy—the Unboxed team is efficient and works hard to capture a lot of footage in a day. Wear comfortable shoes!
You’ll enjoy watching our Directors in action as they coach talent and keep things moving from one scene to the next. They’ll check in with you often and make sure you’re satisfied with what’s being captured.
What should I wear to the shoot? We recommend wearing something casual or business casual. You want to make sure you’re comfortable. Pay special attention to footwear! Flats typically work best.
What is my role on set? We love having clients on set because you can make sure each scene is a realistic portrayal of your organization. You’ll have the opportunity to consult with our directors to make sure they’re giving the talent the right direction according to your brand and subject matter expertise. Keep us honest and confirm we’re doing a great job.
Other Terms You’ll Hear
MOS. Lower thirds. Slate. Camera speed.
There are plenty of other video production terms where these came from. While you’re on set, the Unboxed team will be more than happy to go over any questions you have about what something means or why we’re capturing footage a certain way.
What to Expect During Post-Production
In the post-production phase, we create your final training video. Our Director of Photography sits in a dark room for three straight days, wearing headphones and moving pixels around. He only breaks for lunch.
Just kidding. Post-production can actually be very collaborative, as our Content Strategist, DP, and Producer work together to agree on the best shots, make smart editing decisions, and keep the project on budget. By the time you see the first cut, it’s already been through at least one round of internal review.
What’s my role during post-production review? We’ll send you the first cut of the video and ask for your feedback or approval. At this stage in the production process, we can still edit music, transitions, and text on screen, and if necessary, we can also look into alternate takes and shots.
How many rounds of review do I get? Your training video production budget includes one first cut review. Once we get your feedback on the first cut, our editor makes any changes you requested and delivers your final, polished video.
I have late feedback from an important stakeholder. What should I do? Talk to us! It happens, and our goal is to deliver training you’re happy with. Help us understand the request, and let us come back with a recommendation in case it impacts scope and timeline.
Lights, Camera, Action!
When it comes to corporate training video production, gone are the days of talking heads. With so many training video styles available, video is one of the best ways to engage your learners. Sure, production planning takes work, but it’s exciting and fun, and in the end you’ll have training you’re proud to show off. With the right team in place, shooting video doesn’t need to be intimidating—or a hassle.
When an organization rolls out a new product, it can take a while for the sales team to get on board. Even if they’re excited about the product itself, learning another set of features, benefits, and messaging can feel like just another thing they don’t have time for.
So, what can you do to increase speed to competency and drive excitement for a new product?
Recently, Unboxed partnered with a pharmaceutical organization rolling out a new product at a nation-wide launch. They’d been working hard for months to build marketing collateral and training to support the sales team, and they were looking to do something special to increase excitement and sustain learning beyond the launch event. They needed a creative way to prove that the sales team could execute what they’d learned in the intensive in-person and online training.
Together, we landed on what we called a “Show What You Know” video challenge. The goal was to engage the sales team’s naturally competitive drive by giving them a chance to show what they knew in a public setting—and get rewarded for it.
Here’s how it would work:
1. Learners would record a video of themselves demonstrating the training techniques they learned during training.
2. Learners would upload their best pitch to the training portal (LMS).
3. Training leaders would review each video, selecting the best pitches to share live on the portal, and sharing feedback with those that need improvement.
4. Learners would earn coins and accolades from peers and leaders.
Prior to rolling out “Show What You Know”, we created a dedicated space for the challenge inside the learning portal and even released a hype video to explain the video challenge.
Upon implementation, we saw high rates of engagement from the start, but the results were what was most surprising. The training team found that no one, not even the top performers on the sales team, was able to execute on all of the required messaging they’d learned in training. These results uncovered gaps in the training and gave leaders an opportunity to directly address those gaps, provide more practice sessions, and continue moving the team toward excellence.
As a bonus, we spliced together highlights from the best-uploaded videos to emphasize key skill areas. We bookended the videos with a skills overview, giving learners several examples of what good looks like so they could continue to practice. The challenge was a great success.
We gathered a few key takeaways from “Show What You Know” that you may be able to apply to your own program:
• Learners may know less than they think they do. Going into the challenge, most learners reported being confident with the new product info they had learned in training. The video challenge revealed what we know to be true: that knowledge acquisition is entirely different than practical application.
• Learners love learning from their peers. After the challenge, releasing the spliced videos allowed learners to see several examples of how they could implement key skills and build a more natural approach to their sales pitch. Because these examples were from their peers, they felt authentic, relevant, and timely.
• Sustainment is key. Be strategic about when to roll out a post-training challenge. Gather your initial results, and continue to refine as you go in order to have the most impact.
Have questions about your own sustainment plan?
Need a sustainment strategy that will allow your team to identify learning gaps? Contact Unboxed today for a strategy that works for your learners.
An alarming 66% of sales teams describe their training as irrelevant. Knowing 75% of employees are more likely to watch a video than read text, how do you create sales training videos that wow and make a positive impact on the bottom line? Here at Unboxed, we’ve been creating training videos that learners actually want to watch, and we’ve seen encouraging results, like a 15-60% increase in year over year sales.
When creating a custom sales program, you should use video strategically to show and reinforce the behaviors you’re teaching. Here are the five fundamentals of great sales training videos to guide your content creation.
1. Custom Sales Training Video Content
The first place to start is making sure your content is specific to your organization. There are plenty of generic sales training videos out there, but you can’t count on them to give you the positive results you’re looking for. Why? Because your team is less likely to take it seriously and the real impact comes from videos that match your organization’s specific culture, sales process, products, and challenges.
Your team is unique, and their training should be too. Show that you are investing in their success with custom content.
2. Real World Scenarios
Along the same lines, your sales training videos should address realistic scenarios that your teams encounter every day. To make sure our training content is as authentic as possible, we interview sales team members in the field and other subject matter experts to gut check scenarios that we’d like to include.
In addition to real scenarios, your script has to sound that way too. To accomplish this, use conversational language and contractions (hasn’t, won’t, couldn’t, isn’t, etc.). Try your best to listen to actual sales conversations either by observing on a ride along or listening in on a sales call. When you’re done with your first draft, send the script to a few rock star sales team members to get their feedback. When your scenarios and scripting are as true-to-life as possible, you’ll gain your learner’s credibility and they’ll want to learn from you.
3. Professional Quality
If the acting is bad in a movie or show, you’re less likely to watch it, right? The same goes for sales training videos. If you want your learners to take the content seriously, and engage with it, the quality should be professional. This means everything from the filming, to the lighting, sound, and talent should be as polished as can be.
As Hollywood enhances their quality, the modern learner’s expectations rise too. If you sacrifice on quality, you run the risk of losing your audience’s attention and your credibility.
You may be thinking, “professional talent sounds expensive.” While a lot of organizations try to cut corners and use internal team members instead of professional talent, we advise against this. Ultimately, you won’t save as much as you think, and you’ve now gambled with the main focal point of your sales training video. Remember to try and eliminate as many distractions for your learners as possible.
4. Use a Creative Concept
Your training videos shouldn’t be a narrator or person in leadership talking to the camera the whole time. It’s best to use a creative concept where you can set clear expectations and show what those behaviors look like in a fun, engaging way. After all, it’s much more powerful to show than just tell.
Think outside the box when it comes to your creative concept. Can you find inspiration from a popular show? Would it work to show a compare and contrast of a team member who portrays good behaviors vs. a team member who uses great behaviors? As you’re brainstorming, consider themes that will fit with your culture and entertain and motivate your learners.
5. Show Positive & Negative Outcomes
Sales training videos provide learners with a safe space to learn. That’s why we use video simulations whenever possible. A simulation let’s a learner see a scenario play out, respond how they would handle it, and see what happens as a result. If they get the answer wrong, they’ll see the outcome (maybe it’s awkward silence or confusion from their customer), either way, they get to see the result of not using the best-in-class behavior. We know learners are going to make mistakes, and that’s okay. We’d just rather have them happen during training instead of real customer conversations.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.