I have always loved movies. I grew up on them you see. Some of my earliest memories are gathering around the television with my family to watch movies on our vcr player. When DVDs became widely available there was almost a ceremonial day when we got our first set of DVDs. And I don’t think I’m the only one who has an emotional relationship, not to a specific movie, but rather just to video in general.
Take for example Youtube. A website which was started with no-business model, as simply a place for people to upload and share videos, is now one of the single most popular sites on the internet with several million unique content creators and consumers. The site is so popular in fact that they have only recently started to produce and publish their own branded feature length films on the youtube platform.
People love video, there’s just no getting around it. And when you stop to think about it for a second, it really makes a lot of sense. Humans are visual creatures. We relate to visual stimuli on an instinctive level. If something moves just in the corner of your vision, on instinct you will turn to get a better look at it. Bright colors entrance us, whether they’re the red of a ripe apple, or the blue glow of an lcd screen. Whether it’s gathering around the campfire and watching the flames dance as you listen to a story, or huddling around a screen to watch a funny video about a cat, the instinct is fundamentally the same.
Since video is such a powerful medium, it makes perfect sense to use it for training purposes. These days if people need to learn how to tie a knot or build a shed they’ll look online for a video tutorial rather than a set of written instructions, because it’s almost always easier to follow a video demonstration of something intricate. This is a lesson that eLearning and online training should embrace. Video is the preferred medium, so use it.
Of course you can’t just film a demo of whatever you’re trying to teach and then hope things work out from there. That might be good enough if you want to tie a bow tie, (especially when you can easily find 231,000 results of varying quality to choose from) but for something more complex more care is required.
Let’s take interviewing for example. Interviewing is a skill which requires both the interviewer and the interviewee to be able to read people, understand contextual clues, and adhere to company practices and standards to make sure everything stays above board. With an interaction that complicated you can’t just film a mock interview (or even an actual interview) and expect the people viewing the recording to catch all of the nuances.
A video training course of this nature has to be meticulously constructed so that it can take full advantage of the power of film to communicate information not just visually, but in a way which is actively engaging for the person taking the course.
In the end, we love learning from videos because we’re naturally inclined to love it. As children we learn by watching and listening and mimicking. For toddlers, the whole world is their instructional video, and so it’s no wonder that we continue to prefer learning from sounds combined with moving pictures as we get older. If you think back, I bet you can remember bits and pieces of the last training video you watched. Even if it was terrible, and you hated it, I bet you can still remember part of it. That’s the power of using video for learning, so let’s use it the best we can.
Photo Credit: David Rzegocki