Effective Instructional Videos: 4 Tips You Need to Steal From Marketing

person watching a learning video

As our modern workforce evolves and adapts, video has increased in popularity. In fact, sources show mobile video usage has increased by nearly 10 million daily viewing minutes in just in the last two years.

Marketers have been successful in using videos to capture the attention of consumers. After all, it’s evident that investing in videos leads to higher ROI.

By using storytelling they get higher retention and engagement rates. It only makes sense to re-use these methods to create better training videos.

While video has been used in training for some time, it’s still not as effective as it can be.

So, why not borrow help from marketing to drive business results?

Let’s take a look at some best practices from video marketing, and how you can use them to create effective instructional videos.

1. Focus on the story

Modern marketers find success in connecting with their target audience through storytelling.

When they create video campaigns, their initial focus is not to sell. Instead, it’s to present a narrative that resonates with the consumer. They want to drive brand equity and establishes a long-term connection.

An easy method to create this connection is to incorporate a storyline that establishes a sense of emotion. Doing so will not only create a feeling of immersion for the audience but will also reinforce the learning point.

I once created a live-action learning video where characters had unique personalities and an intriguing, realistic “dating in the workplace” problem.
Creating a story conveyed the purpose of the video with far more impact than simply going over the compliance topic.

Learners accurately recalled the topics because of the engaging, immersive story in the video. The relatable characters increased the connection to the learning experience.

The TechSmith Academy videos are also an effective example of using simple stories. They create a base for learner engagement and recall. By using simple stories with a unique challenge that a character faces and a rewarding resolution, the videos create an amusing hook that connects with learners.

2. Center in on the learning experience

Marketers today focus on the brand experience.

This interaction between a brand and its customer over the entire duration of their relationship is vital.

Rather than just concentrate on selling a product, modern marketers are promoting the experience a customer has with a brand.

As a marketer, I shifted my approach from simply selling a product to ensuring that my brand came to life at every touchpoint.

For example, the call center, the packaging, the in-store displays all exuded “simply and easy”. This created a holistic experience for my customers.

You can apply this technique when designing training videos for learners.

Instead of focusing on just the single video, consider the holistic learning path that the video is a part of. Does each element in the learning path provide the consistent message to your learner that your individual video does? Is your learning curriculum supposed to exude “ease” or “technical challenge mastery” or “fun?”

In a recent animated learning video our company created, we ensured the other learning touch points reinforced a playful, approachable tone that our video had. This ended in a learning experience that was light-hearted and simple.

3. Personalization is key

In marketing, personalization is key. From the first point of contact to the last, marketers want to ensure customers connect to the brand. They do this by skillfully offering personalized messages to each target market at every stage of the buying process.

Similarly, you should consider creating a direct connection with learners in training videos by offering different choices. Like a “choose your own adventure,” an effective video experience would allow users to make personal choices on how to proceed or even what topics to learn. This can be achieved through interactive videos.

An easy way to provide more learner personalization and choices is by having an interactive hotspot, which is a simple customizable action in Camtasia. In this way, the video can resonate with learners’ personal learning demands.

4. Microvideo is king

Did you know that one-fifth of viewers will click away from a video if it’s longer than 10 seconds? That’s why marketers today are focusing on creating shorter, more engaging videos to keep their audience hooked. This also explains why microvideos that focus on one simple learning objective have increased in popularity.

I’m not saying that you should start making 10-second training videos. Instead, let’s look at requests for long, content-heavy videos. If they have many learning objectives these are better suited to another form of content besides a long video.

This is especially necessary considering today’s learners have shorter attention spans and limited time to invest in training. The simple takeaway? Ensure you have proper planning and produce concise videos.

Training videos don’t have to be boring

There are more ways of approaching learning videos than the boring “talking head” videos of yesteryear. By applying some of the above-mentioned marketing techniques to L&D videos, as training professionals, we can achieve greater learner satisfaction and engagement.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a helpful checklist that offers a guideline to create effective instructional videos that appeal to your audience.

Danielle Wallace

Danielle Wallace is the chief learning strategist at Beyond the Sky, a provider of custom learning solutions. Previously, as a marketing executive with Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo, she learned strategic marketing principles, which she applies to learning and development to create learning that sticks. Danielle is also a certified training and development professional (CTDP) and her thought leadership, free checklists and monthly infographics can be found at www.beyondthesky.ca

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