Video is one of the most popular ways to deliver and consume content. That’s not changing anytime soon. And training videos are one of the best ways to share knowledge or information.
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube all encourage people to watch and share short, informal videos. And your customers are looking for videos to solve their problems more than ever before.
If fact, according to a Pew Research study, 87% of users said that YouTube is important for helping them figure out how to do things they haven’t done before.
TechSmith’s own research shows that people increasingly turn to video for their own learning needs. In 2018, 55% of people surveyed reported watching two or more informational or instructional videos. That’s up from 45% in 2016 and 28% in 2013.
So, it’s no secret that video is important. And this makes customers particularly receptive to video as they try to learn your product or service. That means trainers, instructional designers, and anyone else tasked with training customers should be creating instructional videos as part of their customer education program.
Here’s what you’ll learn in this guide:
- What is a training video?
- Why make a training video?
- What makes a great training video?
- What are the different types of training videos?
- How to make a training video?
What is a training video?
A training video is a type of video content that is used to teach individuals or groups a new skill or expand their understanding of a particular topic. These can be used in the corporate world to facilitate employee training, in the customer service world to educate customers about how to use a specific product, and in countless other scenarios as well.
Why make a training video?
Training videos as a delivery system for learning and information sharing carry quite a few benefits.
Learning videos make it easier to retain information
Human beings retain content accompanied by imagery better than they retain audio content alone. This is likely because our brains process imagery 60 000 times faster than they do words.
While not exactly the same as retention, training videos can be recorded with a tool like Snagit and easily rewatched to help with repetition-based retention. That is, of course, not quite as simple as an in-person training experience.
Learning videos have higher engagement
When asked how they would choose to learn something new, 73% indicated video as their model of choice. When people are presented with information in a way that they enjoy engaging with, it simply stands to reason that they will engage more often and more fully.
Learning videos keep the training costs down
Especially for those who produce their own, training videos are far less expensive than traditional models of training. Looking at the corporate world specifically, in 2016, US companies spent an estimated $70.65 billion on training alone, while also losing 53.8 productivity hours during their onboarding/acclimation time.
While the benefit and necessity of training are clear, we can all admit – those numbers don’t sound ideal. Given that reducing the amount or quality of training provided carries a significant cost itself, the solution seems to lie in the reduction of employee time spent giving in-person training and maximizing productivity hours on both sides of the equation.
Replacing appropriate segments of face-to-face training with high-quality video training reduces the need for time spent without sacrificing the amount or quality of training that individuals receive – and all of this results in reduced training costs.
So much training, so little time
Coordinating schedules for employee training can be an intense and time-consuming activity on its own! Live training can require time to be booked with multiple individuals organization-wide, more or less on demand, and the busy schedules most of us keep make this a very difficult task to manage.
By creating training videos for your employees you can make the most of each individual’s time throughout the process – your subject matter expert can be recorded at a time that is convenient for them, and narrators or other characters can be filmed based on their own schedules, and the learners, whether new or seasoned employees, can take the training at a time that works well within their schedules.
No more coordinating people across roles, locations, and time zones to all be at the same place at the same time means much more effective time use and buy-in to the training process.
Slide decks get boring…fast
But they don’t have to! Slide decks are an excellent tool for presenting content-heavy training sessions and when used properly can significantly impact the retention of information.
Slide decks are meant to incorporate bullet-point summation and visual media but what often happens is that the creator leans hard into the bullet points and gives little thought to how to use visual media to enhance their decks and therefore enhance the benefit to those learning from the deck.
Creating a training video can help elevate the content that you would have included in a slide deck. The addition of effective images, video clips, and process-based screenshots taking the place of long bulleted lists can result in an engaging slide deck that, with easy-to-use tools like Snagit and Camtasia, can be screen recorded to create a reusable piece of video training.
What makes a great training video?
All training videos are not created equal! So, how do you create a great training video? You make sure it is easy to understand, that it follows a logical structure, and that it is memorable. And don’t shy away from making updates as needed to maintain its relevancy.
A great learning video identifies the learning outcomes
When creating a training video, one of the first steps should be to identify the learning outcome you are striving for. What point do you really need to get across? What is the main message?
Once you’ve identified that be sure to maintain focus on that outcome. Be sure that every piece of information presented is supporting the chosen outcome. Adding in too much information or irrelevant contextualization can confuse the message and likely reduce engagement.
A great training video maintains focus and attention on specific learning outcomes and ensures that the entirety of its content supports the goal at hand.
A great learning video is tailored to the needs of the audience
Understanding the needs of your audience and accommodating them is a key factor in creating a great training video.
The first step here is, of course, becoming familiar with your audience. Don’t guess what their needs are – do some investigating and find out for sure. If, for instance, you need to create training videos related to a payroll process you may choose to provide basic details about how the payroll system works so that the learners understand the full context.
That will likely be effective for learners who are not familiar with finance and HR but it could also create an instance where those in the finance and HR departments disengage with the training video as it won’t feel like it is “for” them. In this particular example, it may be beneficial to distribute a training video with those “basic details” removed to the departments that don’t need them.
It can be a good idea to consult with your team about how you can best meet the needs of the audience for which your video training is being created. They may have a helpful perspective on the audience and they can also help you tighten up the presentation!
A great learning video is in the right format
When you are creating training videos, it’s not just about what you say but how you say it. The format selected is a crucial factor in making an effective training video. Consider what the content in your training video will include and what the best way to present it is.
Complex systems can often be presented well with 3D animation, while training on a topic that may require vulnerability may be better served with a “talking head” style video.
A great learning video is not too short, not too long
Don’t buy into the “less is more” theory that says humanity’s short attention span dictates a need for short videos only. The most important variable in determining the length of your video is the content. Your content should always dictate the length of your training video. Cutting it off just to meet a shorter timeframe will feel disruptive and disengage your learners. Longer videos are very effective as long as they are segmented, and the subject matter is complex enough to warrant the length.
The range in video length starts around 30 seconds and can increase exponentially but about 15 minutes is a fairly common length for a “long” video. 30 seconds to 1 minute can suffice for a trailer or a recipe tutorial while the training videos running 15 minutes and longer are usually pretty deep dives into some complex subject matter.
What are the different types of training videos?
Training videos do not come in only one shape and size. There are many ways to create training videos and we’ve described them below. But we didn’t stop there! You’ll also find helpful tips about which types work best for what use cases.
Presenter-Style Training Videos
What it is: Presenter-Style training videos typically feature a speaker on screen and incorporate a variety of other information-sharing techniques, like animation, graphics, etc. Sometimes the focus of the presenter-style video training is a demonstration, like in the case of orienting new staff around the use of a specific piece of equipment. This style of training video humanizes the content, making it more relatable and engaging, by using a person to convey the information. These are also referred to as “live-action” videos.
Scenarios where it’s relevant:
- When your training video needs to facilitate an emotional connection
- For interview style training
- When you are creating training videos that show a product demonstration
Screencast Training Videos
What it is: Screencast Training Videos are screen recordings with audio narration added in overtop. These training videos can be recorded with a very low budget compared to other types of videos.
Softwares like Camtasia and Snagit can make creating training videos in screencast style easy and seamless. You can get a free trial of Camtasia here and Snagit here – download them now and try your hand at this type of training video!
Scenarios where it’s relevant:
- Getting an employee introduced to a specific software
- When there is minimal budget available
- When you want to provide efficient answers to frequently asked process questions
What it is: A tutorial is often filmed with specific instructions and holds teaching something step-by-step as their top priority. These typically follow the main character through the actions they are describing but may also be filmed from the first-person point of view. Tutorials may also incorporate interactive elements like quizzes.
Scenarios where it’s relevant:
- When step-by-step instructions are needed
- For a hands-on video training
- When the combination of a presenter style and screencast style training videos will best serve your learners
Corporate training videos
What it is: This type of training video is typically used to explain very specific aspects of a workplace, like customer service, shifts and schedules, sexual harassment policies, and other similarly repeatable concepts.
Scenarios where it’s relevant:
- When you need to familiarize new employees with a policy
- For situations where an aspect of workplace norms has changed and employees need to be retrained en masse
- When you want to train employees on office norms, policies and safety
On-site training videos
What it is: Very similar to the presenter style video, this type of training video is used when there is a benefit to having a certain location shown. It incorporates a presenter, a narrator, and recordings from the location in question.
Scenarios where it’s relevant:
- For virtual visits to factories, warehouses, or plants
- When you want to show front-of-house staff the inner workings of a kitchen
- For showing behind-the-scenes work
Motion Graphics Training Video
What it is: Motion Graphics Training videos use computer simulations or animations rather than human actors or presenters. These often come in handy to present scenarios that are too dangerous for real-life demonstration or require too high a budget to replicate realistically.
Scenarios where it’s relevant:
- When you need to bring a light mood to heavy material
- For showing hazardous situations in safety training
- When budget does not allow for real-life replication of a scenario
Stock Footage Montage & Text-Based Training Videos
What it is: This type of training video is made primarily from purchased materials like stock footage, music, and custom graphics.
Scenarios where it’s relevant:
- When your budget doesn’t allow for a film crew
- For situations where anonymity is important
- When the content for your training video is relatively generic
Interactive Training Videos
What it is: Interactive video trainings are the cutting edge of training videos. They offer unique opportunities to create training courses for employees where they get to direct the path of the training video, and the educator can gain information about student progress through the learning exercise.
This is a highly engaging type of video training where the learner becomes fully immersed and multiple different outcomes can be reached. The interactive components can include yes/no scenarios, or calculations among other things.
Scenarios where it’s relevant:
- When you want to incorporate virtual or augmented reality in your training program
- When you want to be able to track a learner’s progress
- For situations wherein active learning is favorable to passive learning
How to make a great training video?
Choose a topic for your training video
When you are looking at how to create a training video, selecting your topic is, of course, pretty high on the list of priority to-dos! What we know about consumer behavior is that genuine interest in the topic at hand is a key component in viewers continuing to watch a video after they have clicked on it.
We also know that the primary cause of people losing interest and clicking away from a video is that they are not getting the information they thought they would.
Clearly, choosing the right topic for your audience is an important part of making great training videos but where do you start?
You define and get to know your audience. You have to really understand their needs and what matters most to them.
This market research should be completed in a way that makes sense for the size and location of the audience you are making the training video for. You could use an interview method if you are serving a small specific group, like your direct reports in a small business, or use a survey if your audience is larger.
You could also peruse online spaces like Reddit, Quora, or Answer the Public to see what questions people are asking about your area of expertise.
Once you know what it is that your audience is looking for, you will need to choose a very specific piece of the topic to focus on for your online training video. If you can’t narrow it down specifically enough consider creating an online training course with multiple videos instead of one unfocused training video.
Choose a format and type of training video
Not that long ago we talked about types of training videos that you can use to create effective learning opportunities for your audience. This is the stage of the process where you will need to use that information!
Now that you know your topic, you can effectively decide what format will be most helpful in delivering your message.
Perhaps your training video will demonstrate a process step by step, using a seasoned employee as the main character. A tutorial format will best serve this purpose.
If you have new software to demonstrate to your staff, creating a screencast-style training video could be your best choice.
For a topic that, for best engagement and understanding, requires a bond to be created between teacher and student you might choose to create an online training video in the presenter format.
Whichever format you choose, you will need to have the right tools available to you. Camtasia and Snagit are those tools. Each is incredibly powerful in its own right but together – they are a dream team. Snagit performs screen capture as you’ve never seen before. Grab segments of your window or perform a panoramic scrolling capture, then add the appropriate context.
Then you can export your work to Snagit’s amazing big brother Camtasia to perform any video or audio editing required. You can even add B roll footage from your own collection, or the stock selection that lives within the app itself.
If you have been wondering how to create training videos for your employees or maybe how to create a video course, you need to try Snagit and Camtasia and the great news is you can do just that for free! Grab your free trial of Snagit here, and Camtasia now.
Create an outline and a storyboard
You can find more information on this in our post about scripting training videos, but we’ll cover the basics for you here.
Developing an outline as part of the process of creating your training video will help you to keep your employees’ attention, support engagement, and make sure you cover all of the important points required to provide proper training.
Jumping into filming without having an outline will create an employee training video that is confusing and does not concisely deliver its message. This has a severe negative impact on engagement and should be avoided.
The outline for your employee training video will define its beginning, middle, and end.
You should map out your introductory details, the primary points you need to make about the topic of your training, and any concluding details, such as any calls to action or a summation of the main points you have made.
Following the completion of your outline, a storyboard is the next step.
Developing a storyboard will help you incorporate the all-important visual aspects of your training video. You can sketch out the various scenes, or use screenshots of the material you will cover to create the storyboard. There is no need to agonize over the visual quality of the storyboard – it’s not going public!
This combination of an outline and storyboard will give you a good sense of exactly how your training video will look, as well as an idea of the anticipated length.
Film your training video
You’ve done it! You’ve made it through the preparation portion of creating a training video for your employees!
Unless you are creating an animated training video, this is the time to begin filming your video.
Don’t worry too much about the tools you will use – you can make an excellent training video with just a ring light and your smartphone.
If you are creating a screencast-style video, beginning the recording process is as simple as navigating to the screen you will be sharing and clicking the red “record” button in the Snagit widget or opening up Camtasia. When you are using these tools you can select whether it captures your cursor or not so be sure to double-check that it is set to the option you want for your training video.
A nice thing about the way Snagit works is that you can select only one portion of your screen for recording so if you want to have your notes, storyboard, or script visible on the same screen, you can do that without worry that it will be displayed to your viewers along with the process you are training them on. If you are recording the audio for your video simultaneously, or want to have your speaker shown in the training video while they present, Camtasia is the program to choose.
Edit your training video
With your recording complete, you can now move your training video into the editing process! While it may seem daunting, Techsmith’s suite of products actually makes the editing process simple and effective for even a complete novice.
Editing using a template can help to speed up your work and create consistency – this is especially helpful if you are creating multiple videos or even making a video course. Templates could include a standard intro and outro, or a lower third template you can use as the base for all of the main content. Using Camtasia for your editing gives you access to a massive library of templates all ready for you to customize and use.
Adding annotations and text overlays is an effective way to make sure that the most important content in your employee training videos gets highlighted. This is helpful for both engagement and retention of the information you are providing. Using arrows and other shapes to call out items of particular importance or applying text on the screen to really drive home what the speaker is saying are great enhancements you can make through the editing process.
Engagement with training material is one thing that can help employees really get the most out of their training. You can help this along by adding unexpected or interesting components to your training video.
Animating images or text at a few spots in the video can help re-engage an employee who has transitioned to auto-pilot.
Including at least a few opportunities to see the person who is speaking can also help drive connection with the training video’s content and create a sense of familiarity and trust. You can collect footage for this easily by including your webcam in the original recording and then either including it in the duration of your finished product or just at specific times. Again – all of this magic is possible within Camtasia. Get your free trial now!
Any opportunity you have to add in an interactive detail can help you to create an engaging employee training video – it is becoming more and more of an expectation from viewers to have some part to play in their video learning experience. Quizzes, questions, or even simple instructions to move ahead to the next part of the training series can go a long way.
Don’t forget to offer your training video up for feedback at various times within this process as well – having a perspective and knowledge base different from your own can make a huge difference in the quality of your final product.
Host and distribute your training video
It’s time to get this training video made public! Or at least available to the people who need to access it.
The first step here will simply be producing the video – rendering the files in your editing software into a usable file format like .mp4. This should be your default file type for your training videos unless there is a specific reason to use a different one – for example, if your hosting platform requires a particular file type.
Once you have the file, you will need to upload it to whichever hosting platform you have selected. For free hosting, consider Youtube or Vimeo. Both of these options are easily accessible and offer private or public videos. If, however, there is information contained in the training videos which is sensitive or confidential to your company, your best option might be an internal network, existing company knowledgebase, or a password-protected page on your website.
Create a training video FAQ
An online training video, whether for employee training or customer training, is a video dedicated to educating viewers on a specific topic with the goal of teaching a skill or knowledge.
The number one thing to do to create a high-quality training video is to make sure the content is relevant and relatable. Of course, things like visual effects, music, and other enhancements help, but if the video isn’t interesting and informative, your video will fail.
Hosting is how a video is made available to viewers. YouTube and Vimeo are examples of hosting sites, but there are a number of other ways to host your video content. It’s important to choose the one that works best for you.
If you want to make your video public, I would suggest making a YouTube video. YouTube is great for learning content. However, if you want it to be available only to people at your company you can host it on your company’s help desk, knowledge base, or website.
You don’t need a lot of experience or video skills to easily create a training video. You just need a camera or screen recorder, a good microphone, and some video editing software.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.