Creating great educational content is one thing. However, creating videos that contribute to improving an organization’s performance is a different ball game entirely.
So, how can educators create better videos and educational content that contribute to business outcomes?
This is the main topic of this episode of The Visual Lounge, where award-winning author and Workplace Performance Strategist, Ajay Pangarkar, joins Matt Pierce for a deep dive discussion about understanding the business outcomes when making videos.
Ajay is a fellow of the Certified Professional Accountants and certified training and development professional. He has published three books with his partner Teresa Kirkwood including ‘The Trainer’s Balanced Scorecard.’ In this post, he shares top tips and insights into why it is essential to understand the business of learning, especially if you’re not a “professional business person.”
You can watch the video on this topic at the top of this post. To listen to the podcast episode, hit play below, or read on for more…
Why you need to understand the business of learning
Understanding the concepts of business is fundamental for learning professionals for a variety of reasons. As a learning professional, you are more relevant to the organization than you might think. Many people don’t realize that learning should be one of the top five preoccupations of business leaders.
Ajay emphasizes that business leaders always want to know how any function that supports the business will improve the organization’s overall performance.
“You need to prove to the business leaders that your function is contributing to the business output.”
No matter what courses you develop or videos you create, you must ensure that they bring value to the organization. Not only that, but you have to prove that your learning resources will actively help move the business further in the direction it needs to go.
Why learning professionals struggle to grasp the business aspect
Ajay understands that not all learning professionals are business or financial experts, and that’s okay. You are an expert in the subject that you teach. However, you must have some literacy knowledge.
“You need to understand the business function. You don’t need to be an expert in it. You just need to know how the parts work together and fit together.”
Remember that there are experts within the organization to learn more from about the areas where you lack knowledge and insight.
Another struggle that many learning professionals face when trying to understand the business side of things is the language. You must ensure that you use appropriate language when talking to business leaders.
Formally educated business professionals use specific terminologies that must be respected. So, when conversing with business professionals and leaders, communicate in a way that they understand. In other words, remember to speak their language.
Why you must be open to gaining more knowledge from others
As a learning professional, you are already an expert in your craft or field of learning. But, how can you learn from others in the business?
Ajay offered advice on this, including taking a standard instructor-led training session, an eLearning course, or simply reaching out to others within the organization. Every project needs resources, and those resources require the expertise of other people. Suppose an organization wants to implement a new IT system. In that case, they will bring in IT experts to show them how it works and how it fits within the organization’s existing ecosystem of technology.
You also have to keep money in mind. Companies have scarce monetary resources, and no matter how big or successful the company is, money is always a limited resource. This means that organizations have to make strategic decisions and only spend money to add value to the business.
“When you’re building this, you have to build a case that proves the fact that you’re going to drive value for the money you’re asking for, so bring in the finance people to talk to you about that… It’s about total communication.”
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of approaching others and asking for help, you need to change your perspective. Ajay stresses that asking questions and learning from others is the only way you can learn.
“Once we learn and get to the root cause, we can build more substantial value for the organization.“
How to convince leaders to say yes
One of the aspects of a business that learning professionals struggle with is convincing leaders to say yes to your learning course, videos, or training. Business leaders are the ones making the big decisions within an organization, so you’ve got to know how to make them see and believe in the value of the education you provide.
Since businesses have limited resources, they will say no to things they believe will not add value to the organization. Ajay shared some interesting insights on this topic and even states that when business leaders say no, they don’t want to say no. However, they do want justification for why they can say yes.
You must prove that what you’re offering provides value and solves their pain issues. When communicating the value of learning to business leaders, you must focus on how your learning can bring the business closer to its objectives and goals.
“Learning is not a shining object on a hill that has to be recognized. It is something that’s embedded in the culture, within the environment that is invisible. It’s something that they take for granted, but it’s always there.”
You could show them how your learning can impact revenue, employee morale, productivity, and so on. However, it would help if you didn’t focus solely on the financial value of your training or learning.
In Ajay’s book, The Trainer’s Balanced Scorecard, he talks about the performance management framework within organizations. He explores why you must emphasize the impact of your learning on other key metrics and KPI’s.
“Competition is so fierce. It’s not just about the financials. They look at what they call leading indicators. A lot of these leading indicators are what we call non-tangible. Things like the goodwill, customer satisfaction, all this kind of stuff are very hard to measure.”
If you can prove that your learning can help improve the organization’s leading metrics, you will find it so much easier to convince business leaders to say yes.
“Leaders know that if we do right by those metrics, the results will fulfill themselves.”
What is LinkedIn Learning?
LinkedIn Learning is a library of knowledge from credible industry experts, including Ajay. You can access over 16 courses in seven different languages.
Ajay highly recommends LinkedIn learning to anyone who wants to develop their skills in their chosen fields or even those who want to dip their toes in a new industry.
Ajay’s courses mainly focus on learning and development, such as developing practical success metrics for your learning development.
How to write great scripts
Whenever Ajay creates a new video, he authors a script beforehand with help from his producer, who helps tighten them. One thing to understand when it comes to scriptwriting is that it’s not the same as writing a formal article. Scriptwriting is more conversational, and you essentially have to write like you talk, which often goes against what we’re taught in school.
Writing in a more conversational style is something that Ajay has been working on over the last three years. Essentially, he has learned to write how he talks, which is vital when crafting a great script.
To get a better idea of how this works, try turning one of your own videos into a transcript using a transcription service. That transcript is the script, and you’ll notice how it reads like a conversation. Ajay finds this conversational writing style very refreshing and is even using it in other forms of writing such as articles and blog posts, etc.
“You write that way where you speak as if you are talking in a conversation. To me, that’s been so refreshing because I’m trying to push my articles in that direction… I’ve been very focused on a more conversational approach as if I’m talking to you as a friend. I think that’s so refreshing that we don’t have to follow the rules.”
“I think that’s really the one change that really improved my writing over time.”
To learn more about the business side of making videos and educational content, check out our free resources over on the TechSmith Academy.