Why learning videos also need text-based documents

Image and text are powerful mediums, but when they’re together in a seamless digital context, it provides incredible creative possibilities to deliver learning. This is why learning video need supporting documents to enrich learner experience.

Whilst video is an effective learning tool  that allows us to deliver a controlled, emotive, engaging  (hopefully!) and even entertaining learning experiences; it does have constraints too.

Over the last four years I have produced online videos with major brands right across to sole traders, and there’s a very interesting engagement factor with online video that every L&D practitioner needs to be aware of: time.

How long should a video be?

This time>quality>engagement factor warrants a more in-depth blog that will come in the near future, but it’s relevant here.

The fact is that whilst people will sit in front of a TV or a computer to watch broadcast content, the majority of people will begin to zone out of an online video between  90 to 180 seconds. This is primarily because their attention is being pulled in different ways with all the other things they’ve come to their computer for: email, Facebook, Twitter, news, reading my blog (or not!), and to laugh at pictures of cats.

Whenever I get a video brief for online or social media, it’s pretty standard that it says no longer than 90 seconds. There is a case to go beyond this though depending on how ‘invested’ the viewer is in what you have to say  – but the amount of time isn’t important here (and will come in another blog) – it’s simply the issue that people expect short videos when they’re on a computer or mobile device (arguably even more so if the latter).

From a video production point of view, this raises the question of how much learning content can be crammed into a video. There are certain videos where you can absolutely deliver the entire learning  throughout the video (how to’s are great for this and YouTube is proof), but from an L&D perspective, we want to make sure that learners are not just served a video, but the resources to drill down, repeat, note take, and perhaps even search.

This is why supporting documents are important. At See Learning, the majority of our clients embed video on Moodle and so there is always that blend of video and text.

Learning videos are assets. When you’ve had one produced, think of ways the learner could gain more from a supporting document. Make sure that document is designed in context to the video, and if the document is going to go beyond the video-based learning, make sure it also reinforces the points made in the video too.





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