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How to Make Effective Training Videos

ByAndre Oentoro,
business.com writer
|
Nov 25, 2019
Sushiman / Gettty Images
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Learn to make training videos more engaging and interesting with visuals, duration, content, branding and intention.

Training videos are effective tools for communicating information to an audience who are learning about a specific subject. The audience can range from employees or curious individuals who are looking to expand their skill set. 

Training videos can be a stand-alone tool or a part of a training module. They are available online and can be accessed anywhere. However, sometimes these videos can come off as boring or even cheesy. This results in ineffective learning and even worse, the message the video is trying to deliver isn’t received and the viewer is left baffled. 

What makes a bad training video? We’ve heard countless people say those lousy instructional videos from the 90's as an example. Let’s not forget the stiff acting and cringe-worthy lines; not to mention, unclear instructions. We now know what to avoid.

What makes a training video good? Take Melbourne Metro Trains’ video for raising awareness for train safety for example. You might’ve heard of the Dumb Ways to Die video. Train safety sounds like a pretty mundane subject so how can Metro get their point across about safety without the audience taking a snooze?

They decided to make a weird, yet pretty scary video to promote train safety. In the end, the catchy video ended up generating $50 million in free ads, contributed a 30% reduction in “near-miss accidents,” and went viral. 

Although there are several things that make it good, here are some simple elements to keep in mind when making effective training videos.

Visuals

Research shows that people are able to retain information from visuals or graphics in their long term memory in a much more effective way than written or spoken information. A study showed that individuals are only able to retain 10-20% of written or spoken information whereas they were able to remember 65% of visual information after three days.

When we read information, there’s a high possibility we’d forget what we read in an instant. This is called regression and happens mostly when we read written text.

If you want to make an effective training video, don’t forget to utilize visuals in the video. Believe it or not, it makes all the difference. 

Our attention spans are dropping and there’s really not much we can do about it. Living in the age of instant gratification does that and we need to adapt to the change.

So, adjusting your content marketing strategy to meet your customers’ expectations can do wonders for your campaign. Visuals in videos not only attract attention, but they are able to retain it. 

Our eyes are also attracted to movement so naturally, videos draw people’s attention. According to research, video ads interest people more than a static ad.

Duration

Most people don’t watch videos that are longer than 5-10 minutes unless it’s a movie or they’re really immersed in the topic. Keeping your video short and sweet can do wonders. Instead of opting for long videos, go with short ones that emphasize important points. 

By keeping it short, the message you’re delivering will be received and you’ll be saved from your audience snoozing off. 

No one has the time to commit to a 10-minute video even if you have a lot of useful information. The key is to get your point across in the beginning because that’s when everyone is truly paying attention.

Avoid clickbait and respect your viewers by keeping the video to a maximum of 3 minutes. Some users tend to close the video when they find that the title and the content don’t match or the duration is too long and the video is full of rambling.

Although it’s a good technique to catch your audience’s attention, you should always put them first and consider the duration of your video.

Content

Remember to create content that the learner (your audience) needs. Make sure that the content you’re creating is relevant to what the audience needs to perform a task, tells a story, and is easy to understand by viewers. 

Your content plays a huge part and it should always focus on the person watching it. Making a video that doesn’t pique anyone’s interest or even worse, serves no purpose.

It’s important to research what your audience is interested in and what they want instead of what you think they want. Oftentimes, content creators think their idea is the best without considering what the audience would think of it. 

Lastly, don’t forget to make it memorable. This can be done by repeating key points in different ways — visually, audibly or a story.

In the end, the audience should be able to perform a task they were learning about. The end goal of a training video is to help people learn or do something. Although it’s important to be aesthetically pleasing, functionality and clarity matter more.

Branding

Another element to have for having an effective training video is distinct branding. You don’t have to be fancy with intricate thumbnails. However, it’s important the audience recognizes your video when they see it.

It would be a pity to create an awesome video and have people forget where it came from because it didn’t have your branding on it.

We’re not saying to put a huge logo on every video, but having a signature style of design should be essential. If you’re doing a presentation with slides, using the brand’s color scheme or logos in certain areas would be great. 

Whether it be certain presenters, a signature style of animation, or company colors, the audience should feel like they belong when they watch your training video. Remember to not go overboard and keep it subtle. This can be a challenge.

Intention

What is the goal you want to achieve with the training video? Your video may be well made with visuals and great audio but if it doesn’t have a purpose, then it probably won’t do a good job at explaining.

Know the objectives of the video. For example, you want the audience to differentiate between what’s the right or wrong way to perform a task. Sometimes cinematic techniques aren’t needed to show this.

You can turn to simple techniques to communicate your message. This means, using a linear sequence such as consecutive steps that advance according to the audience’s understanding.

Avoid abstract sequences or concepts that may confuse the audience. Sometimes functionality needs to come before aesthetics. 

You need to remember to put the objective of the video as a top priority. Secondly, make sure that the steps or the message you’re trying to convey are illustrated clearly so people can understand. 

Making an effective video doesn’t have to be difficult and you don’t need all kinds of expensive equipment. It just takes some research, getting to know your audience, and investing in a solid script and concept. 

With these five elements, any training video will definitely be effective. So now that you have a rough idea of what elements make a good training video, it’s time to start brainstorming.

Andre Oentoro
Andre Oentoro
See Andre Oentoro's Profile
Founder of Breadnbeyond, an award winning explainer video company. He helps business increase conversion rates, close more sales and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order). Twitter: @breadnbeyond Email: andre@breadnbeyond.com LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreoentoro/
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