How to get started with video learning

Author: PM editorial | Date: 19 Oct 2016

Classroom-based training can be expensive but there are plenty of alternatives

If you wanted to learn how to cook something new, or master an unfamiliar household task, it would be second nature to go online and find someone who could demonstrate the answer.
 
That’s why YouTube, the go-to home of online video, is now the world’s second biggest search engine. But too often, employees who use video learning in their personal lives are stuck with one-dimensional manuals or time-consuming training courses when they get to work.
 
That’s changing, albeit slowly. An independent report by Gess Dubai says the e-learning market in the Middle East will increase to $560.7 million in 2016 – up from $378 million in 2011.
 
Much of that can be attributed to the power of video learning. Tony Glass, vice president and general manager EMEA at Skillsoft, says he has seen a definite acceleration in video-formatted learning over the last few years. “There are a host of factors and trends that have contributed to this, such as the influx of millennials into the workplace, better connectivity through continuous innovation in technology, the adoption of mobile learning apps and an increase in the breadth and depth of content coverage,” he says.
 
And with training and development budgets often the first to be squeezed, many organisations are choosing to forgo expensive classroom-based training and offer video-based learning instead, whether it’s created by a professional provider, managed in-house or uploaded by individual employees.
 
Sue Carruthers, HR director EMEA at video provider Polycom, says delivering training sessions with video can help bring down delivery cost per head: “HR leads or trainers can record sessions and make them available on a company portal alongside other related content, allowing all employees – whether they attended the session or not – to watch when they have time to do so,” she says.
 
“The content could range from simple topics such as how to change a drill part on a machine, all the way through to global IT challenges. The scope is endless,” adds Glass.
 
Andy Lancaster, head of L&D content at the CIPD, notes that employees are increasingly developing learning content to share with their peers, often on a closed company YouTube channel or intranet. “For younger people who follow video blogs, it is natural for them to be working in this way. Those coming into the workplace now will be far more familiar with user-generated content,” he says.
 
“Organisations need to recognise that this type of social peer-learning is going on already and some of it goes on under the radar. It is just having the confidence to provide a process and a means by which those videos can be captured and shared.”
 
There are, of course, some areas of learning where peer-contributed video simply won’t work – in compliance training or heavily regulated industries, for example. There are also issues around quality control. But for Lancaster, that simply demonstrates that L&D professionals should be at the heart of the process, helping guide and advise learners along the way.
 
But despite the increasing use and merits of video learning, Glass sounds a note of caution – it might not always be the best medium available: “It’s imperative that the content is engaging, powerful and impactful, along with ensuring it is relevant and targeted towards user requirements.”