Produced for Skylark Media Group
“Companies have been creating corporate training videos for as long as there has been readily available access to video cameras and VCRs, so about the early 1980s. Even earlier, some organizations, such as the military in WWII, already had a history of creating films for training,” comments David Mallon, Principal Analyst, at research and consulting firm Bersin & Associates in Oakland, CA.
“More recently, it has become much easier for the employee to create video, so companies such as British Telecom, Black & Decker and The Cheesecake Factory (and many others) are creating internal YouTube-type channels as places for employees to share best practices,” he continued.
The use of video in corporate learning has changed and developed since its introduction. In the 1970s-80s companies used video or audio tapes to aid and extend learning. The first IBM PC was introduced in the early eighties and revolutionised the corporate learning plan as this lead to computer based training (CBT) courses within a company. In the 1990s and 2000s, we saw the introduction of e-learning. Here content changed into web-based training (WBT) but with it brought technical problems such as slow and unreliable internet connections, thus preventing its progress. In the late 2000s, companies produced blended learning where traditional learning methods and the use of video and WBT were combined.
What video brings to the corporate world?
Most of us are exposed to video in our personal lives – the TV we watch in our spare time or online video we snack on. All of this video is aimed at enhancing our enjoyment, to better explain what is happening and to keep us engaged. The use of video in a corporate learning environment is no different. Questions a learning and development manager needs to ask is… will it benefit my employees performance and ultimately… what are the benefits to my company?
Mark Berthelemy, author of www.learningconversations.co.uk, is a Solutions Architect for a large UK-based business process outsourcing company. He said: “Video is one of the primary means by which people learn today. Using well-crafted video or animation within an e-learning programme allows us to illustrate key points or provide realistic scenarios that would take hundreds of words to describe otherwise.”
David Mallon also authors Bersin & Associates Learning on the Leading Edge blog and is author of the recently-released industry study, Virtual Classrooms: Facts, Practical Analysis, Trends and Provider Comparisons. He said: “People are just naturally more easily and instantly engaged by the human face and voice. As a result, the use of video, as well as audio, voice over IP and collaboration tools can help bridge the gap between self-paced e-learning and face-to-face instructor-led training. For product training, instructors may use a video camera to demonstrate the use of the product. When used as part of a virtual classroom for management or other soft-skills training, video can help facilitate student interactions in breakout rooms.”
Some of the benefits associated with video as part of e-learning include:
immediate visual feedback
green and sustainable learning
supportive of Web 2.0
providing support for different learning styles – such as audio and visual learners.
The possible downsides
Like many ideas that are still in the development process, there are some downsides to this industry tool, Mark commented: “The question of hosting video and bandwidth is always an issue. Corporate IT departments are always wary of anything that will increase the load on their networks. Similarly, many corporate PCs still come without sound cards, and some even lack the ability to play Flash video.”
David said: “If you’re creating produced video, even on-the-fly, you’ll need additional tools and skill sets. If it is employee-generated video, then you need to address content stewardship (accuracy, business alignment, privacy, risk, etc.) issues and perhaps moderation. Also, video – if it is used gratuitously – actually can be distracting.”
What has changed- video today, tomorrow and beyond
Although video is becoming increasingly easy to produce as time goes on, it is still a difficult task to get right and could lead to potentially disastrous results if executed incorrectly. Cameras and editing software are becoming more affordable and much more user friendly, an aspect that may be overlooked by learning development managers thus resulting in poor quality, inaccurate and essentially useless video. “The thing that has changed recently is the decreasing importance of highly-produced, professional video. While those projects are still created for things like onboarding and major product releases, there is an overall democratization of video occurring due to what we’ll call the YouTube effect, or the Flip camera effect. It is much easier for the learning organization to create and use video, so they are using it more and in more places.” David added.
Mark said: “There is much more use of user-generated video, using closed systems like Jambok or the Wisetail Learning Ecosystem. Examples include Cash America and BT’s Dare to Share project.”
From its introduction in the 70s to the use of blended learning today, video is constantly changing and developing. New ideas are being explored around the globe, from the learning development department of the multi-million-pound organisations to the managing director of the SME. The use of video in a commercial learning environment has gone from strength to strength and continues to grow. Video today has become readily accessible on any budget but the quality and effectiveness of all corporate learning video is still questionable. One thing is for certain, we can expect to see more changes in the future.