Millions of people watch hours of video content on their computers and mobile devices every day. It is now an integral part of our lives and an accepted way to receive information and entertainment. In these uncertain times of social distancing, workplaces and schools rely more than ever on video for a variety of purposes and applications.
Some facts that show just how powerful video is to the way we live in the digital age are:
- Facebook users upload 20 million videos every month
- It would take over 5 million years to watch all of the videos that pass through IP networks globally each month
- 80% of people can recall an online video they have viewed in the past month
- Video infographics are four times more engaging than static versions
Important Facts About eLearning
Even before the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic changed the way businesses and schools operate and function, eLearning was becoming more available and acceptable for a wide range of uses and applications. Remote learning and training have shown to offer a range of benefits. Some recent statistics regarding the power and impact of eLearning include:
- Retention rates increase from 25% to 60% with eLearning training sessions compared to face-to-face rates that range from 8% to 10%
- eLearning typically reduces employee time for internal training by 40% to 60% compared to in-person education
- The market growth rate for the eLearning industry had been 900%, and that was before the COVID-19 crisis
The Future of eLearning
Working and learning remotely is not new. Before the virus forced most of the world into their homes for months at a time, some employers and school districts had experimented with eLearning for employee training and other education applications. Some schools, large companies, and government entities felt eLearning would lower productivity and foster poor working and studying habits.
Once the pandemic hit, even the most ardent opposers to eLearning had no choice and made necessary adjustments through remote learning and training. With more people adapting to and seeing the benefits of eLearning, massive international growth in training and development continues, allowing people to teach and learn from anywhere in the world with a reliable internet connection. Businesses save time and money by holding training and classes online instead of traveling to one location for in-person sessions.
All eLearning programs and systems are not the same. The following are some tips and keys to help make eLearning a positive experience for everyone involved.
Goals of eLearning
The content for eLearning and training videos can be produced in various ways, servicing a variety of goals and objectives. Common ways businesses and schools use eLearning include:
- Staff training
- Educate, inform current and potential customers
- Demonstration and explainers videos highlighting how best to use your product or service
- Customer support and troubleshooting assistance
- Increase customer happiness and satisfaction
- Hire new staff or expand staff overseas
- Increase the quality of your team
- Inspire employees to grow and excel
- Recruit outside talent
Types of eLearning
The following are among the most common forms of eLearning:
Many of the leading eLearning platforms on the market today offer adaptive learning services that cater to the individual student’s needs. The remote nature of eLearning lends itself nicely to adaptive learning principles that focus on individuality. While still in the experimental stages, adaptive eLearning is expected to continue to grow in popularity.
The principles of social eLearning take all of the elements and functions of the classroom and place them in digital formats with easy access to communications and materials. The technology is now in place to handle large virtual classrooms through online forums, chatrooms, and screen and file-sharing options. With schools and businesses all across the country flooding into digital spaces for learning and training purposes, there have been challenges and adjustments to make, but social eLearning is proving overall to be a productive, collaborative environment that encourages all voices, insights, and support.
Video has become the most accepted and accessible form of content online. Everyone with a smartphone or tablet can and does watch hours of video online every week. The information delivered through video content is far more likely to be absorbed and retained by the viewer. This makes video ideal for all kinds of learning applications.
Microlearning is the process of breaking down large projects and lessons into smaller, more manageable segments. Attention and retention are often increased when lessons are shorter and cover specific chunks of material. Two-hour video lectures segmented into four 30-minute sessions allows students to absorb the material easier and more comfortably.
As part of a series of instructional videos, Denso worked alongside Sparkhouse to create a series of videos that would help instruct and educate their customers.
It is a fact that learning is more fun when done within the context of a game. Game-based eLearning, also called gamification, offers the chance for students to apply the information from their lessons in an engaging, interactive manner.
Cell phones are no longer just for making calls, placing texts, and playing games. Mobile technology advanced to the point where just about anything that can be done on a desktop computer can also be done on a smartphone or tablet. Websites, apps, and videos adapt to smaller screens with larger texts and imaging. Phone-bases language learning sets the pace for mobile eLearning applications, and it continues to become more popular and accepted.
Learning Management Systems
In similar ways, that website administrators use content management systems to produce and manage content, eLearning management systems are used to plan and implement coursework and curriculums. Learning management systems allow users to share data and integrate all manners of materials, making it easier to create lesson plans and manage courses.
Entertainment is Key for eLearning
The key to a successful eLearning experience is how well you can engage and impact the viewing audience. If you fail to grab and keep the attention of viewers, the quality and importance of the information do not matter. The value and benefits of video are diminished if the audience is bored or disinterested in the delivery system.
The following are among the most effective ways to ensure increased engagement with your audience for eLearning uses and applications.
Growing up, your favorite teachers were the ones who were engaging and entertaining in the classroom. Even the driest information must be delivered by a host who can get the attention of their audience and keep them engaged in the content being delivered. You almost have to think of it like producing a morning news show, where you keep the energy up at all times.
Using a celebrity host for eLearning video content does not mean to go out and get Brad Pitt or Jerry Seinfeld (though that would be great). Think more along the lines of the superstars in your industry that would bring credibility and excitement to the eLearning experience. Being taught movie production from Steven Spielberg or home cooking from Gordan Ramsey would surely get your audience to take note.
Animation is an ideal way to explain complex topics in simpler terms to provide a deeper understanding of a product or service. Get inside a product and manipulate the inner workings to fully detail how it works and the finer features and functions. Depending on the length of the video and the complexities of the animation, it can be a long and costly process, yet highly effective at getting viewers to absorb and retain the information.
Example of an animation video:
Re-enactments and narrative scenes give a visual representation of the topic being discussed or taught. Recreating moments in a theatrical and dramatic fashion will be far more engaging and provide clarity for the audience. This will lead to increased retention rates among viewers.
Tell a Story
There is no better way to get an audience on your side than to tell an interesting, compelling story. Give the presentation of information at the beginning, middle, and end. Include characters, plotlines, and a storyline that carries viewers throughout the lesson or training process.
Keep It Short
Attention spans have never been shorter among audience demographics of all kinds. You have a lot of information to cover, but it is best to break it down into shorter, more easily digestible bites of content instead of trying to cover everything at once. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have gotten viewers accustomed to short video content for mobile users on the go. Make video lessons and training materials easy to view in short segments on their smartphones and other mobile devices.
Edit, Edit, Edit
The hardest thing for a video editor is to cut footage to shorten the final product. However, it is essential to edit and trim down eLearning videos to eliminate unnecessary or slow sections that will tune viewers out. Deadtime and troubleshooting technical difficulties should always be edited out to keep the program and lesson moving.
Interactivity is an important element of the eLearning process. Even though you are not in the same room as your viewers, you can still engage directly with them to keep them interested and gauge the progress of the session. If possible, open it up for questions and answer periods. Post polls or surveys to get immediate responses to see what your audience is feeling or thinking. Set up quizzes or tests between segments to make sure viewers are on track.
Tips for eLearning Success
Following these tips will help eLearning projects of all kinds succeed.
Creating an eLearning video is like any other production that needs to be mapped out with an outline, storyboard, and script. Thorough pre-production planning of all aspects of the project will ensure that all instruction and relevant information is covered.
eLearning materials need to be accessible for all forms and quality of reception—more people than are watching online video content from their smartphones and other small mobile devices. Videos used for eLearning purposes are produced and distributed to be easily viewable on smaller screens and compressed for slower connections and faster downloads.
Show Skills in Action
Showing how something works is a far more effective learning method than simply explaining it verbally or in text. Video productions are powerful tools to demonstrate products, services, and complex concepts. The medium offers a level of control and flexibility to teach and highlight solutions to specific problems and issues.
Use of Audio
Getting a clear, consistent picture is often the focus of eLearning videos and live streaming coursework. However, the quality of the audio is critical to delivering the lesson. Muffled, soft, or crackling audio can be distracting for viewers and hamper their ability to get the information they need. Invest in a decent microphone and troubleshoot any audio issues during the pre-production planning stage.
It has never been easier to accommodate those with hearing impairments. There are a wide range of tools available to help with closed captioning and subtitling eLearning video content. Having the words being said clearly presented on the screen also allows viewers to watch without the sound in situations where the volume needs to be kept low.
eLearning Videos Are More Important Than Ever
Just a short time ago, the concept of eLearning was a radical video marketing concept that some businesses and schools were resistant to in the early stages of the technology. The global health pandemic has made remote learning and schooling an essential component of maintaining educational needs and goals without in-person groups gathering.
A lesson the pandemic has taught is that eLearning can be every bit as productive and effective as in-person classroom learning for a variety of applications and uses. The technology will continue to advance as society adjusts to the ever-changing needs and trends as we go forward in these unprecedented times. Remote training and eLearning is here to stay and will only get easier to use and manage in the future.
About the Author: Torrey Tayenaka is the co-founder and CEO at Sparkhouse, an Orange County based video production agency. He is often asked to contribute expertise in publications like Entrepreneur, Single Grain and Forbes. Sparkhouse is known for transforming video marketing and advertising into real conversations. Rather than hitting the consumer over the head with blatant ads, Sparkhouse creates interesting, entertaining and useful videos that enrich the lives of his clients’ customers. In addition to Sparkhouse, Torrey has also founded the companies Eva Smart Shower, Litehouse & Forge54.