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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

To video it or not to video it, that is the question.

I believe that there is great value in media, especially video. With the ability of today's smart phones and tablets to access and deliver video nearly anywhere, the opportunities to provide instruction at the convenience of the learner is staggering.

There are, as there always are, problems inherent in this method of training. Some of them are solvable, some of them not.

One problem I have witnessed is the length of video. Video that is too long will lose the interest of the learner. Too short and the lesson cannot be shared. How to solve this problem is fundamental to a successful training. In my experience 5 minutes should be the limit you set on a video, especially one designed to be viewed on its own. I am guilty of breaking this rule, but it is a good one.

If you cannot deliver the information in less time than that, chunking is a great option. Breaking the video into digestible amounts. This also allows the learner to skip to a part that they find more useful. If you cannot chunk it, reconsider the video option.

Another problem with video as instruction is the understanding of the student. Complicated material can be difficult to understand if the pacing of the video is too fast. On the other hand, too slow and the learner will, again lose interest. To complicate this problem every learner has different needs and what one sees as too slow another sees as too fast.

The solution? That depends, smaller chunks with replay might work. I have often used a pause with questions in classrooms and WBTs. This is not the solution for stand alone videos however.

Video has a great potential to help the student see how something is done, to illustrate how to interact with clients and customers, but it needs to be part of a larger training solution.