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Using interactive video as part of your learning and development (L&D) strategy

schedule 1 month, 1 week, 2 days by Hannah Gorton in Virtual College

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By 2020, internet video will account for 79% of global internet traffic, according to a report by Cisco. This isn’t surprising considering how popular they are with millennials and digital natives. For instance, 80% of millennials refer to videos when trying to research, purchase something or make a decision. According to Alexa, YouTube is the second most visited site on the web; it’s arguably the second biggest search engine, after Google.

With more millennials and digital natives entering the workplace, it makes sense that video in e-learning has become increasingly popular. However, video as a learning tool can be quite passive and people tend to get bored or distracted if they have to watch videos that are too long. So how can we utilise the popularity of videos whilst making the experience active and engaging? By using interactive videos.

What are interactive videos?

Interactive videos are videos which allow some sort of interaction, such as a click or touch, in order to trigger an action. This action could be revealing more information, asking a question, giving the user feedback or jumping to other sections/videos in the content.

They build on the typical multisensory experience of digital video with visual and auditory stimuli, however, they also create the need for a response. This requires an input from the viewer and, therefore, a higher level of engagement.

How can they be used in L&D?

Statistics reveal that 47% of viewers watch a video to the end, which means that 53% don’t finish watching. This is problematic, as viewers could potentially miss the key message. With interactive videos, however, viewers are able to actively engage with the subject matter and, as such, are more likely to absorb the information.

Unlike typical videos, interactive videos can also capture data about how the viewer interacts with the content. This can be used to monitor the personal development, performance and training requirements of employees when accessed through a learning management system (LMS). Here are five ways to utilise interactive videos as part of an L&D strategy:

1. To support ‘just-in-time’ learning

In order to support their development, relevant learning should be available on demand and accessible for when employees need it. Providing short bursts of digital content in the form of interactive videos can enable employees to access information anywhere, any time and at any pace - particularly useful for those who learn using mobile technology.

2. To show multiple outcomes

Interactive videos allow viewers to control what happens next and see the outcome of their decisions. This permits branching, choices and consequences, and enables employees to be in the middle of the action, driving their own experience. This example from the BBC uses multiple outcomes to show the difficult decisions soldiers had to make during World War I and their possible repercussions.

3. For further information or clarification

Hotspots and pop-ups can be incorporated into a video to highlight important aspects, point out best/incorrect practice, bring up further information, ask questions or jump to other sections. A good example of this is Stagework’s ‘A Conversation with Sir Ian McKellen’, where Sir Ian McKellen discusses Richard III and Shakespeare based on questions which can be selected in any order.

4. To show multiple perspectives

Giving employees the opportunity to experience different points of view in real-life situations can help them to see how their actions affect other people, promoting a higher awareness of their role and empathy towards coworkers or customers. Multiple perspectives can also be used to provide personalised experiences, so employees can go through learning tailored to their role. This example, developed by the UK Resuscitation Council as a way to educate viewers about CPR, handles this extremely well.

5. To implement some game elements

Interactive video can also offer some aspects of gamification within a disciplined and consistent learning experience. The content of the video can promote the key message, but the interaction can offer a fun twist, like this example by Rapt Media and Warner Bros.

If you’re looking to enhance your L&D strategy, click here to find out more about Virtual College’s bespoke and custom e-learning solutions.


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Hannah Gorton Author

Author: Hannah Gorton

Hannah is a content writer for the marketing team at Virtual College. She has a degree in English literature and writes articles and blog posts for a range of topics within the learning industry. In her spare time she enjoys reading, knitting and gaming.

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