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High stakes learning: Three reasons to invest in high-impact video

This blog, written by LEO Learning’s Learning Consultant Kathryn Fleet, looks at the rise of high-impact video for elearning and its power to drive learner engagement.

“Today, more than ever before, there is a huge marketplace of high-fidelity, video-based content authored by experts.” – Josh Bersin [1]

L&D investment in video is on the rise – in terms of both quantity and the quality. Corroborating Josh Bersin’s findings in the HR Technology Disruptions Report, Fosway Group’s Digital Learning Realities Research cites video as the top digital content growth area in the European L&D market [2].

Yet the same report suggests that only 55% of respondents are happy with the quality of their video content. We can speculate as to the reasons for this disparity but it may be because investment tends to be made at the lower end of the production-values scale.

We’ve become accustomed to the lo-fi, do-it-yourself(ie) videos that proliferate YouTube. And some might argue this has increased our tolerance for out-of-focus visuals and distorted audio.

At the same time, we’ve seen an upsurge in big-screen-quality small-screen productions. HBO, Netflix and Amazon Prime have us addicted to the brand of ‘original series’ box-set TV that boasts award-winning artistry, Hollywood writer-directors and compelling A-lister performances. TV is also increasingly (though experimentally) interactive, from voice-activated menus to viewer participation in the storyline (see HBO’s Mosaic [3] series).

High-impact video with a low-impact budget

The truth is that there is a place in L&D for all types of video, from the quick-and-dirty to the three-camera location shoot. There are a vast range of techniques and tools available and each has correspondent levels of investment. What you need is an experienced supplier that can help you to determine which route is the best for achieving your outcomes.

LEO Learning can help you to meet the high expectations of the binge-watching generation without paying a Netflix price-tag. Impressive results are possible with a limited but gifted cast, carefully selected locations and a two-person crew consisting of a talented director and quality lighting cameraperson (who is versatile enough to double as Audio Recordist).

Where it is worth investing both time and money is in an accomplished screenwriter – someone who understands character, conflict, narrative and how to build audience identification. Finally, a skilled editor can inject the desired level of pace and tension into the piece to make it a riveting watch. That’s why LEO Learning has a dedicated Moving Image Division.

Three high-stakes reasons to invest in high-impact video

Here are three high-stakes reasons for investing in high-impact video for elearning.

1) High-impact video for highly sensitive content

Sensitive content needs to be addressed in contexts such as corporate responsibility, safeguarding vulnerable people or cultural awareness. Well-crafted, high-impact video is a powerful tool for challenging prevailing attitudes or questioning personal judgements. It enables a deep understanding of hard-hitting issues through its ability to engender empathy by drawing the viewer into someone else’s world.

What to use: Fictionalised docu-dramas and emotionally-charged first-person stories that encourage reflection.

Example: LEO Learning partnered with the Education and Training Foundation to create an interactive resource about radicalisation and extremism as part of the DfE’s Prevent Duty Strategy [4]. This was the first resource to be aimed at young people in post-16 education (rather than educators and trainers). The tone and authenticity of the piece was critical to its acceptance, particularly as it was designed to alert young people to the tactics involved in grooming and told through the eyes of two vulnerable peers.

A still from the ETF & LEO Learning high-impact video project

A still from the Education and Training Foundation interactive resource

2) High-impact video for high-risk environments

Where safety is imperative, video has a vital role to play in simulating high-risk environments. Industries such as aviation, oil and gas and mining as well as services such as defence, the police and the NHS all face potential hazards that could be life threatening. High-impact video immerses learners in settings that would otherwise be too perilous for training purposes. The ‘safe place to fail’ is never more essential than in these situations.

What to use: Broadcast-length mini-drama or immersive 360-degree video that provides a visceral, first-person experience.

A still from LEO Learning's high-impact video for Anglo American

A still from the Anglo American: Zero harm drama video

Example: Anglo American: Zero harm – Health and safety is of paramount importance in the mining industry and something that Anglo American always strives to improve. To support them, LEO Learning filmed a broadcast-length drama taking a dive deep into the contributing factors in safety incidents, creating an immersive, emotional and human story. It unfolds through an accident investigation that is told from multiple perspectives.

Example: 360-degree interactive video: LEO Learning demo – Immersion can be intensified through 360-degree video. This example showcases several uses of the technique. However, its application in the context of recreating convincing, hazardous environments is evident. The real impact comes from viewing this form of filming with VR headsets, which are increasingly affordable.

A still from a LEO Learning 360 video demo - high-impact video

Try the LEO Learning 360 video demo here (Use the directional arrows in the top left corner or click and drag the image to move around the scene.)

3) High-impact video for a high-priority strategy

The issues underlying the need for large-scale organisational change are often complex and systemic. Video drama is one of the few mediums that is capable of handling the subtlety and nuance required to deconstruct these problems convincingly by capturing the multi-faceted root causes.

What to use: Decision-based drama that enables learners to explore different outcomes with an expert deconstruction of their choices.

High-impact video: a wise investment for your learning

Commission drama judiciously and you’ll make a wise investment. Use high-end video for high-stakes learning where it will deliver real impact, rather than a forgettable experience in which the only ‘high’ is learner attrition.

Shooting some high-impact video

To find out how LEO Learning can help you use high-impact video to revolutionise learning and development in your organisation, contact us today.

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Additional sources

[1] John Bersin: HR Technology Disruptions Report (2018), p 20. 

[2] The Fosway Group: Digital Learning Realities Research (2018).

77% of the 1,100 organisations that responded are investing in video and planning to invest further. 

[3] Mosaic: Dir by Steven Soderberg (January 2018) is an HBO production of an interactive murder mystery with TV, app and desktop-based versions that allow the viewer to create their own version of the narrative.

[4] Department for Education Prevent Duty Guidance (August 2015).