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Top tips to creating engaging learning videos

Want to motivate and inspire your learners? In our latest blog on making the most of learning videos, Frank McCabe, LEO Learning’s Executive Producer of Moving Image, offers a few top tips.

Learning videos are an excellent way to achieve the Holy Grail of learner engagement and create memorable, original learning. While we know that the popularity and marketplace for video learning is greater than ever, that doesn’t always translate into organisations making the most of the opportunities that video learning provides.

Learners expect slick video learning experiences in a world where the likes of YouTube and Netflix have made high-quality drama instantly accessible and addictive. One of the main benefits of video learning, too, is its capacity to provide bite-sized learning – which means your learning videos need to be short and impactful.

So how can your organisation capitalise and create long-lasting learning content that captures the imagination? Here are a few pointers to ensure your learning video are a hit.

A photo of a film crew in a home making learning videos

1) Learning videos: collaborate without compromising

It’s very easy to approach a shoot with a personal (and often quite narrow) viewpoint, but this isn’t a good approach to take, given the number of skillsets and perspectives involved in film and video production. Try to constantly broaden your vision, bearing in mind a wide range of collaborators. For example, on a typical shoot these might include:

  • Actors
  • Writers
  • Technicians
  • Lighting experts
  • And last but not least – the client!

The stereotype of a somewhat dictatorial director, sitting in a chair and pointing at people, is completely wide of the mark. In reality, the film shoot environment is far from autocratic, and the director provides a central point of collusion, finding a solution that keeps everyone happy.

A good director will define the effect you want to achieve and your priorities. They will encourage constant collaboration while guaranteeing that the quality of the end result is never compromised. The director’s decision has to be final, but they draw together the input of all parties involved, mixing all the different priorities and areas of expertise to create the best possible collective outcome.

A photo of a film crew in a home making learning videos

2) Preparation, preparation, preparation

Time on shoots is incredibly precious, with a number of impinging factors, as well as the inevitability of things not always going completely to plan. That’s why you can’t really do too much preparation in the build up to creating learning videos.

Making mistakes on the days you shoot, which tend to be intensive anyway, can be painfully inefficient and costly. However, minimising these factors in advance can save a huge amount of time – particularly when shoots tend to be complicated.

Keen, precise advance planning is essential if you strongly want to shoot a scene in a certain way to achieve learning, meaning or dramatic impact. When the concept is complicated and time is limited, discussing your approach with five actors on the day could take up the entire time allocated for the shoot.

That said, it’s important to ensure rigorous advance planning doesn’t mean you dismiss options that come to light in the moment. Let new ideas occur to you in the space you’re in, with the people you’re with. This might mean shooting in a different place or changing the people in a scene. With an experienced video production team like LEO Learning’s, you can start to spot potential problems before they happen, and make the right decisions when the cameras arrive.

A photo of a film crew in a home making learning videos

3) The learning message is golden in learning videos

Although our work with clients often produces a number of fantastic ideas about how a scene or storyline might be shot, the flame of inspiration can only burn if it serves the overall learning message. Sometimes, a simpler idea becomes a cleaner, clearer option. Drama-based learning videos can be very effective, but it’s also very easy to drift away from the core mission of the learning when devising them.

Creating a Jason Bourne-type movie can be tempting – and, sometimes, a thrilling, all-action style works – but it’s not necessarily the right answer. Always try to choose the approach that communicates your learning messages most accurately and engagingly.

A photo of a film crew in a home making learning videos

4) Learning videos need a compelling story

Irrespective of the subject of a film, people will watch it if it contains all the elements of a good story. Conversely, if you don’t provide your viewers with a story, your video learning instantly becomes dull. What’s the narrative of your video learning? If there isn’t one, it’s a sure sign that the learning will be tedious. When you’re working in two-minute chunks, creating a great story also heightens the need to work economically and not over-complicate proceedings.

One way to begin this process is to compile a few key bullet points and conduct unscripted interviews with L&D managers about them. These points can be woven together within a story, allowing the ideas to develop in a connected way.

The value of this point means everything to your learning, and it also requires expertise in knowing what proper storytelling is. Three events that happen to someone in a day don’t equate to a story, and nor do a series of beautifully presented points combined with a voiceover.

A photo of a film crew in a home making learning videos

However, a film of an employee who has an idea, pushes it out to their colleagues, overcomes obstacles along the way, gradually wins their belief and ultimately triumphs has all the makings of a great story. It might not be a blockbuster, but there’s a journey to it, unfolding a tale with a winning sense of momentum.

Thinking of joining the wide range of organisations who are using video learning to enhance their success? LEO Learning’s highly creative in-house department can help. Contact us today to find out more.

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Images: JIMPIX