Creating video learning: feel the fear & do it anyway

Ady Howes explains why inhouse video creation is so important for L&D, and encourages practitioners to dive in and start filming.

“Ultimately, video creation skills are great to have and every L&D team now needs them. Be the person in the team who has them.”

Almost five billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day, with over 30 million people visiting the platform daily. These stats are mind boggling and there’s plenty more of them, showing just how big video is now. People use video all the time, both in and out of work, to find and share what they learn.

It’s been a popular learning tool for longer than you might think. Forbes did some research back in 2010 (light years in tech time) which found that:

  • 75% of senior executives were watching work-related videos on business-related websites.
  • 52% were watching videos on YouTube at least once a week, and they were sharing the nuggets they found with colleagues too.

Why is it so popular? The very nature of video – being visual and audial too – means it captures and holds people’s attention. It’s also a great learning resource: it’s a very immediate, accessible way for people to find and share information. Increasing numbers of people say they prefer it to plain text, for these reasons.

So what does this mean for learning and development (L&D)? It means L&D has to ‘think video’ – and to a large extent it already is. L&D is making really good use of video to both connect people with information and knowledge and to share it around organisations. For example, getting subject matter experts to post a five minute video about a topic.

Getting to grips with video skills

It’s a great idea for L&D to get involved in video creation – the planning, filming and editing. Lots of L&D teams outsource video to external suppliers but it’s such a massive learning resource, it makes sense for L&D professionals to be able to do at least some of it themselves.

Learning even a little about video production will increase your understanding of what’s involved and what’s possible for your budget. As with any kind of learning tool, the design and delivery is always best when L&D has first-hand knowledge and experience to inform the output.  

L&D also needs to boost its digital capabilities. Digital is critical and video is part of that, so L&D will be missing a trick if it outsources video completely and doesn’t learn how to do the basics.

No budget, no problem

You don’t have to have a swish video editing suite – ad hoc videos are just as popular as the most sophisticated versions. Five to 10 minute videos featuring people from around the business, created to share internally, can easily be created on a smartphone. And this only requires two people – the interviewee and the person taking the video. When speed is of the essence, it’s handy if L&D can create video themselves.

That said, I find that even well-equipped and knowledgeable L&D teams need a bit of external help sometimes, particularly in areas such as graphics and animations. So it might be a case of doing some of it in house and outsourcing some of it to specialists.

As ever, budget can be the deciding factor. Some organisations have zero budget for this kind of thing, in which case L&D really does need to have the skills in house. Or perhaps budget is limited, so suppliers are tasked with certain elements of the video process and L&D manages the rest. L&D teams need to work out what they can and what they can’t manage themselves.

Video creation is a very marketable skill

Video production and editing are really useful and marketable skills and they’re easy to pick up. Think about what’s involved in the process and what capabilities are required. How do you make sure the picture and sound quality are good? How do you set up and plan videos for maximum effect? What kind of software is out there and what are the best, most relevant ones for your needs? These are topics that I often mentor people on.

It’s not just the technical stuff that is important though – content creation is also about establishing a good rapport with the person being interviewed, asking the right questions, ensuring there is a good flow. There’s a lot of skill around writing, constructing key messaging and audience engagement too.

Ultimately, video creation skills are great to have and every L&D team now needs them. Be the person in the team who has them.

Here are some tips on getting started with creating video learning:

Think about how you will use video – The best videos are those that set out with purpose. Spend some time thinking about the purpose of video in your organisation. What might those videos contain? How might they help? Why will video be of benefit?

Talk to others about video – There are probably others in your organisation that are interested in video. Talk to them. Maybe there is some collaboration of skills you can do? Talk to others outside your organisation too. What are they doing? How are they developing their knowledge of video?

Find out about the tools – If you’re looking to get your sleeves rolled up with filming and editing, you will need to find out about tools. These days everyone has a smartphone in their pocket. Have you played and experimented with it? Did you know you can buy tripods, microphones and lights for smartphones? There’s lots to find out about. You might also want to do your research into the software people are using to produce video.

Dive in and have a go – I’m a huge fan of just doing it! We waste so much time over-thinking things, planning, procrastinating and more. This time could have been better spent on having a go. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work out. You can edit, dice and slice further down the line. If you don’t dive in, you’ll only ever be treading water.

About Ady Howes

Ady Howes is a self-employed freelance digital content specialist with a background and qualifications in learning and development. He’s skilled in using technology to support learning and has experience with video production, graphic design, audio, instructional design, building communities of practice and social. Connect with him on twitter @adyhowes

Would you like to join our growing list of over 150 members? 

CL Consortium Ltd
Vine House, Selsley Road,
Stroud, GL5 5NN