Ideas To Improve Training – When Using Videos

Training Is Easy.  Just Plug In A Video – WRONG!

It seems like a common solution to safety training is to find a video on the subject you need, get the group of employees together, plug in the video, give a short quiz and wave everyone back to work! 

Oh, that will really work! What real learning actually takes place when training is conducted in this manner?  And, if OSHA comes to visit they won’t approve of this either.

For almost all my years as a safety professional I’ve heard the question repeatedly, “If I use this video will I be in compliance?”.  How stupid is that?  But, over and over again we see safety managers, supervisors, HR and others do just that.  Plug in the video and all will be right with the world and OSHA.

From the Learner’s Perspective

Think about the first time you heard a song on the radio or saw a movie in the theater.  When the song ended, how well could you hum the melody or recite the words?  Movies provide additional challenges to the memory.  It’s one think to understand and discuss the story, but could you name all the characters and remember their key lines?

Now let’s think about the first time employees view a training video.  It takes time to become oriented to the subject.  They don’t know what they will see or what information will be presented.  They also don’t know what is important to learn, or what information they will be held accountable for learning later on in their work.

3 Tips That Will Increase Learning With Video

Here are some tips to improve your use of video in your training programs. 

1.  Develop an outline of the video content.  Provide it to the workers and discuss a few of the key points you want them to learn.  Along with the outline, you could easily create and provide a short study guide that tracks with the outline.  Leave blank spaces in the study guide and ask the employees to fill in the blanks as they watch the video.  This will increase their focus as they watch, and the action of filling in the blanks will help them retain the information.

2.  Focus the learners on 3-4 important learning points and using the outline of the video content, tell them where or when the information will be covered.  Inform them that each person will be asked to answer 2 questions about the learning points during a discussion after watching the video.  This creates a lively discussion afterwards and allows for some team teaching.

3.  Give a pre-test or learning exercise on the content of the video, but don’t collect it.  Go over the answers and tell the learners that they will have a similar post-test and that all the answers will be covered in the video.  Because the pre and post-tests are similar, tell them to use the pre-test to guide them as they watch.  Before you give the short post-test, conduct a discussion covering the important learning points.  In the discussion, provide examples from their work area as you make your points.  Ask the participants to share any thoughts or experiences that relate to the topic.  Now give the post-test.  It’s amazing how many of the participants will score 100%! 

Make learning easy and fun.  It’s not about how much they didn’t learn, or got wrong.  It’s about how much they got right and can remember later.  Engaging adults, getting them to actively participate, encouraging the sharing of answers and knowledge are key ingredients in creating a learning environment or organization.

How do you use video in your training programs?