This article discusses the benefits as well as the limitations of using video for software training.
In today’s fast-paced business environment, technology is constantly evolving, and software applications are becoming increasingly complex. Training employees to use these applications can be a time-consuming and expensive process. However, video-based training can provide a solution to this challenge. Video is an effective tool for software training that can help businesses and organizations save time and money while improving learning outcomes, but it doesn’t suit every occasion. Be aware of Learning Styles
To get the best result for your audience, it's important to understand different learning styles and how they can impact the effectiveness of training. For example, visual learners may benefit from videos, while auditory learners may prefer audio recordings or podcasts. Kinesthetic learners may need hands-on activities or simulations.
It doesn’t mean that videos can’t help all learners, they certainly can, but some users will just learn better through different experiences. Auditory learners may find it useful to have a voice over in addition to the video itself.
Given that 65% of the general population are visual learners1 and our brains can process images at a rate that is many times faster than text and retain much more of what you see versus what you just read, then video instructions for software training would seem to be the obvious delivery option to use.
Benefits of Using Video for Software Training
The benefits of using video for software training are numerous. First and foremost, video-based training can lead to improved learning outcomes. Research has shown that video is an effective tool for knowledge transfer because it stimulates multiple senses, such as visual and auditory, which helps learners to retain information better. Additionally, video can help to increase engagement by capturing learners' attention and keeping them interested in the training content.
Video-based training can be more efficient than traditional training methods, such as in-person training or written documentation. Employees can access video training anytime and anywhere, which means they don't have to spend time travelling to training sessions or waiting for trainers to become available. This can lead to more efficient training processes, which can help businesses save time and money and matches perfectly the modern remote working world.
Video can, and should, also include explanatory audio. Audio can provide background information and reasons why things are the way they are. It can deliver an extra level of information in a few seconds that would be hard to do in many lines of text.
Video also makes you look good. Making video training makes the author look good, the project look good and gives the user a positive picture of the software and the company.
So, video-based software training has many benefits, but there are some limitations to consider.
Limitations of Video Training
Video training doesn’t suit every situation. Whilst video is an effective tool for software training, it may not be the best approach for complex software applications. One of the challenges of creating effective video-based training content is maintaining learner engagement throughout the training session. A seventy-five step software procedure described in a long video can leave learners distracted or disengaged if the content is not presented in an interesting and engaging way.
Another challenge of video-based training is addressing different learning styles. People have different ways of learning. Video training may be effective for visual learners, but it may not be the best approach for auditory or kinesthetic learners. Thus, it's essential to understand the different learning styles and create training content that addresses them.
Video also not great when the user is in a hurry to find an answer to a pressing question. Trying to skim through a video searching for a particular step is difficult and frustrating, where a well constructed web page or document would be a better, faster option. Web pages and documents combined with the availability of search function would be even better.
Another significant issue is that software instruction videos have a short shelf life. This is a big issue. Procedures in business are frequently changing and any small change can leave an instructional video obsolete.
Creating high-quality training videos can also be time-consuming and require specialist skills and software. The editing process can also be challenging, as it often involves cutting, splicing, zooming, panning and adding special effects to create a polished final product.
All of that work comes at a cost in time and money. Brandon Hall is attributed with estimating the cost of a corporate video at US$30,0002
Not taken into consideration as much as it should be, editing a video after a change in a procedure, is actually harder than the initial creation task.
Overcoming the limitations of video
Video is absolutely a great choice for learning software. But it’s not the answer for every situation.
While videos can be great for demonstrating how software works, they may not always be the best way to communicate information to all learners. People learn in different ways, and some may prefer to read rather than watch videos. As such, it's important to provide written instructions alongside video training to cater to all learning styles.
Providing written instructions can also benefit learners who need to reference the information later. Written instructions can be easily searched and revisited, while videos require users to watch the entire clip again to find the specific information they need.
Depending on the software that you use, you may have the option to add chapters to your video. By adding these markers and describing each properly, you can help users to find the video content that is most relevant to them. In a way, it’s like having a table of contents for your video. This will require more of your time, and improve the video, but won’t be as effective as a search function in other media such as written documents.
Written instructions can also take many forms, such as web pages or PDF documents. They can be presented alongside video training on the same webpage, or provided as a separate resource for learners to access as needed. It's important to ensure that written instructions are clear, concise, and easy to understand, and that they, like the video, are updated to reflect any changes to the software being taught.
Quickly summarising the situation.
Video is great, but it’s hard to make and harder to update. Written instructions are really helpful too, and are quicker to navigate, but possibly, lack the appeal of video content.
So, what should you create?
If you have to choose either video or written instructions, opt for the written instructions. Why? They’re faster to make, easier to maintain and require less creative skills.
If you want both, then do it, then you get the best of both worlds. It’s a business decision whether it’s worth the effort or not.
What tools should I use for video and other matching content?
One great option for this is Runthru Instruction.
Runthru Instruction is a tool that can help businesses create both effective video-based training content AND written content for software applications AT THE SAME TIME.
One of the key benefits of Runthru Instruction is its ease of use. The software is user-friendly and requires no specialist skills, making it suitable for all of the subject experts as well as trainers. Furthermore, you will be working on the same asset content to create two different outcomes. This will save you considerable amount of time.
You can find out more about Runthru Instruction at https://www.runthru.com/Solutions/Instruction
Video-based training is an effective tool for teaching people how to use software applications. It can help businesses save time and money, while also improving learning outcomes and increasing learner engagement. However, video training does have limitations, and it's important to understand these limitations when creating training content.
By understanding different learning styles and providing matching written instructions, businesses can ensure that all learners are able to engage with the training content effectively. Additionally, following best practices for creating video-based training content can help to ensure that the content is engaging and effective.
1. Bradford, William C., Reaching the Visual Learner: Teaching Property Through Art (September 1, 2011). The Law Teacher Vol. 11, 2004, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=587201