Leveraging video as a learning channel in the work environment
1 August 2016
In my previous pieces on the field of video, I described the combination between video and Knowledge Management (to read the full article, click here), suggested tips for writing a script for a video (for the full article, click here) tips for filming a video (for the full article, click here), platforms for video management in organizations (for the full article, click here) and discussed the importance of leveraging video as a strategic intra-organizational communication channel (for the full article, click here).
This article will discuss the various ways to use video as a learning channel in the organization's work environment.
Consuming online video (via the internet) is currently an extremely popular media. The increase in online streaming has led organizations and companies to reconsider tutorials, learning and performance support and shift to video-based learning. However, video has been an accessible medium for decades, and companies have been using it for learning purposes. In fact, one of the first uses of video for worker-tutorial purposes was produced by Chevrolet in 1941 (a sales instruction video). The video allows us to view the learning methods implemented 70 years ago.
Only a few years ago, the field of video was accessible to professionals only (photographer, producers and video editors) and organizations that wished to produce video clips had to pay large amounts of money, nowadays video clips can be easily produced; any amateur can teach themselves in a matter of hours, using the Smartphone we have in our back pocket.
Every large organization has its Learning and Development department (in short, L&D) responsible for developing and training workers. Regarding video and learning, the idea is to produce better, more interactive videos using advanced tools while not focusing mainly on "video tutorials" while ignoring the great flexibility the medium offers. An inefficient use of video can not only waste workers' time and merely not effect performances, yet it can determine a harmful precedent of using video throughout the organization.
Some organizations' L&D departments have already began implementing video in many ways. The organizational directional environment is seeing video playing different roles, from standardization processes to product demos to promoting learning training by experts on the subject.
Before producing clips as part of the organization's learning strategy, it is important to consider the various options that can be used to communicate new ideas. Hereby are some ways to use video to support learning in a work environment and performance:
Direct/tutor: let's begin with the video tutorial with which we are all familiar. This method is aimed at helping the viewer acquire knowledge by instructing them how to do something- the right way. Tutorials can be used in various ways and are especially efficient for new workers or workers that require additional direction as part of their training process. They can include conveying some useful tips, screenshots of a specific process (stage by stage) or using scenarios.
Share knowledge: video is a powerful tool and as such can allow workers share their personal knowledge with the entire organization informally. While we can request workers to write articles or share ideas or stories via the organizational portal or the organization's social network, many workers find writing somewhat difficult. Video serves as a simple method for workers to share their ideas and insights. It can be much quicker than writing. Anyway, is it better to tell someone how you do what you do at work than write it all down?
A certain organization's L&D team implemented this idea through the concept of a "video cell". Every week, workers were invited to answer a series of short questions, documented on video. The workers answers were added (unedited) to a playlist in the organizational Wiki and provided colleagues with various ideas for solutions for one problem. The L&D team quickly accumulated a catalogue of content that can be shared in various ways. This approach also verified the organization's knowledge sharing strategy including the will to expand this approach and enable workers to record and upload their videos from their desktops.
Introducing the company to new workers: training new workers can be very interesting when incorporating video. Video can serve as an apt alternative for those boring presentations by another worker (usually monotonously). Instead, you can create a video in which the CEO welcomes the new workers to the company, give them a "tour" of the company's branches around the globe, present the company's products and even intuitively introduce the company procedures. The new worker will benefit from this video much more than a presentation in which these procedures would be simply read out.
Developing 'soft' skills: correctly developing soft skills can contribute to improving worker performance which in turn assists in positive interpersonal relationships and enables workers to cooperate efficiently. By using video segments, we can demonstrate body language and facial expressions that play a great role in efficient communication. This sort of training can suit frontal customer service centers (such as banks, communication companies, etc.)
Provide workers with instruction wherever, whenever: workers in the customer service department are usually the face of the company. Many managers recruit constantly and cannot always provide with apt training. Furthermore, training requirements can vary. This calls for a uniform solution: creating videos for the training process. The training videos can be available from anywhere, everywhere via tablet or smartphone.
Initiating a discussion: using video is more than producing clips. Nowadays, anyone with a smartphone can live-stream via free applications such as Facebook or YouTube. If we know that learning is naturally social, why don't organizations use video more often to get workers to share their ideas and opinions? A collective conversation is a great learning opportunity.
A certain organization's L&D department was searching for ways to overcome functional gaps and assist workers to share not only knowledge but generate some connection between the organization's different departments. They decided to turn to a live-streaming solution. They used Adobe Connect and successfully broadcasted a "live talk show" that offers the participants discussion panels from throughout the entire organization. Each panel took only 15 minutes, and was available in the organizational Wiki. This approach provided workers that didn't usually actively share their insights or the challenges they encounter when working in the different departments. The discussions continued after the camera was shut via the organization's social network.
In conclusion, it can be said that a video can serve as an important learning tool for organization workers. The technological barrier has been long broken, we can all now utilize this medium. It's time to think outside of the box and try putting the organization's traditional learning methods aside- all we need is a little bit of creativity and basic filming + editing abilities to produce useful videos for our organization.
Thanks to websites like YouTube, uploading videos of a varying quality have become regular. An organization that wishes to incorporate video as a learning channel for workers, should preferably start with a short video tutorial/instruction, review the workers' feedback and only then proceed to wider implementation in any method described above or in any way they see fit.
Just start and see what will develop…