4 scary mistakes in your training videos

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We’ve all seen bad training videos, how to videos, tutorials and eLearning videos. In fact, some of them are scarier than Halloween. While the content of a training video may not be Oscar worthy or as funny as a Jim Carey movie, there are a few things you can do to improve them.

You may have an idea of an online course that you want to create and know you need video to help engage the viewer, build trust or fully show them what they need to know. Or, you’ve been assigned by the HR manager to create an eLearning course for your employees and you know that using video is the best way to convey the content. True Focus Media has done a lot of videos for how to content, training, online courses and corporate eLearning and want to help you avoid these 4 scary mistakes.

1. Your training videos are boring and dry

While the content may be boring and dry, the video doesn’t have to be. In fact, if you are trying to increase retention of the content, then making the videos as interesting as possible should be one of your main goals.
How to fix it.

Training video best practices

  • use engaging images
  • tell stories that are relevant to your point
  • vary the camera angles and shoot with 2 or more video cameras
  • use multiple people on camera. Each person could deliver a piece of the overall training

2. Your training videos are too long

We humans are lazy. And we’re only getting lazier. For several decades our attention spans were about 7 minutes long. This coincided with our television habits since a tv show usually lasted around 7 minutes before going to a commercial. This made our brains focus for 7 minutes and then desire a break from the content. We would get up during commercials, talk with the people around us, or just get a mental break by watching the short commercials which had lots of visuals to distract us.

Sadly, this has gotten worse. The internet has given us an even smaller attention span since there are so many video options and many of them are much shorter than 7 minutes. Studies have found that our attention spans are shorter than goldfish!

Thankfully people will watch a tutorial video a lot longer than your average cat video (and who doesn’t like a good cat video now and then?).

Thankfully you can have longer training videos and people will continue to watch. Especially if there is a reward, certification or gamification tied to it. The optimal length of a video for your online course, eLearning project, training initiative or certification course should be 12 minutes or less. If you go longer than that, people will definitely be tuning out the content.

Tips for improving training video length:

  • keep videos under 12 minutes
  • take a long video and cut into several shorter videos
  • don’t use the same format for every video. Vary up the length, style and content

3. Your training video takes too long to get to the point

Have you seen a tutorial video that takes too long to get to the point? The instructor hasn’t practiced or given it much thought on what he or she was going to say. This is one of the most common mistakes we see. The instructor doesn’t properly plan each piece of the tutorial video.

The 3 pieces to every good tutorial video:

  1. The Introduction: tell the viewer what they will be learning. This should last around 1-2 minutes
  2. The main content: this includes stories, stats, and the bulk of your training material. This should last 6-8 minutes
  3. The conclusion: remind the student what you taught them. This should last around 1-2 minutes

4. Your training videos lack stories

Stories aren’t just for kids sitting on the story rug in kindergarten. Everyone relates to stories. In fact, we remember more through stories than through statistics. We all need stats and figures, but boil them down by the use of stories. Some of the best teachers use stories, including Jesus, who taught sometimes complex thoughts through the use of stories and parables. Try to find at least one story for each main bullet point of your outline. And, when possible, add in some humor to lighten the mood.

Best practices for telling stories in your tutorial videos

  • give real world examples
  • use humor when possible
  • only give relevant piece of the story to drive home your point
  • don’t ramble and drag out your story

5. Bonus Scary Mistake

The biggest mistake you could be using in your training, certification, or eLearning is not using video at all. Video has been shown to build trust, help retention and engage the viewer. So why aren’t you using videos in your training materials?

While training videos can be dry and boring content, the way you deliver them doesn’t have to be. By fixing these 4 main scary problems, you can turn your dull training videos into something that the student will remember and enjoy. And isn’t that the goal that you want to accomplish?

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