Training videos have always been important, but they’ve never been more crucial than they are in 2021.
With the widespread prevalence of remote work reducing the amount of time people spend in face-to-face offices or classrooms, training videos have become one of the most important ways to convey information.
Training videos do more than teach employees how to interact with customers. Instead, they can be highly dynamic vessels for all types of instruction. Whether for school or work, training videos are an easy way to connect with an audience and present concepts in an easy-to-learn manner.
But precisely because of how important they have become, it’s even more vital than ever before to do it right when you set out to create training videos.
To help you along, we’re lending our expertise to guide you through the best way to make training videos in 2021. We’ll cover the core principles of training videos before sharing a step-by-step guide to develop the best videos that meet your goals and needs.
What are training videos?
It’s all in the name: a training video is a video that shows the viewer how to do something.
That might sound like a highly vague description – and that’s intentional. You can use a training video for just about any kind of purpose you might need. You can develop training videos to introduce new employees to your organization, instruct staff on performing their job duties, or even guiding general audiences through complex processes.
Training videos can be as complex or as simple as you need them to be. They can provide a surface-level introduction to your workplace safety policies or provide an incredibly nuanced deep dive into every aspect of your software platform: it’s all up to you and your needs.
Why use training videos?
You might be thinking that training videos aren’t important for your company unless you work in a highly technical or safety-focused industry. However, that misconception couldn’t be further from the truth. Just about any type of business can benefit from well-made, engaging training videos.
Here are just a few ways these videos can help you:
- Train your staff. The most straightforward benefit of using training videos in your organization is that it will be easier for you to train your employees. Rather than having to rely on complicated in-person training sessions or densely written manuals, videos can provide a simple way to give your staff the quality training they deserve.
- Boost your publicity. If you develop a compelling training video answering common questions and post it online, you could see a dramatic bump in traffic and a considerable boost in brand recognition for your organization.
- Grow your web traffic. Not only can an expertly-crafted video make your brand a household name, but it can help your web traffic skyrocket in the process. Popular corporate videos with a memorable call to action can dramatically increase the number of clicks your website receives every day.
- Connect with your audience. Your audience doesn’t want to be left alone; instead, it’s more likely that they want to hear from you. Developing a training video that walks your target audience through the common problems they face will help you build a stronger relationship with your target markets.
What kind of training videos are there?
The mythical “training video” isn’t a concrete, set-in-stone category. Instead, it’s a highly adaptable genre that can essentially change according to your needs.
Considering that, there are countless different kinds of training videos that you can explore using. Depending on your budget, level of commitment, and long-term goals, you’ll have a massive list of options to choose from. Here are just a few of the most popular types of training videos you might consider:
The screencast is one of the simplest kinds of training videos, especially in this era of remote work. Like its name suggests, a screencast video is a direct recording of your computer screen usually accompanied by a voiceover. This is a great choice for helping your audience learn how to navigate a website or software app.
Do you want to demonstrate an extremely short process for your audience? Then a microvideo might be the ideal choice. This is a super brief clip, typically no more than five to fifteen seconds long, showing how to perform a quick task.
Think of microvideos like the Tiktoks or Vines (remember Vine?) of training videos. They’re short, sweet, and to the point – and they work even better in series, allowing users to pick through a collection of clips to find the tutorial that they need.
The humble “how-to” is likely the most familiar type of training video. It walks the user through any sort of general or technical concept, whether that’s rolling pizza dough or getting the most out of the latest app.
These videos may or may not use a narrator to explain every step of the process. Other videos might rely on texts or graphics instead. Regardless, how-to videos are a tried and true method for helping simplify more complex tasks.
Animation is one of the fastest-growing professional video styles, and training videos are no exception. Animations are uniquely suited to training videos: after all, some scenarios are more manageable to animate than act out using real humans. Additionally, animated videos are often more visually pleasing and captivating than standard live-action productions.
Although animations typically require more specialized expertise to produce than live-action productions, that extra effort can pay off in increased exposure and engagement. Thankfully, there are plenty of video production companies that now specialize in animation, so it shouldn’t be challenging to get help where you need it.
Need to replace the experience of an in-person presentation in video form? Consider recording a presenter video, which has all the hallmarks of a typical live production – including a speaker and typically some slides and other visual elements – but in video form. Presenter videos are an excellent choice for product overview videos or DIY-style videos.
If you’ve ever had fun with a “choose your own adventure” video on YouTube, then you’ve experienced an interactive video marketing campaign. It might be one of the newest kinds of training procedures, but interactive videos are quickly gaining popularity in the field. After all, they feature the same benefits as traditional how-to or presenter videos while allowing the user to take an active role in their learning.
Many people are experiential learners who absorb the most information when used in a practical context. Role play videos are perfect for these kinds of viewers, as they involve actors playing out situations to illustrate the best responses. They’re great for customer-facing roles, such as tech support or service jobs.
How do you create training videos?
All this information is well and good, but now we need to face the most pressing question: just how do you create training videos, anyway?
It doesn’t have to be a challenging process. In fact, we can break it down into five simple steps. Let’s walk through each one of them.
1. Plan ahead
Before you call out your camera crew and start recording, it’s essential to have a firm plan in place.
The first thing you’ll have to do is ask yourself a few simple questions. What do you want to achieve with this video? Who are you targeting? How much are you willing to spend? Your answers to these questions should guide you throughout the recording process.
It’s always best to have measurable goals in mind for every video you work on. For example, you might want to create a screencast video for your audience to reduce the number of support tickets your IT team receives by 15% or a how-to video that shows your new chefs how to prepare a dish without supervision. Once you’ve set those goals, you’ll be able to come back to your video later down the line and see whether it meets your objectives.
Additionally, once you’ve determined your goal, you should decide what kind of video will best position you to reach those benchmarks. Will a screencast video be the ideal way to convey the necessary information? Or will a roleplay presentation be the best way to help your audience absorb the content? Or will an animated video help you reach specialized and general audiences at once? Be sure to tailor your video according to your answers to these questions.
2. Write your script
Visuals might be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about making a video, but you can’t neglect your script. Once you’ve planned out your video’s initial goals and outlines, you should get to work writing the script for your training video.
Your script should include more than just the words that your presenters say on video. Along with it, you should develop a clear storyboard that outlines the scenes and scenarios you want to be played out in your video.
Even if your video is a simple screencast or a minuscule microvideo, thorough storyboarding and scripting are essential to ensure that the finished product is clear and organized. You should outline the procedure and concepts that you want to present and how you want to showcase them. Do you want to use flashy graphics? Do you need an engaging roleplaying scenario?
Make sure you dedicate an appropriate amount of time to develop a clear, coherent script for your video. If you do that, you’ll have a firm foundation to work with going forward.
3. Record the video
Now we’re getting to the good stuff! After you’ve made your preparations by planning ahead and developing an engaging script and storyboard, you’re ready to start filming.
The recording process will vary depending on what kind of corporate video you’re shooting. If you’re only working on a screencast video, you’ll simply have to record the presenter’s screen along with a separate voiceover. However, things get a bit more complex with more elaborate productions like roleplaying or presenter videos.
Here are a few tips you’ll want to consider when the time comes to record.
- Give yourself plenty of time. A good shoot isn’t necessarily a fast shoot. Make sure that you allow yourself a flexible schedule to complete filming, even for the shortest videos.
- Make sure everyone is well-prepared. Everyone involved in your production, from any on-screen actors to the camera crew, should be ready for the shoot with plenty of practice ahead of time.
- Focus on lighting and framing. Training videos might not be the most stereotypically artistic videos around, but you should still apply the general principles of good filmmaking. Make sure that your shots are well-composed to emphasize the subject with solid lighting and framing.
- Choose the right set. You don’t need to invest in a professional studio to film your video. Instead, you can even record your production in your current facilities depending on what you want to achieve. Be sure to choose a low-traffic area with a clean background that doesn’t distract from the content of the video itself.
- Use appropriate equipment. Depending on how complex your video is, you might need a lineup of professional equipment to bring it to life. Some examples include high-quality cameras, tripods, or recording software. Make sure you have all the tools for the job beforehand!
4. Edit the video and get feedback
Once you’ve finished your filming, now it’s time to refine what you’ve done.
Like with any other creative project, one of the best things to do once you’ve completed your video is to get feedback on what you’ve made. Send your video around to other members of your organization and gather their thoughts. Gathering feedback early on can help you ensure that your project is on the right track before you’ve ended up moving too far in the wrong direction.
After adjusting your video according to initial reactions, you can get fancy with your editing. Your possibilities are endless: you can add stylistic elements like graphics and visual effects or accessibility adjustments such as subtitles. You have countless ways to improve your film through post-production editing, so don’t be afraid to get creative!
Of course, after you’ve finished editing, don’t forget to get another round of feedback on your video. If your initial audience responds favorably to the improvements, then you’re ready to move on to the final step.
5. Distribute your video
Now that you’ve expertly crafted the perfect training video, all you have to do is distribute it to your audience.
The best way to start is by exporting your video as an MP4, which is the most familiar and widely-used video format. After that, all you have to do is share it with your audience, either by directly sending it to your target viewers or hosting it on your preferred platform (more on hosting in a later section).
Tips for making the best training videos
Don’t let your training videos bore your audience. Instead, keep these trending tips in mind to develop consistently engaging, memorable, and productive videos.
Use graphics when relevant
Visual variety is one of the best ways to help you maintain your viewers’ interest in your videos. Rather than focus on human subjects or speakers, you can make your videos that much more memorable by sprinkling a handful of graphics throughout your video.
Additionally, graphics make it easier for your audience to remember the key lessons of your video. Just like how you would structure a presentation with bullet points, graphics and on-screen text in your video can provide much-welcome organization.
Keep it short and to the point
It won’t surprise you to say that audiences today are lacking in the attention span department. In this digital world of instant gratification, your viewers’ attention will likely drift away if you don’t get to your video’s main point quickly.
Don’t waste time on your video. Instead, trim the fat wherever you can ensure that every aspect of your script and overall production is focused on the video’s central message. That way, you’ll keep your audience hooked to the screen without compromising the information you need to share.
Provide complimentary support materials
Your training video can be all the more helpful when it’s not the only instructional content you provide. Along with your video, don’t hesitate to offer other items such as written checklists and manuals that are easy for your audience to refer to after they’ve watched the video.
The primary purpose of any training video is to educate the audience, so you should do everything possible to ensure that the broadest audience will be able to understand and appreciate it. Be sure to make accessibility a priority when you’re creating your video: always provide closed captions and avoid flashing bright lights.
Allow for audience interaction
One of the best ways to help your viewers absorb the information in your video is to enable them to participate in the instruction. If you have the capacity, try to make your videos interactive as much as possible to let your viewers take an active role in their learning.
For example, you might let your viewers make decisions in the video and determine the outcome of specific scenarios. Simple interactivity options like these aren’t too difficult to create but can significantly impact how audiences react to your production.
Show the speaker when possible
All too often, corporate videos can feel manufactured and distant. You can challenge this perception by showing your speaker on the screen. Even if the presenter is visible only for a moment, this simple act can go a long way toward making your video feel more personal and intimate – making your audience feel more engaged in the process.
Where should you host training videos?
Now that you’ve crafted the perfect training video, you’ve arrived at the all-important question: where should you host it?
You have a few options to consider here. If you intend to keep your video private within your organization, you can host it on your internal learning or content management system. However, if you want a broader audience to discover your video, you should consider uploading it on a public platform like YouTube or Vimeo. Doing so can help you grow your brand recognition and expand your audience.
Now that we’ve shown you how to assemble a quality training video, let’s look at what your finished products might look like.
Examples of great training videos [let me know if you have something in your library we can use instead]
Pagliacci Pizza – “How to Hand Toss Pizza Dough”
Pagliacci Pizza’s training video about hand tossing pizza dough is a prime example of how a good training video can gain traffic outside your organization. This video keeps things short and to the point, using an engaging instructor and straightforward filming to make it easy to convey the information. It’s clearly paid off, considering that the video has garnered hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube with plenty of appreciative comments.
SpeakOut – “Workplace Bullying”
Animated videos can be an excellent option for accessibly presenting difficult subjects. SpeakOut, Australia’s leading mental health organization, shows this in action with its compelling animated video about workplace bullying. By using a cutesy cartoon style with an appealing light-blue color scheme, SpeakOut takes a tough topic and provides an encouraging reminder about how abused employees can get help in toxic work environments.
Sage Appliances UK – “Coffee for Beginners”
Long-form content doesn’t have to be drab. Instead, you can make even the longest videos feel engaging and helpful with the proper messaging and presentation. That’s exactly what Sage Appliances demonstrates in its half-hour-long “Coffee for Beginners” video, which uses a friendly presenter and a conversational style to cover a wide range of topics in an easy-to-understand way.
Develop the best training videos today
Now you’re ready to develop training videos of your very own. If you want to see the best results with your production, you need to trust the experts. At Sparkhouse, we’re one of the most experienced video marketing agencies in the country for producing effective training videos. Over more than 15 years of business, we’ve produced award-winning videos for thousands of clients, big and small. See how we can help your organization today! Contact us today to get started.