Most people find it is much easier to watch a series of training videos, rather than read a technical manual. A training video grabs their attention better than written text and discourages people from simply “scanning the manual” to find out how software or a device works. People absorb information easier when you show them how to do something, rather than simply telling them in text.
Training videos for software products are relatively easy to produce using screen capture software. Screen capture software records whatever a trainer does on a computer screen. The perceived quality is in the details. The difference between a good quality video and one of poor quality is in the editing, narration and final production.
Some tips for producing effective training videos
- Create a structured learning system. There should be a logical flow starting with a product or service introduction. Include information for the viewer that explains the process and sets their expectations. Segment groups of videos based upon learning level, skill level or general topic.
- Keep each video under 10 minutes in length. Although most people like watching videos, the length of a video does affect their attention span. 4 to 6 minute videos are much more likely to be watched than 30 minute videos. If a specific topic takes more than 10 minutes to go over, break it into parts (Part 1, Part 2, etc.). That gives viewers a chance to take a break if they need it and avoids losing their attention.
- Avoid using a monotone voice. Most training videos are judged by the quality of the narration. Very few people will watch videos where the trainer has a boring, monotone voice. The voice narration should be natural and should convey the trainer’s interest in the topic. Always speak like an expert and with some enthusiasm for the topic.
- Focus on the benefits of doing something important. Don’t just show how to do something without an explanation of “why” it should be done and how doing it that way will solve a problem or make the viewer’s life simpler. If the viewer understands why you are doing something, they will retain that information longer.
- Make sure the video includes frequent motion. The general rule in order to keep a viewer’s attention is that something visual must happen at least once every 3 to 10 seconds. People respond to motion and it helps draw their attention. Never use a static image with no movement or visual cues while you spend 2 or 3 minutes explaining something.
- Include callouts when appropriate. Callouts are text boxes, arrows and images that appear and disappear at certain times to draw attention to something or clarify a spelling, website URL, or other important element of the video.
- Music is optional. If you do use background music with narration, the music should be subtle and in the background. Make sure the music is matched to the topic and you have the rights to use that music. We have a large library of royalty free music that we use with the videos we produce.
As someone who has watched hundreds of training videos on numerous video training sites, I know that the training sites I visit most often are those with trainers who understand how to explain the topic in simple terms with good quality narration. Numerous video training sites use narration that sounds like a second grader reciting Dick and Jane. That will never hold someone’s attention.
We offer training video production services. Feel free to contact us to discuss your training needs.