Last week, TrainingPros' radio program Learning Insights was hosted in Boston and New York City. I had the opportunity to meet with several learning leaders, and one of the themes I observed was companies really starting to use video for training purposes. Their rationale was that video could be produced more quickly and cheaply than traditional training, and it could be made available to employees at the point of need when they needed to know how to do something on the job.
What? Cheaper and faster? What if your top sales professional took their iPhone, attached it to a $25 tripod, videotaped himself explaining the product benefits of your latest storage device, and then uploaded it to your video management system? Your video administrator then added meta tags for searching, approved the video in your content management system, and 'pushed' a link to the video to the entire sales force. This is real life at EMC, the leading storage device company in the world. Has the video been shot with a professional-grade camera? No. Were professional actors used? No. Was a professional videographer used? No. Was professional post production done? No. Did the sales force have to wait two months for training on how to present the product features of their latest product? No. Did the sales organization have to spend $20,000 on the video? No. Did the sales force care that one of their cohorts shot the video? No. Is the sales professional who shot the video a professional? No.
Millennials and employees hired over the last five years are accustomed to finding the content they need by asking Google and watching YouTube. When technology-enabled people need to know how to connect their new hi def TV to their sound system – voila! - in 20 seconds they are watching a YouTube video on their tablet. Companies need to adapt this new learning style because that is how our younger employees are learning.
The challenges are production, platform, and pipelines. A company like EMC that sells multi-million dollar storage solutions has invested in studios and production teams to create videos. However, EMC has also asked their employees to produce videos. A significant percentage of their video content now comes from employees. In addition to taking video of their kid's soccer game, they can capture a role play of how to close a deal with a customer. There are now video platforms like VideoNitch that allow companies to upload, index, create chapters, add test questions, and track completion of videos. For $3,000/month, a company can implement a video platform that is integrated with the leading LMSs. The technology is there to manage video content. Finally, bandwidth has been given as an issue. A 600 location convenience store chain in the Northeast didn't have the bandwidth at their stores to stream video-based training to their store employees. Hmmm…really? What about a $50/month hot spot that employees could connect to with their smart phones or a tablet to access their video training. That is what the company is considering doing - a very cost effective solution.
The reality is that companies can now make a modest investment and fairly quickly add video to their training strategy. Remember, you now have a video-centric group of employees who learn by watching.