Let’s be honest. Training manuals are not anyone's favorite way to learn. They are static, unengaging, and often do not lead to strong knowledge comprehension or retention. That being said, your manuals are not a waste! They provide the perfect framework for a video script, using the content you’ve already spent valuable time developing. And, as an added bonus, your training materials will now be learned faster, retained longer, and provide real impact to those you are upskilling, training, or just trying to help improve.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to create and apply the right video strategy for your training content as we dive into the core idea of keeping a balance between face-to-face human interaction while using video as a supportive tool. We will discuss:
WE WILL DISCUSS:
THE POWER OF VISUAL LEARNING (VIDEO VS. TRAINING MANUALS)
As L&D professionals, we’ve all seen the reaction when you hand over a training manual to an employee – new or seasoned. At best, they’re going to give a blank stare and breathe a sigh of apathy. It doesn’t feel great knowing that the learning content, materials, and resources you develop to keep employees safe or advance their knowledge is reduced to a box to be ticked.
But, you can change the negative perception associated with your learning materials. And the best part is, all of the work you put into creating those training manuals is not even close to a waste. In fact, what you’ve done is create the perfect framework for bite-sized, highly engaging videos that inspire a more engaged learner, better knowledge retention, and most importantly, meaningful behavioral change.
You might be asking yourself: is video really that effective? The simple answer? Yes!
The fact is, 65% of your workforce are visual learners. That’s because our brains are wired for visual information, which is decoded 60,000 times faster than written text. Not to mention, written information in the form of PDF manuals, emails, and presentations, fails to provide valuable context or convey important emotions like trust and empathy. This is where visual learning comes in:
Whether delivered in a physical or virtual setting, it’s important to make sure your learning experiences are visually engaging. This will determine how “successful,” “forward thinking,” or “tech-savvy” your team is perceived in the eyes of employees and company leadership.
Instead of relying on text-heavy manuals, old-school PowerPoints, and outdated training materials, we propose a new approach that leans on visual learning and engages employees on a much deeper level.
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TRANSFORMING TRAINING MANUALS INTO ENGAGING VIDEO CONTENT
You probably have one or two training manuals used in your current learning and development strategy. These manuals may be used for a variety of purposes including workplace safety training, cybersecurity awareness, diversity and inclusion training, and many other purposes. If you’re looking to make an impact, training manuals are not the best way. However, they are a great framework for a successful video-based training program.
1 BUILD OUT BITE-SIZE VIDEOS FOR RAPID COMPREHENSION
Let’s start simple. Nobody wants to watch a 54 minute long video on workplace safety. Your learners will get bored in the same way they do with a 67 page training manual. So, break down your manual into sections that can be viewed in 4 minutes or less. Then, turn your new series of videos into a course or playlist for easy viewing at your learners convenience.
“With Powtoon, we can easily create videos that tell a story and immerse employees in an experience or environment. The result is a very engaging video that works much better than a PDF document.”
2 YOUR EXISTING MANUALS ARE YOUR SCRIPT
Let’s use the excerpt from a safety training manual below. While the content inside your training materials may be very important, it relies on your learner to use their imagination to visualize what you mean. However, using this content as your script, and creating an animated video showing them what you mean, will improve your knowledge comprehension significantly. Using point one below, you now have your script!
Scene Title: Make the Situation Safe
Scene: A window is broken. Wind is coming in. Maybe add some snow for additional effect. Have your character act out the voiceover while it is happening.
Voiceover: “During an accident you will want to first make the situation safe. Remove the source of the hazard first to ensure others are not injured. In this case, grab a broom and clean up the broken glass to ensure nobody gets hurt.”
IN THE EVENT OF AN ACCIDENT:
If it is possible to safely remove the source of an ongoing hazard (electric current, broken glass, leaking gas etc.) then do so first.
Make sure casualties are safe. then administer immediate first aid if appropriate, following the guidelines covered in your "out of hours" training. If you have not had out of hours basic first aid training, or separate first aid training you should seek the help of a First Aider or someone who has. First aid boxes can be found in all laboratories and some offices. They contain the names and contact numbers of trained First Aiders. You may also seek the assistance of any clinically trained colleague.
If emergency assistance is required, ring 2222 (RHH & NGH), 444 (UoS) or 999 depending on the building you are in to report the details of the incident and ask for the service required e.g. ambulance, fire brigade etc. If the hospital is unable to provide specific assistance (with chimical spill for instance) it is also worth contacting the University's Emergency Control Room on 4444 (24 hr.).
3 DON’T CREATE STATIC VIDEOS
Motion is key to keeping your learners engaged. Don’t create a static talking head video combined with a powerpoint. This will get you slightly more engagement but will not be the optimal experience, nor will it save you that much time. With the same effort you can create an animated video that tells your story so nothing is left to the imagination and your learners can engage in the story. Once they are engaged you will begin to see real impact.
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5 Best Practices to Ensure a Successful Visual Learning Strategy
Before diving in and creating your video content, it’s important to map out your visual learning strategy. Below are some tips you should consider in order to ensure a successful learning course.
1 HAVE A CLEAR COURSE PLAN & LIST OF DESIRED OUTCOMES
Before you start creating content, take some time to define a course plan that outlines a clear timeline for the learning lifecycle of your training program. Then, create a step-by-step plan for how to achieve the desired outcome that includes:
• Defined milestones along the timeline
• List of clear success metrics or KPIs for each milestone
This will help you gauge the learner engagement. The defined milestones along the timeline are also points of opportunity to have face-to-face touchpoints that allow you to assess whether your strategy requires a pivot. For example, having a touch-base with your trainee every 2 days for the first week to check in, then once per week after that through the end of the course timeline.
2 TURN BULKY DOCUMENTS INTO ENGAGING VIDEOS
Research has shown that learners only retain only 10% of what they read. The days of sitting down and spending hours flipping through hundreds of pages or courses in 4 hours classroom settings are in the past.
Learning has evolved, especially when it comes to the workplace. Your bulky manuals or text heavy presentations and PDFs can be easily condensed into videos. With learners 75% more likely to watch a video than read text, your thick stack of materials can now be your new training video. This offers a more engaging experience to your learners while helping them move more swiftly in the learning process.
3 SET A FINAL “SUCCESS GRADE” TO MEASURE OVERALL RESULTS
Since you now have defined success metrics or KPIs for each milestone, this is a good foundation to now determine how many of these metrics are successfully achieved by setting a “Success Grade”. A good rule of thumb is if the overall “Success Grade” of the learner is 70% or higher for the course. This means that the learner has achieved at least 70% of the KPIs during the course. Anything less than 60% is an indicator for adjusting your content strategy or integrating more collaborative learning.
4 CREATE A LIBRARY WITH DEFINED CATEGORIES AND LABELS
If your company has large amounts of content, or even if you’re just starting to build your learning library, it’s essential to keep your video library organized. Depending on the length and depth of your courses, there can be a number of documents, links, and videos for a trainee to comb through. Having defined naming conventions based on the subject of the course, tagging by topic, and scenario of use in place makes your content library more accessible and easy to search through for all trainees.
5 DEVISE A CLEAR DISTRIBUTION STRATEGY
With so many technical tools, apps, and platforms used everyday, like MS Teams, Slack, WhatsApp, and beyond, it’s important to set clear guidelines on which platform or app is used and for what purpose. This helps define your learning culture and also sets the stage for how your learners can best utilize communication tools at hand to get the best learning experience.
WHEN TO USE VIDEO
Now that you have a framework on how to approach your visual learning strategy, it’s time to start creating video content! But how do you determine when it’s best to use video? Here are our tried and true tips.
1 SHARING YOUR COMPANY’S HISTORY, CULTURE, AND ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
Using video to dynamically express the history, culture, and organizational structures of your company, its mission, vision, and goals is a great way to engage your employees. The history of your company and what it took to lead to today is a solid story that only changes with time. Having videos covering these topics can help onboard new employees and set the tone of the learning culture, empowering them to take on their learning journey with more confidence and motivation.
“Powtoon has enabled us to quickly create and deliver content in a format that resonates with our mission to inspire and empower youth culture. Through short, engaging, visual storytelling we are able to get training into the hands of our store teams in as little as 1-2 weeks depending on the subject matter.”
- Jennifer Baker, Senior Manager, Retail Learning & Development at Foot Locker
2 PROVIDING TRAINING & TUTORIALS FOR NEW TECH TOOLS AND PLATFORMS
Getting accustomed to everchanging tech tools used in your company can feel overwhelming. When a new employee is joining the company or a new software is being introduced company-wide, a video tutorial is a great way to show all the features of a tech tool or platform.
Keep in mind, a video is a good tool for this purpose when a large chunk of your organization is using the tool. By creating a screen recording video, it’s simple to make a software demo with a voiceover to show your team the ropes of a new tool. Plus, you can also enhance the demo video with onscreen text and animation to highlight major takeaways. However, it is best to carve out some time to address questions directly from team members on how to use the tool that is specific to their role or department. An interactive video with access to direct support of existing teammates or a department specific guide is a good way to use a video and make learning a new software engaging.
3 IMPLEMENTING CHANGE MANAGEMENT
It’s natural for organizations to grow and scale. But introducing new changes in a digestible way can be challenging with clunky presentations and complex concepts. Using a video to showcase your organization’s change journey, new goals, and structures can be done simply with a video. Of course, with the support of the leadership board being the conductors of change present for questions and fostering connection, a video is a great tool to lead a company into its new vision.
4 SIMPLIFYING FAQS
After having several employees go through a training course or onboarding program, make sure to take note of the questions that come up. Those questions, especially ones that are asked many times, are a great jumping off point to create an FAQ video. This helps ensure the best use of time of your team and resources while avoiding redundant meetings or communication.
EXPERT TIPS & TRICKS
Now that you know the best instances when to use video and when not to, we’ve put together a list of tips and tricks gathered from the experts to keep in mind throughout your learning strategy planning. The tips below will help you successfully keep the balance between video and human interaction and creating relevant, scalable video content.
CASE STUDY: VIDEO LEARNING AT SCALE
Foot Locker is a leader in the footwear industry, celebrating sneakers with a portfolio of brands including Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Champs Sports, Eastbay, Footaction, and Sidestep.
Foot Locker’s purpose is to inspire and empower youth culture around the world by fueling a shared passion for self-expression and creating unrivaled experiences.
With approximately 3,000 retail stores in 27 countries across North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, training the company’s in-store personnel in a way that reflects its values and diversity is essential.
Foot Locker needed to upgrade, update, and streamline their training materials across thousands of retail stores, dozens of countries, and all levels of retail staff. From field leadership including Regional Vice Presidents to part-time team members, it was critical for Foot Locker to align everyone on their strategies and expectations of the in-store experience.
Using Powtoon’s video engagement solution allowed Foot Locker to graduate from training by static binders to training by experiential visual learning across 3,000 locations and 27 countries. It helps enhance their in-store experience and create a common visual language across all learning materials company-wide.
Before Powtoon, creating learning content was labor-intensive and didn’t effectively get messages across to global employees.
With Powtoon, Foot Locker’s L&D team scaled their content by taking learning materials traditionally put into a binder and turning it into engaging, bite-sized video content with audio, voiceovers, and characters moving on screen.
Foot Locker even uses characters to emulate its diverse employees and create a deeper sense of belonging. As a company celebrating youth culture, Powtoon’s custom character builder helps them showcase characters wearing joggers and streetwear instead of traditional suit-and-tie.
“For decades, companies have focused their enterprise communications attention on information workers, rolling out increasingly sophisticated tools that make collaboration among the office set easier, smarter, and more intuitive. In the process, most companies have left their frontline workers behind. These essential workers are often given second-rate technology (if they’re given any at all) that fails to address their needs.”
In order to ensure consistent employee performance and customer satisfaction, Foot Locker created a hiring training video highlighting best practices and guidelines to follow when hiring for a new role. By using video, this training content was made accessible to frontline workers across 27 regions. The impact? More high-performing employees that match the company values, meet the customer expectation, represent the Foot Locker brand, and seamlessly collaborate with other staff.
HOW POWTOON CAN HELP YOU STREAMLINE YOUR CONTENT CREATION
Animated training videos are just the beginning. Powtoon’s video creation platform empowers your team to create, manage, and distribute powerful, on-brand videos to onboard, upskill, and reskill learners. Powtoon makes it easy to scale content creation with the freedom of unlimited design styles. From microlearning, training videos, digital signage, and more, here’s how you can deliver inspirational learning experiences every time.
→ Customizable animation
→ 1M+ stock images, videos & music
→ 1000s of design combinations
→ Shareable folders
→ Save company templates
→ Enterprise-grade security
→ ISO-certified cloud
→ Manage user permissions
→ Shareable folders
→ Made for any device