Training videos
Training & Learning

How to Create Effective Training Videos: 5 Formats and Examples

Training videos cut down company costs, democratize education, and provide viewers the convenience to learn at their own pace. But the transfer of knowledge through this medium is hit or miss, since poor video training material is boring and ineffective.

How can you be sure your video training won’t put your learners to sleep? L&D professionals need to choose the right video format for sharing subject-matter expertise and helping learners achieve their goals.

In this article, I’ll share five of the most effective video formats to serve varied use cases.  Whether you’re planning learning programs for your organization, a YouTube video, or even an online course for your audience, you can use these examples as inspiration. Here’s the first video format:

1. Storytelling

Here’s a heartfelt story of a disabled chef Alexis who pursued her passion for cooking with the help of YouTube and Google Meet. 

Did you enjoy watching the video?

There’s a reason why we relish feel-good movies and such inspirational accounts. Human beings are hardwired for stories. We like to see the triumph of good over evil. No wonder storytelling works in eLearning.

That’s why you need to take cues from Google’s video storytelling. They specialize in telling local, authentic stories to connect with consumers (here’s an example playlist from India). It’s intriguing how they even manage to seamlessly weave their products into these videos.

You can use the video storytelling format to share your company’s mission, expand on your core values, or even share a day at the workplace. A compelling narrative can make the learning experience entertaining and memorable.

Here’s a fun corporate training video that’s a fitting example of this format. While not a story per se, it’s a sketch with comic style graphics and run through scenarios to deliver a key message: help people.

Funny training video

The information you share in your video is more likely to stick if you share it in a relatable context for the learners. But even if it's generic, a quick entertaining story will enhance the onboarding experience for your employees.

2. Screencast explainer tutorial video

These types of videos are used to train employees to use a certain piece of software. It’s typically a recording of a trainer's computer screen demonstrating specific software features along with their audio narration. Depending on your company’s culture, they could use a formal or a conversational tone.

Here’s an example of Zoom (video conferencing software company) sharing a short screencast of conducting a secure meeting.

To add a human touch to your screencasts, consider recording from the trainer’s web camera at the same time. Screen recording software typically offer customization options to choose recording from the web camera on a computer and its screen simultaneously. Here’s an example from Loom

You can also consider toggling between a face-to-face video of the trainer and their screen. For instance, the sequence could be delivering relevant information about the use case of a software’s feature in a face-to-face format. It could then be followed by showing its implementation on their screen.

Here’s an example short video of Alban Brooke, CMO at Buzzsprout (a podcast hosting company), showing how to start a podcast on the platform:

Training video example

Don’t like the toggling screencast style? Still, it's a good idea to have the trainer quickly introduce themselves in a face-to-face format and communicate the subject they will be explaining.

3. Live videos

Most people are familiar with livestreaming, thanks to its popularity on social media. The “in the moment” urgency that live videos carry is difficult to replicate with pre-recorded content.

Here’s an example of a Facebook Live conducted by Molbaks’ Garden (a garden center) sharing tips for summer containers with their audience.

You can use this format as a pandemic-proof substitute for in-person employee training. It still gives your employees a sense of community as they get to train together with their colleagues and chat with them. Remember internal collaboration makes courses 2x as useful for learners:

2x as useful

Live sessions also provide an opportunity to engage directly with the speaker and share feedback. So when done well, live videos effectively deliver important instruction and hold the attention of trainees.

While you should encourage attendees to join the session live, the work-from-home schedules of your employees could still become an issue—especially when they’re spread across time zones. So it might make sense to offer a recording of the live video session to accommodate different schedules.

Besides training, live videos also work well for remote onboarding new employees, or sharing changes in your business strategy, or simply for internal communication. It’s a great tool to smoothen the learning experience. 

Note: If you’re considering replacing physical training with live videos online, the speaker’s below par internet connection could ruin the experience for the attendees. Pre-recorded presentations that are well-polished and edited could make for a richer event experience. 

The trainer could still conduct a live Question and Answer (Q&A) session at the end to address questions. Such a hybrid of asynchronous learning format with Q&A is more efficient and often works better for the trainees. You can learn more about how to create this type of blended learning program in the on-demand webinar below:

Blended Learning webinar

4. Interviews of subject-matter experts (or company leaders...)

Generally, these kinds of videos rely on your senior leaders talking in front of a static camera to establish the organization’s culture, mission, and set the tone for what to expect. It could also have subject-matter experts from specific departments announcing new products or partnerships—and how they will benefit the company.

Learners are well-versed with this video format, which is why they can quickly become boring. Here are a few tips you can share with the interviewee to make more engaging videos.

  • Create an outline for the video: A memorized word-for-word script could make for a “rehearsed” sketch—and not having any lines at all could lead the speaker astray. So ask the interviewee to write down some talking points. Some improvisation will help make the video candid, but ask them to keep it concise.
  • Get personal: While you’re trying to convey an important message through this format, don’t forget that interviews can make your company relatable and human. Ask the interviewee to share anecdotes and tidbits from their work lives. It will add an element of authenticity and personality to the message your brand wants to share. 
  • Keep it conversational: The interview format is better served colloquially, so being too formal can run them dry. So keep it organic, feel free to use background music to create a vibe, and connect with your viewers emotionally.
  • Add visual variety and motion: A static frame of a person talking will become boring within seconds. To maintain the audience's engagement, use a physical whiteboard, on screen text, or some B-roll footage. Also consider filming from two cameras placed at different corners. It gives different angles you can “cut” between while editing. 
  • Ensure great sound quality: Invest in a high-quality microphone to ensure zero noise or graining because the audio is more important than the visuals. Captions can help cover some bad sound but avoid compelling your learners to “read” information in your videos.

Bumble, a dating app, did a great spin on the traditional interview format to produce their series on employee morning routines. Their audience loved to see the company shed light on the workdays of their team members in a casual setting. Here’s their director of strategy sharing her routine:

Bumble video

5. Interactive videos

An average employee may forget 65% of the material you share in your training within a week. In six months, that number jumps to 90%.

People forget training material

Interactive videos break the monotony and get the viewers involved, instead of them passively consuming videos. Typically, it’s done using engagement prompts such as questions, quizzes, and the like in your videos to spark a dialogue. The viewer can also click on the video (in “hotspot” areas) to choose an alternate viewing path. Such proactive engagement often leads to better information retention:

Questions provoke engagement

But it’s challenging to blend your course material with the interactive elements seamlessly. So polish the transitions and other unifying aspects such as branded graphics. A great example is Lifesaver, an interactive film by The British Resuscitation Council (UK), which puts you in life or death scenarios for CPR training.

Here are some tips to get interactive video learning right:

  • Give ownership of your video’s narrative to the learners: You want to offer the freedom and flexibility to your employees to design their own virtual learning environment. Personalized learning that’s based on their decisions and outcomes will keep the learners hooked.
  • Reward viewers for engaging: If you’ve used any social media platform, you know what a dopamine rush feels like. You want your learners to feel the same so that they keep moving forward in the Learning Path. So reward them with exclusive content, grant a score, or use positive language to reinforce their efforts to interact and learn more.
  • Mind the script: How do you like an action movie with lots of stunts but lacking a plot? That’s how a viewer will find a video with lots of interactive elements but lacking educational value. So think of the narrative your video wants to paint, and ensure all the possible pathways a viewer takes are captivating and informative.

Final thoughts

For your training videos to have a tangible ROI, you’ve to ensure a memorable learning experience. Even if the purpose of your training is something else, your efforts will fall flat without producing engaging video content. That’s why choosing an apt video format for conveying your message is important.  

Research your audience, craft compelling video scripts that speak to them personally, and frame a realistic budget for the whole project. Only then will you achieve your desired results with training videos.