Why video is becoming key to online learning

Why video is becoming key to online learning

Posted on: 8 December 2014

Why video is becoming key to online learning

In today's busy workplaces, finding time for employees to take part in traditional classroom training can be difficult and costly.  Training provided online can be a cost effective and flexible training solution. It allows employees to learn at their own pace wherever and whenever they want.

In a review of the workplace learning sector, the Annual Learning Survey 2014 report commissioned by The Learning and Performance Institute (LPI) highlights how online learning is beginning to replace face to face training:

"One important long term trend is clear: the reduced role of the classroom.”

Don Taylor, LPI Chairman

I spoke to two eLearning experts; Peter Gomms, Group Learning Technologies Manager at Mott MacDonald and Guy McEvoy from GuyKat, who offer bespoke corporate eLearning and online training. 

Mott McDonald have around 1500 employees learning online in 140 countries at any given time.  10 years ago they had just 6 courses, but now they have a catalogue of 800 with topics such as health and safety, induction, business skills and communication skills. Peter talked about how online training is particularly effective for Mott MacDonald as they have employees travelling and working around the world, often in remote locations.

For Mott MacDonald, online learning has replaced more costly methods of delivery and has been successfully adopted by employees across the business.  One example that Peter gave was the online induction course that replaced a book provided to each new employee.  For a company taking on around 500 new staff a year, the accumulative cost of the book was significant and there was no accurate way of measuring if employees were accessing the information fully.  Instead, employee progress could be tracked with the online course and short quizzes tested their knowledge on key points. The case for e-learning is clear, but what impact can video have?  

When I spoke to Guy McEvoy he was in Vegas for the DevLearn conference, about to go in to a presentation about ‘The Innovative Future of Video Learning’.  He says that when used appropriately “video is the way forward!”.  Here are a few points we discussed: 

Bitesize content 

Guy said that “increasingly, we’re working with clients to build libraries of bite-size instruction that is specifically task-orientated.”  Short, clear, well labelled video allows employees to access the knowledge when the need arises and dip in and out of learning.  Guy made the point that “unless they’re super diligent, learners won’t really concentrate on the learning until they want or need to”.

Self-paced learning

Learners can play, rewind or skip to the bits of video most relevant to them, allowing them to focus on areas they may be finding particularly difficult. This is especially valuable in ‘how to’ videos where a complicated procedure is being demonstrated.


Guy was very enthusiastic about Branched Scenario Learning, the online learning equivalent to ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books. Learners watch a video scenario, make a decision about where to go next and learn from the consequences.  Guy said that in his experience “when learners are driving their own learning they find it far more engaging and memorable.”

Online learning is here to stay. Well structured and high quality video is vital to engaging and retaining learners.  Using instructional video on an online learning platform can benefit a vast array of organisations. The accessibility and flexibility of learning resources is a catalyst for growth, no matter what industry you are in.


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Why video is becoming key to online learning



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