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Video effectiveness research

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David Owen
Video effectiveness research
on Mar 23, 2009 at 3:08:36 pm

I am facing the need to back up the general assertion that video can be an effective tool in training. One client (in education) stated that "research has shown repeatedly that video isn't an effective means of training." She is an incredibly knowledgeable person, so I found this to be an astonishing statement.

Does anyone here have any resources for research on the effectiveness of well-written and produced video training?

Generally, I know people retain information better when it involves both seeing and hearing... something like 80% retention versus 40% for EITHER one alone. My belief is that research will show that a concisely written project applied in a practical, relevant way will be far more beneficial than a presenter with a PowerPoint presentation.

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Chris Blair
Re: Video effectiveness research
on Mar 24, 2009 at 1:51:36 am

You'll likely have to pay to find academic based research that uses scientific and statistically sound methods of making their case.

But just doing a quick Google search brought up a handful of abstracts and research studies that seem to clearly show the effectiveness of video in training.

But let's forget it's effectiveness for a minute. Let's just say it's equally as effective as in-person training. What about the following advantages:

Cost-savings of having to send an employee to every single training session.

The repeatability of's the same presentation every time.

You can check the accuracy of video and be sure it includes exactly what you need to teach people.

Video can be dynamic everytime. People have off days.

Video can show complex processes through animation, through product demonstrations.

Video can take you to mutliple locations to show you multiple processes and demonstrations, all over the world if required.

Video can bring top-ranking executives or industry leaders to the class each and every time, which is impossible with in-person training.

Video can easily and affordably be updated as training changes.

There are many other reasons video can be a great substitute for in-person instruction. So forget the argument of which is more effective or better. Focus on the HUGE cost-savings, the accuracy and repeatability, the ability to take the viewer many places and hear many people in a very short time-span.

Hope that helps.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN

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David Owen
Re: Video effectiveness research
on Mar 24, 2009 at 12:41:53 pm


Yes, it does help. And, I agree with virtually each and every point you've presented. But, the assertion that video is better than in-person training may be slightly over-reaching. From a trainer's perspective, it would be like getting in your car and driving a planned route, regardless of what you encounter... traffic jams, detours for construction, etc..

The angle I've been taking is this: Video is an incredibly powerful tool for training in the hands of a knowledgeable trainer, but you shouldn't simply stick someone in a room with a video and walk away, expecting to have "downloaded" knowledge into your trainee! A blended model of training (a trainer, though not necessarily an expert, using the DVD as the primary training tool) works best for all the reasons you cited. Having the person there helps keep everyone focused on the video and allows for the feedback loop for clarifications and discussions that can further the trainee's understanding.

An expert in the situation walked by my office door! Our conversation revealed that she has a degree in the use of multimedia in the classroom! If others are interested in this subject, I'll be glad to return and post some of the research that she says will more than back-up the value of video in training... let me know.

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Mike Smith
Re: Video effectiveness research
on Mar 24, 2009 at 4:55:58 pm

I'd be interested to see what she's picked out.

Though I'd guess that video, like any medium, can be used well or badly, and can be appropriate for some situations and not others.

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Mark Alexander
Re: Video effectiveness research
on Mar 26, 2009 at 6:17:53 pm

I posted a question similar to this awhile back and although I got some good replies there did not seem to be any solid statistical info known of here on the Cow. So yes, if someone somewhere has some facts and numbers that would be great.


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chris jones
Re: Video effectiveness research
on Aug 4, 2011 at 4:31:58 pm

Hi David
Can you share any research links on the effectiveness of video for training? I'm not finding a lot.

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David Owen
Re: Video effectiveness research
on Aug 5, 2011 at 2:53:08 pm

Chris J. -

After looking into it, I found the research that was available resides in the hands of academia and requires an 'educator' membership/password to access it. I think the better approach might be to pursue supporting data from the marketing world and extrapolate (read: "use common sense to apply it") to the world of video training.

Sorry I couldn't give you a URL. If you come across something, please share it here for us all!

- David

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Douglas Edwards
Re: Video effectiveness research
on Apr 8, 2014 at 6:39:06 pm

Hi, I'm an instructional designer who uses a lot of video and animation to teach people.

1. Video can be very passive, and most of us believe people learn better when they are actively engaged in the learning material, hence we like some kind of interaction with any learning that is not in a classroom. Software like "Camtasia" can add interactive hot spots and questions to the a video.

2. Video can be more effective if it tells a good story. Just like a good movie, people will be more engaged and remember more of what they saw if they see stuff in an engaging story. This takes a little practice, but people can do it if they spend time trying it.

So, if I use video, I always try to make it compelling through the use of clickable questions on the screen, or by telling a compelling story that is set in the context that is familiar to the learner.

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