What is Video Based Learning?

03 October

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What is Video Based Learning?

How can video-based learning be effective? We explore the benefits of multimedia learning and how you can get started in creating your own video content.

What is Video Based Learning?

Video Based Learning is learning that is facilitated by video.

Videos offer a multisensory learning experience unlike any other e-learning medium. Video can integrate camera footage, animation, graphics, text, and voice so it can become a rich audio-visual learning material. So, it’s not surprising that video-based training is swiftly taking over as the norm for online instruction.

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Benefits of Video Based Learning

There is more than one way to learn. In his book The Principles of Multimedia Learning, Richard Mayer examines how mutlimedia can improve knowledge transfer.

“How can we help people learn in ways so they can apply what they’ve learned in new situations?”

He examines what makes a useful graphic and explores if incorporating graphics helps people to learn more effectively. From the evidence of his studies he founded the Mutimedia Principle that states: 

“People learn better from words and pictures than from words alone especially if you’re interested in transfer, if you want them to be able to use what they’ve learned in new situations.”

Mayer takes an evidence based approach to what we know about how the human mind works and looks at the research on how people process information. He has used this  to develop the 12 principles of Mutimedia Design that form the basis of instructional design. (Mayer, 2001)

When it comes to corporate learning Forrester Research reinforces Mayers studies: 

Employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than to read documents or online articles. The human brain absorbs 50% more information through moving pictures and sound than the next best medium. – Forrester Research (Lively, 2022)

Video is an extremely useful medium because it has the ability to combine visuals with sound and text, however Mayer points out it is not the media itself that creates the learning ,it is the instructional method, so whilst video can be a great medium for learning and knowledge transfer to be effective it has to be used within the context of good instructional design. 

Advantages of video based learning for organisations

As well as advantages for the learner, video learning also has advantages for organisations.  Video is unique in that it can show how tasks can be completed. Video tutorials at the point of need, where users can immediately put to use what they have seen can actively help to build skills, not just transfer knowledge. 

Once a piece of video content has been created it can be used multiple times. Instructions for a task that might have been pages long can be condensed into a short how-to video, and all these videos can form a searchable library that can be accessed from anywhere. This makes video the perfect format for training a hybrid workforce.

95% of companies use some type of video to train employees. And that’s not surprising, as teaching and learning through video is extremely convenient. (Coleman, 2021) 

Types of video learning & examples

There are some standard formats used for video learning, in this section we will take a closer look at the most common types.

Instructional Videos

The classic ‘how to’ video. This can be instructor led or generated by another user. These types of videos are easily found through searches in a moment of need and are used to demonstrate a clear task. They are perfect for microlearning. This type of video can also be used to reinforce learning.


A screencast is a video recording that captures the actions that take place on a screen. This is a great solution if you need to train your employees on how to use complicated software, because it shows the user demonstrating the software on screen.

Animated Videos

Animated videos use amination to create visuals and they can also use infographics. Sometimes it isn’t practical to have ‘real footage’ and at other times complex information needs to be distilled into clear parts and animation can be the perfect way to do this and still be engaging to the audience.

Interactive Videos

This is a newer format. In interactive videos, there’s a branching scenario,  viewers are asked to respond to situations by choosing this or that action. The scenario plays out depending on the decision they make. Those of you of a certain vintage may remember the popular children’s books in the 70’s and 80’s called ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’, these put the reader at the centre of the story, and you could choose different outcomes. Interactive video updates this process for online learning. Interactive video often includes an element of gamification. Gamification isn’t so much a format as a style and can be applied to any of the types of video mentioned, it involves adding a gaming element to the format, which is usually some way of rewarding the learner for tasks completed and also showing progression through levels. It is a good way to increase engagement and retention.

Tips for Video Based Learning

Video learning is great for learning in the flow of work, but to be successful in this you need to make sure your videos have a clear task-based focus that users can findwhen they need to, and then easily transition back into work.

Scenario based videos can also work well especially for broader training that is not just task focused for example in soft skills training like diversity training or people management, videos can be used to present the learner with different scenarios and ask them to navigate their way through.

Now you have read about the many benefits of video learning you might want to get started with making some video content, here are some top tips to think about before you start:

  • Define a goal and scope your project. Make sure your video has a clearly defined goal.

  • Choose a format . What type of video will work best for this goal, instructor led, animation, screencast, decide before you start! The format will inform also types of software and hardware you might need to use. 

  • Write a script and storyboard. This will help clarify your thoughts and keep the video focused, the more work you put in on the preparation the better the result will be.

  • Location. Think about a suitable location if needed; 

  • Sound. How will you manage the sound, is it indoors or outdoors, what equipment will you need. Do some testing first!  

  • Editing. How will you edit the final footage what tools do you have and what might you need.

Once you have a plan in place for all of these you will be ready to start creating great video content for your learners and seeing the benefit of video learning as part of your learning programme.

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