Video as a means of communication is becoming more and more common for all sizes of companies. Smartphones, drones and Social Medias makes it very easy for everyone to produce and publish videos, and it makes it possible for companies to act in a much more agile manner and reach a much larger audience than they were able to do in the past.
Preparation and quality is still important
Before creating your first videos, there are a couple of considerations and preparations you should do. Since our specialty is micro-learning campaigns which companies publish for customers, user of products, partners or employees, the focus of this article are the preparations for that purpose. But the same "rules" can of course generally be applied for other purposes.
#1 The duration of each video should be short
Research shows that the ability to learn, for the majority of people, drops significantly, if the videos are too long. The length of each video should be 3 minutes or less to ensure comprehension. In addition you should usually only cover one main topic in each video, and include from a few to 8 videos, not more than 10, in one micro-learning campaign.
#2 The target group
Who is the target group of the video. Is it well defined? It is important that you are fully aware of who you are addressing with the video.
#3 The idea? What do you want to achieve with the video?
The overall learning goal and sub goals of each video has to be defined – what should the learner learn and why? What do you want to achieve with it?
#4 The message
When you have established who and why, you can start looking at how the "message" in the video should be delivered. To ensure impact you need to keep three elements in mind: Is the message up-to-date? Is it relevant for the target group? Is the target group able to identify themselves with the message?
Instead of writing a "long" manuscript, a good and easy framework is to draw a storyboard. Make sure that you cover all the sub goals and mark where they are covered.
#6 The video quality
Since the topics and their learning goals are all now well defined, it is time to start recording the videos. But please consider, that even though it has become easy to record and edit videos, the quality of the videos are still important. If the picture and sound is in poor quality it may very well disturb the learner and have a negative impact.
Increase impact with Quiz and Certifications
Because the goals are well defined it is also easy for you to create quiz and certification questions. Using an interactive quiz with your videos will increase the impact. The number of questions should be kept low.
In the most cases we recommend that a micro-learning campaign includes a test, which can function as a certification with a badge. To increase the impact of the campaign, we recommend to include multiple passing levels, such as a Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum level. This can positively motivate the learner to finish all parts of the campaign, and additionally continue trying to learn and understand the topics if they score low. Some will even seek to achieve the highest badge level - and if the results are allowed to be shared, this will be an important part of the gamification effect as well.
How does micro-learning campaigns with videos look like?
On uQualio you can see some examples of micro-learning campaigns.
By offering academies based on microlearning campaigns, the academies can be launched quickly and be updated rapidly, and hereby support corporations ability to provide learning, motivate and act agile and quickly, and at the same time have realtime documentation at hand.
Why you should be using microlearning
The use of mobile devices have in recent years grown beyond predictions, and corporations need to take into account new ways about training. People not only want to be "trained" - they want to educate themselves and have access to the knowledge they need, when they need or want it, in ways they like and on all the devices they are using.
The quality of content is as important as always. But how it is served, should match how people prefer to learn and what is most effective. Microlearning fulfills both. And has additional benefits for the publisher of the microlearning campaigns. They do not have to cost a fortune and using the right software platform, it is easy and fast to create and update.
And why is it so popular? Because of its basic concept - Microlearning consists of small bite-sized chunks of learning - Topics - that are easily accessed and comprehended.
Academies and target groups
The first step when considering an academy, should always be the purpose of the academy. It sounds obvious, but in practice it may become a bit complex and difficult to define. In overall terms the purpose of the academy should be based on one or several learning goals and the group targeted. In this way an academy typically makes microlearning campaigns available:
The academy in itself is a collection of microlearning campaigns and can, if the campaigns are related, represent a learning path or considered similar as a faculty, comprising one subject area, or a number of related subject areas.
An academy could be provided for an overall target group such as your customers, users of your products, resellers/sales partners, or employees, and be further segmented. With resellers based on geography, size, products the resellers sell or implement for you, type of employees - sales people, sales managers, project managers, just to name a few examples.
The target group and the learning goals are interdependent of each other, since it is a group of people you want to help to reach a certain competence level within a certain field. So you might see it like these 3 examples:
1. Reseller academy
Goal: To increase leads and potentially your sales revenue.
To achieve these goals the academy should make microlearning campaigns available which make the sales people, working for your resellers, more knowledgeable about key features and benefits of a specific or several products, hereby increasing their mindshare and become better at promoting your products to their customers.
2. Customer academy
Goal: To create "ambassadors" and to increase the probability for reaching your long term sales goals.
To achieve these goals the academy should make microlearning campaigns available which make users of your products, working for you customers, better at using your products e.g. software, and hereby increasing their competence level and satisfaction with you as a supplier.
3. Employee academy
Goal: To reduce amounts of deaths in the workplace.
To achieve these goals the academy should make microlearning campaigns available which shows which situations could be dangerous, show certain procedures to follow, how to act when accidents happen, hereby increasing their competence level to avoid and handle dangerous situations. In this last example especially microlearning campaigns can be very effective and fast in creating and distributing important changes if new accidents have just happened to avoid new ones.
The microlearning campaign
A microlearning campaign consists of at least one topic, most often several topics. Our recommendation is that there are not too many topics included. The learner has to be able to grasp everything in one microlearning campaign when they are being tested in their understanding.
Each topic should always only have one video, and the length of each video should not be too long - 3 minutes or less to ensure comprehension. And we would usually include from a few to 8 topics, not more than 10 topics in one learning campaign.
To increase the impact there should of course also be an interactive quiz for each topic. The quiz questions have to reflect the learning goals for each topic, and the number of questions should be kept low.
In the most cases we recommend that the learning campaign includes a test, which can function as a certification with a badge. To increase the motivation for learning, we like to include multiple passing levels, such as a Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum level. This can positively motivate the learner to continue to understand the topic if they score low, and some will seek to achieve the highest badge level - and if the results are allowed to be shared, this will be an important part of the gamification effect as well.
When ready, a version of the microlearning campaign is published in the academy, and it is typically made available for a certain time period to the target group. In most cases you will at some point in time have to change the content, and publish new versions. And if relevant, the learners should be notified if there are new versions, so they can update their knowledge and certify themselves and get a new badge,
Briefly added up - It is important that the quiz questions reflect the learning goals and content of each topic. The test / certification questions can be the same as the quiz questions or different, but have to reflect the learning goals of the microlearning campaign as a whole. Finally the learning goals of the academy should be reflected in the learning goals of all the learning campaigns included in the academy, which the target group has access to.
The content and learning goals
Since the creation of microlearning campaigns shouldn't be limited only to L&D, but can be created and provided by several other professionals from the organization, like sales and marketing, quality compliance and security officers, and so on, we will briefly go through a suggested methodology for creating learning material based on the goals to be reached, shown through a "real" life example.
Creating learning content
Before the learning content is created, the learning goal or goals of each microlearning campaign has to be defined – what should the learner learn and why? In this way the author of a microlearning campaign can go backwards from the goals set. Since you develop microlearning campaigns which includes videos, a good framework would be to create a storyboard divided in the topics covered before you consider producing any videos. The quality of the videos are important. If in poor quality it may very well disturb the learner.
When the topics and their learning goals are well defined, it is time to start creating the videos, and the quiz and test / certification questions. And as mentioned earlier, we will recommend that you have multiple passing levels, of course dependent on the amount of questions in the test / certification.
An Academy example
In this part we show an example of how a setup of an academy could be implemented. The case is real and is shown anonymous, and the need is relevant for almost all corporations who rely on sales partners to resell their products.
The corporation wanted to provide an academy to one of its key resellers with main focus on one of their most important high-end brands which provides a high contribution margin for both the reseller and the corporation compared to their less expensive products.
Unfortunately a lot of sales people often promote less expensive products in the actual sales situation, because they often think it is easier to sell based on price.
The corporation and the reseller therefore both had an interest in educating the sales people, with the goal of making it possible for the sales people to know and understand the key product features and unique selling points of the product. This should make it possible for the sales people to promote the product when they are in the actual sales situation with a customer.
They understood that it would take some effort to change the mindset of the sales people and we came up with the following to fully increase awareness:
The Academy should be active for 4 month, with launch of one microlearning campaign each month. At the end of the 4th month the academy hereby would include 4 microlearning campaigns. Each campaign should consist of 4 topics – with launch of one new topic each week. When launching the 4th and last topic in each campaign, a competition/sales certification is also published as part of the campaign. Each topic should include one video, which of course should be of short length, and should include approximately 3 quiz questions per topic.
The Academy hereby in total consisted of 4 campaigns, where each campaign included 4 topics, 12 quiz questions and 1 sales certification.
The illustration below shows this in a visual representation.
Microlearning campaign plan
In text the campaign plan hereby looked like this:
Mo 1 – Campaign 1 launch in the Academy
Mo 2 – Campaign 2 is added in the Academy
Mo 3 – Campaign 3 is added in the Academy
Mo 4 – Campaign 4 is added in the Academy
Since the target group is working in stores, the invitations to the campaigns, the ongoing notifications of new topics, and reminders were sent by a combination of emails and SMS, and the learners could access the academy using PC, SmartPhone and Tablet.
With our newest version we now fully support Mobile and Bite Sized Online Learning; "an eLearning paradigm that has taken the corporate training world by storm. In a recent survey conducted by the Rapid Learning Institute, 94% of Learning and Development professionals stated that bite sized online learning modules were preferred by their learners" (Omer, 2015).
Suggested readings about Bite Sized Online Learning:
Why does Salesforce, Google and HubSpot provide free online learning? And why we built a tool to do the same.
These companies have done a tremendous effort by creating sites where you can learn by watching video tutorials and certify yourselves for free - again and again - a very effective learning method for busy people who are using their products for work.
Let me start by pointing out. None of these companies would provide this for free if it doesn't generate value. No one would, and I am pretty sure that each of them have good reasons. The answer to the question is probably therefore quite simple. Because it provides value to their customers and themselves at the same time.
So, what could the value be?
Value for the provider of the free online learning
From an overall business perspective some of important values to be gained by companies when providing free online learning are:
So, for corporations, there is an opportunity of positive branding, increased or stable business, and cost savings.
Value for the customers and the individual users
I probably do not need to mention this. The customers and the individual users of the products also get a lot in return:
Can other companies do the same?
What the solutions of the 3 companies among other have in common, is that their solutions are not available as an online software tool for other organizations to use for publishing learning campaigns.
This was where we started to wonder. Wouldn't it make sense for other companies to do the same? We were certain of that. And we chose to do something about it. We recently finished developing the first version of an online software system, where companies can do the same. It is called uQualio and can be found on app.uQualio.com. It is provided as a social platform for individuals and companies, and interacts from a user perspective seamlessly with other social networks. All material and tests are offered completely for free for the individual users. The users can learn, take tests, engage in competitions, save and share their badges.
For the corporations it works as an online software tool for them to publish learning campaigns including e.g. new or current product versions, new releases, new features, support material, webinars, advanced product demos, etc. We hereby make it possible for small and medium sized companies to do the same as the larger ones. No reason to pay a fortune to develop and maintain own sites, if you can get it as SaaS, more affordable and constantly improved based on experiences from users and other customers, and always available from any device.
To make sure that the decision is very easy to make, we are offering a subscription model. Companies are only paying for the amount of active campaigns they need and at a very low price. We suggest that companies create several academies and that each campaign is developed and published with the target group in mind e.g. Sales, Customer Care, Services, Product Managers, Accounting, IT Administrators, etc. That will provide the most value to each user.
Why not just use YouTube?
We of course did some research and found that many already on YouTube had published training videos, advanced product demos, webinars, video tutorials, and so forth. That was good news for us. Confirming the companies' understanding of the value of providing free online learning. Unfortunately for the companies YouTube is not the best place for doing so.
The material is drowning
Firstly, the most of the material is “drowning” in the success of YouTube, and it can be difficult for users to find, and is hardly being watched compared to the potential. E.g. some business software vendors have millions of users and only a few thousand views.
Not a learning system
Secondly, YouTube has a great technology to show videos. But YouTube is not a learning system. Simply watching videos doesn’t motivate the watchers to learn something and to promote the company offering it. Learning demands interaction, and learners want to be rewarded, appreciated and praised for their effort. And to show that they are qualified. This is what uQualio can help the companies and individuals to do.
So instead of only using YouTube, uQualio can in combination with YouTube videos help to make the tutorials easy to find, visible, interactive and interesting for the users, even the existing videos, and create value to both the companies and the users of their products. And individuals will notice if companies publish valuable content on uQualio, making it easier for them to prove their qualifications. In some cases qualifications they already partly or completely possess, but can't document having. Now they can.
Thanks to our network
Finally I would like to use this opportunity to say: "Thank you!" to all the people in our network who recently helped us by "stress" testing our software. I wish you all a Great 2017 - Happy New Year!
If you are interested in knowing more about our company and uQualio, please contact us.