Video Captures the Imagination

By Mollie Lombardi, Aberdeen Group

Video has become an ever-present aspect of our multimedia lives. We can video chat at the click of a mouse.

Dance crazes are sparked by viral video clips. And who doesn’t love a cute cat video? So it’s not surprising that when faced with the question of “how do you do that?”, individuals increasingly turn to the Internet, where they can instantly find full-color, close-up videos on how to do almost anything.

Recent Aberdeen Group research on video learning showed that top-performing enterprises are learning how to harness the power of two-way video learning, providing access to video content from subject matter experts, and even enabling workers to create their own videos as powerful ways to share knowledge and support traditional learning efforts.

The Learning Challenge

Today’s organizations are constantly shifting to keep up with marketplace demand, and they look to learning to help keep their staff, customers and other stakeholders aligned to these continual shifts. Many organizations also face critical skill shortages, and understand that they must build these critical capabilities from within. But when it comes to using learning to overcome these obstacles, organizations face two key challenges: reinforcing formal learning back on the job (cited by 57% of respondents as one of the top two most critical challenges executing learning strategy) and linking learning programs to business results (cited by 43%).

Luckily, video learning technologies can help overcome these challenges. While the data clearly shows that the instructor-led, formal training programs are still the most widely used learning modalities (cited by 91% of survey respondents) top-performing organizations are looking for tools that help them support their formal learning programs after the fact. Tools like video, which can be accessed on demand or that can enable people to ask experts for help, are critical to supporting this goal.

Video can help engage individuals that are visual learners, and particularly when video is divided into short searchable chunks, it is useful for learners who respond best to just-in-time learning that is applicable to the current challenge at hand.

Video is also useful tool to capture knowledge from experts. When someone is asked a question and records their answer video, it becomes part of the knowledge base for the organization and captures that expertise.

It is also clear that the use of videodelivered content is helping organizations achieve business and learning success.

Organizations using video as the delivery mechanism for learning content are improving their overall achievement of organizational goals, are doing better when it comes to engaging employees, and are also more successful in developing their own internal candidates for key positions (including leadership and customer critical positions). When video content is integrated as part of a learning strategy, it is helping organizations achieve differentiated results. It is also important to note the video content is influencing overall business performance, enhancing the individual experience, as well as helping organizations mitigate the critical external challenge — that of limited skill availability in the external marketplace.

All Video is Not Created Equal

The phrase “video content” encompasses several different types of video uses. They can include externally sourced video content designed specifically for corporate learning, internally generated video, video conferencing and support of formal learning events, and more.

Fifty-nine percent of all Best-in-Class organizations from Aberdeen’s latest Learning and Performance study indicate they are using some form of video content. But organizations are also using two-way video, user-generated video and video collaboration tools as part of their learning strategy.

Top-performing organizations should look at video as a suite of solutions that can offer a variety of benefits. The ability to stream video content, interact via video, create, store, and search for video are all critical capabilities within a well-rounded learning strategy. And in particular, organizations look to avenues to record, store and share user-generated video as Best-in-Class organizations are almost twice as likely to utilize user-created content as part of their learning strategy.

The Intersection of Mobile, Social and Video

Emerging technologies are helping top-performing organizations overcome critical learning challenges by keeping new information top-of-mind and readily accessible after formal learning events. Learners can access bite-size chunks of content on the go, or search course curriculum to find what they need on the job. Three critical strategies that often go hand-in-hand by the use of mobile, social and video learning: Best-in-Class organizations are 93% more likely to have social learning as part of their formal learning strategy (54% vs. 28%); 94% more likely to leverage user-created video content (35% vs. 18%); and 119% more likely to use mobile learning solutions (35% vs. 18%).

Given the focus of organizations on using learning to help them be agile and respond to performance management challenges, the continued adoption of these emerging learning technologies — and their correlation to top performance — makes sense.

The research has also shown the significance of self-service learning portals among Best-in-Class organizations. Mobile and social learning tools fulfill this need for self-service access to content, encompassing real-time chat, access to frequently asked questions, blogs and wikis, on-demand access documents, courses and video learning.

Additionally, 67% of Best-in-Class organizations indicate that they have identified subject-matter experts and made them available to others to support learning efforts. Mobile and social tools can help that one individual subject-matter expert not only reach more learners, but they can also help capture the interactions and insights of that subject matter expert. And increasingly, video is the medium by which those interactions and insights are captured.

Learning and compliance often go hand-in-hand within organizations as well, and this is an area where video can be extremely helpful. By capturing a class or learning event that is tied to compliance needs on video, organizations can ensure that everyone who views that content is getting the exact same message and learning to do things the exact same way. Organizations often turn to external providers to provide them with access to a consistent, compliant learning content. They also turned to external providers to help them with the breadth of content they would like to offer via video. Amassing a searchable database of video content can take time, so organizations are exploring options they give them access to both in-house and externally created video content.

The idea of user-created video content is also intriguing in corporate learning. Learning leaders may struggle with the idea of giving up control over content, but the reality is video is being used for learning whether approved by corporate or not. One learning leader interviewed during the course of Aberdeen’s research had gone out to his organization to understand how they were using video for learning. He found employees who had Googled YouTube videos on everything from learning to tie a tie before their job interview, to how to install some of their products. External video content of unknown origin was superseding internal learning content. Organizations should keep this in mind and work to harness the power of internally created video. It can also play a role in compliance, or video may be used to track individuals demonstrating a particular competency. And quick cell phone video of everything from setting up store displays, to how to handle a particular customer situation, to how to use your LMS to sign up for courses can be powerful additions to the learning arsenal.

Key Insights

The use of video in the corporate environment will continue to expand in the coming months and years. Organizations not already using video as a significant part of their overall learning strategy should start exploring their options now. Providing video collaboration and streaming tools, access to both internally and externally created content, and even the creation of company-specific video content internally are all part of the mix for top-performing organizations. And particularly given the challenges organizations face when it comes to developing the next generation of talent, video can be a powerful way to capture the insights of your existing experts and use them to develop the next wave of leaders.

— Mollie Lombardi is principal analyst for the Aberdeen Group Human Capital Management research practice. She has surveyed and interviewed thousands of end-users to better understand the key challenges facing today’s HR and talent management leaders, as well as uncover the Best-in-Class strategies, capabilities, tools and technologies they are using to address those challenges. Lombardi is also a popular speaker at Elearning! magazine events. For more information on this or other research topics, visit

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