How to Keep Employees Awake for Your eLearning Lesson

September 1, 2016 BY EMILY GRIFFIN
Updated: June 3, 2019


Employee training videos are a double-edged sword.

On one hand, they’re an efficient way to onboard new hires or teach existing employees new skills.

On the other hand, they have the potential to be, well, dull.

If people fall asleep watching your video, that’s not doing them — or the company — any good.

Here are some tips for making your corporate eLearning videos engaging and effective.

Keep Videos Short and Visual

If your employees have to sit through multiple hour-long training videos, you’re going to lose their attention fast.
The average amount of time viewers will watch a single online video is 2.7 minutes. Short videos will perform better because employees are more likely to actually watch them all the way through.

Shorter videos also allow you to organize your lessons in digestible chunks that employees can complete piecemeal throughout their workday or even on their commute.

And given that the average adult attention span is now only 8.5 seconds (less than that of a goldfish), your video should provide regular visual stimulation. Data visualizations, animations, and imagery can liven up a lackluster training video.

Offer a Downloadable Video Transcript

Some employees prefer to learn the old-school way: with hard-copy paper.

highlighting words on a pageIf your eLearning materials are all digital multimedia, the next best solution is to offer downloadable transcripts of the lessons.

Employees can print out the transcript and use it as a study guide while they watch the video, highlighting key parts or making notes in the margins. Then they have a great hard-copy resource to reference.

This technique works great in higher education and distance learning. A study at University of Wisconsin-Extension found that 50% of students use downloadable lecture video transcripts as study guides.

Enable Multi-Speed Playback

video playback speed options displayed: .25, .5, Normal, 1.25, 1.5, 2
Make sure your eLearning videos are delivered on a media player that offers multi-speed playback (like YouTube). Then make sure you enable speed options to be modified by the user.

Employees tune out if a video’s pacing drags or if the speaker style is monotonous.

However, it takes their full attention to keep up with a video playing at x1.25, x1.5, or even x2 speed.

Plus, they can complete their training videos faster!

Add Closed Captions

Studies show that people learn better when they can combine visual and aural learning.

A lecture-style video may not be very visually engaging on its own, but if you add closed captions, then the viewer absorbs information through audio and visual means.

This is a great way to improve engagement for videos in your eLearning archives that suffer from boring talking-head syndrome.

Closed captioning can also clarify speech if the audio quality is poor, if the speaker has an accent, or if there is a lot of unfamiliar vocabulary.

Many people prefer to watch videos with closed captions on, whether because of a hearing disability, learning disability, cognitive disability, language barrier, or just personal preference.

Employees on the autism spectrum may prefer closed captions, too.

Add Interactive Elements

Since watching a video is inherently passive, consider what you can do to make the experience interactive.

Investigate software solutions that let you add interactive elements to a video, such as polls or mini quizzes that pop up throughout. By prompting intermittent feedback, you compel the viewer to engage with the content and recall what they’ve learned.

Try adding an interactive transcript below or beside the lesson video. An interactive transcript highlights the words as they are spoken in real-time, sort of like a karaoke video. The text scrolls down as the video plays so the viewer can read along, glance back at previous footage, or skim ahead (see GIF below for an illustration).

gif of interactive transcript

An interactive transcript also makes the video easily navigable. Employees can click on a word and jump to that point in the video to review a particular topic. This gives users more control over how they watch the video, and that agency is highly motivating.

Ready to start spicing up your eLearning videos?

Explore video transcription and closed captioning solutions for your company here:

3Play Media closed captioning solutions: 99% accuracy, Unlimited downloads, 50+ caption file formats, Trusted by 1,600+ companies

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