Before you make a microlearning video.
Microlearning videos are a rapidly growing component of many organization’s eLearning strategies. According to a survey by the Association for Talent Development (ATD), 72% of organizations plan to create microlearning videos in the near future, if they aren’t already.
For more on why microlearning is such a powerful strategy, check out the first two articles in this series: What is Microlearning? 5 Key Benefits for Today’s Employees and Why Your Company Should Create Microlearning Videos.
Ready to get started?
The first step of any successful microlearning video (or video in general) is pre-production — a.k.a., planning. It may be tempting to skip this step in favor of going straight to the execution stage. Don’t!
1. Set goals.
First, explicitly identify the main training goals for your learning program. Then, think about how this microlearning video (or series of videos) will align to those goals.
Consider questions like:
- What specific objective are you trying to communicate with this video?
- What objectives are you trying to communicate with the larger series this video will be a part of (if applicable)?
- Who is your audience for the video (e.g., all employees or employees in a certain job function or department)?
- How will the video be used in your training program? E.g., is it a supplement to an in-person training session or a stand-alone lesson? Is it an optional or mandatory component of the program?
- How will you measure success (e.g., viewership, engagement, assessments, etc.)?
2. Identify the scope.
Before diving into creating a microlearning video — whether you’re planning to make one short video or hundreds — consider:
- What is your budget (both for the training program overall and for the individual video)?
- What is your timeline for creating the video(s)?
- Who are the main stakeholders in the project, and what approval processes do you need to follow? Involving decision-makers early on and clearly setting expectations about how you expect to share drafts and receive feedback will prevent headaches down the line.
- What resources do you have available to help with content and production? Do you need to hire a subject matter expert, or request time from someone within your organization?
- How long will your video be?
- How many videos will there be in the series, if more than one?
3. Decide what kind of video you plan to make, and how.
Your goals, budget, and scope will help determine what kind of video it makes most sense to create. Will your video be live-action, animated, or a combination of both? If you have hired outside consultants or have a production team on staff, this is a decision you can make collaboratively.
Drag-and-drop animation is a great option for organizations of all sizes looking to create videos — especially if those videos need to be created quickly and cost-effectively. Animated video offers all the benefits of live-action, with far fewer resource requirements (e.g., no actors or studios or sets). Even organizations with larger budgets often choose animated video because it’s easier to update training modules while ensuring stylistic consistency across a video series.
Regardless of what type of video you choose, now is the time to sort out logistical concerns. What software program(s) do you plan to use? Do you need to rent or buy equipment or studio space? Do you need to hire or train additional people to produce the videos?
4. Brainstorm and outline.
Putting together a creative brief for your video is a good way to kick off the production process. Here’s a video brief template from Act-On Software that might be helpful as a starting point. Be sure to include goals, topics, and takeaways as well as who is responsible for each component of the process.
Then, develop an outline. Think about questions like:
- Is this a scenario-based video? Will you have a narrative? Is there interactivity?
- What is your main learning objective, and how do you plan to communicate this in the video?
- What situations or storylines could help bring your main point home?
- Will you have a narrator? Characters? Both? If a narrator, what will his/her personality and purpose be? If characters, who are they are and what will their story arc be? How will you use them to educate and engage your audience?
Remember, microlearning videos are “micro” for a reason. Each video you create should address one main learning objective. Trying to take on too much in such a short period of time is antithetical to the main benefits of microlearning, such as reducing cognitive load, maximizing engagement, and improving retention. Give yourself permission to create an expansive first draft, then be ruthless about making cuts. Remember that you can always produce multiple videos if you need to communicate multiple learning objectives.
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