How to use interactive video learning to engage users

Interactive video gives learners an active role in the direction and content of learning material; especially useful if they are using their own device or working remotely.

Working via links placed in a ‘hub’ video, the learner can be given more detailed information about what’s being said or done on screen at that point. There is also branching video which lets the learner make choices and takes them through a scenario.
This makes interactive video or film a powerful corporate learning tool to market for learning and embedding around business change. This example from HuStream shows the basic principles.

So what can it achieve?
You engage learners by giving them active control over decisions. You can include links to other videos; links to other supporting content; multiple choice questions. Each provides their own element of discovery, urging learners to adapt and immersing them in the content.

It’s great for tracking user movements and touch points, helping the development of future content to evolve in a learner-centric fashion.
So some advantages to consider then:
• It’s great for device/web-based distance learning
• The storytelling, connective narrative, works really well for getting the message across, the ‘why’ not just the ‘what’.
• It actively involves people engages them in a way that demands their attention and conscious choice
• It supports scenario based learning – particularly for safety training on oil rigs
• It’s more personalised, learners find out what they need to, when they need to
• Video production is getting a lot easier and cost effective with more production tools appearing all the time
• You can feature the sponsor of your change programme, providing the necessary ‘face to face’ equivalent – a massive bonus when you are dealing with remote learning
• You can measure what content appeals most to people and embed feedback forms

Complex training scenarios that involve a lot of reading could prove unsuitable for interactive video. Despite this, there is great potential for engaging learners with a message and a story behind change. As with all learning methods, what will suit one learning scenario won’t suit another and the initial change readiness discovery and training needs analysis work is particularly important to decide whether interactive video is the right choice.


How can Kaizen help us deliver better change?

Can Kaizen, the Japanese theory of ‘good change’ bring people together at all levels in a business for faster, continual change?

Kaizen – Japanese translated literally as ‘good change’ – is the practice of continuous improvement.

Under it, all employees are responsible for identifying weaknesses and ideas for improvement and everyone, at every level in the organization, is instrumental in making change happen. Everyone communicates across all levels to share ideas and collaborate. Read more

Social Learning: ‘A Course without an End’

In my previous blog I talked about Social Learning and knowledge-sharing as a facet of an organisations culture and identity; something that needs to be promoted and encouraged throughout the organisational hierarchy.

In the learning industry our role ‘outside the classroom’ is evolving. 

As a learning practitioner, it is easy for me to see the benefits of Social Learning. The majority of learning is done outside of the classroom / the eLearning module / the coaching session when a learner is working problems through on-the-job and practically applying learning (70/20/10).

Social Learning is about learners taking back control: learning is now about interaction and autonomy.

Effective learners are those that feel more empowered to take control of their learning, whether they are looking for skill change or performance support. They are realising they can find answers for themselves rather than waiting for something to happen. It is our job to provide an interactive knowledge-bank for learners to dip into when they need to… so how do we do this?

Make learning memorable: firstly our agenda should be focussed on learning that is short, sharp and relevant to our audience…but also learning needs to be memorable. Utilising different devices of conveying learning such as podcasts, vodcasts, how-to videos (the success of YouTube as a learning platform is remarkable!) and gamified content can all create a buzz in your community and get people talking…which is exactly what social learning is about!

Make learning sustainable (cultivate your social garden): social learning communities need to, especially in their infancy, be cared for; negative or incorrect content needs to be moderated and modified, valuable content needs to be encouraged and rewarded. This task falls at the feet of the learning community within an organisation.

It is our task to curate and administrate our social learning forums, theming content, ensuring content is up-to-date and relevant.

Social learning relies heavily on user-driven content and discussions. Our promotion and encouragement of users, as well as leading our community with examples of the correct types of content and behaviour will be a huge success factor in making a self-sustaining social learning network.

Market your learning: campaigns to remind and endorse learning and change can accelerate adoption within our communities. Combining strong internal communications and learning expertise can bring clarity and consistency in promoting an open, transparent, knowledge-sharing culture within your organisation, which is the bedrock of social learning.

The speed and complexity of the business world means that our employees often face cognitive overload and whilst we don’t want to add to this in any way with clever, memorable (!) campaigns, we can provide motivation to change behaviours and create talking points.

Utilise existing communities: since the boom of social media organisations have been trying to force a crossover into the corporate world. Companies attempting (with varied success) to utilise tools such as Yammer and Basecamp have often hit stumbling blocks with employee-endorsement…I have often heard the exclamation ‘what on earth is Yammer?’ from colleagues and clients alike.

What organisations have often failed to see the benefit of is piggybacking already well-established forums of social media. As learning practitioners we need to think creatively about how we can tap into thriving social communities and shift the mindset (of some of our organisations) away from the ‘dangers’ of YouTube and Twitter etc. and look at some of the opportunities they present – familiar tools for people to find easy ways to engage.

Analytics to prove success: ‘views’, ‘hits’, ‘likes’ and comment threads, are all visual ways of recording successes of social learning but what about the ‘lurkers’… the people within your network who are viewing content but not interacting within the community..? This is the fascinating thing about social media; for all the outwardly confident / outspoken users, there are 10 times (or likely more) that sit in the background watching everything unfold.

Admittedly I have been a lurker. In fact, I would wager that all users of social media have at some point, browsed comments or conversations without putting in their thoughts. So do these users gain the same benefits of the content? Of course they do.

It is in our interest to capture this fact using analytic tools, like market-leader Google Analytics, as proof to our senior leaders of the success of our networks. By extension the challenge for learning practitioners is to bring this ‘read only’, anonymous community into the interactive space and find out their thoughts and feelings… (now there is a thought… anonymous commenting?)

Social learning or learning ‘beyond the formal course’ has always been there but how can we bring it to the forefront of our organisations? Have you thought about a company Wiki? Or utilising Google Analytics? What are your success stories of memorable and effective internal learning campaigns? Have you utilised an internal or external social forum to seed changes in behaviour?

Social World but Unsocial Workplace? Trust in Collective Wisdom

Social Learning has very often been a ‘bolt-on’ to learning. So what’s needed to successfully implement Social Learning?

Forums or chatrooms have commonly created to encourage learner-led discussion post-learning. These have often fallen down through a lack of participation and absence of learner alignment.


How can we encourage higher participation?

How can we build trust in social platforms and learning?

How can we seed quick changes in behaviour?


Supportive collaborative culture

We need to start endorsing a knowledge-sharing attitude. This is easier said than done. Many organisations and individuals strive for that competitive-edge: people are more likely to keep a good idea to themselves for fear that sharing information may give a colleague an advantage when it comes to moving-up in the organisation. This certainly drives the wrong behaviours for social learning, and by extension strong collaboration in your organisation.

Learning in a social context should be short, sharp and relevant. The content should be user-driven but needs a degree of cultivation and curation to ensure the content is sustainable. Most important is that you have a sharing culture at your organisation.


A way of sharing

I was at a conference recently where a lot of my peers in the learning industry were recommending the ‘top-down / bottom-up’ approach as the best way to facilitate Social Learning.

At one of our clients, the CEO contributes his learnings for the week on their internal social media platform: this is an endorsement of social learning at the highest level. It represents shift in the behaviour of the senior leaders by making themselves more visible in their community and also acts to reassure staff that sharing is advocated. It demonstrates a cultivation culture and encourages participation (even for those competitive people in the organisation!)

The ‘bottom-up’ aspect is all about letting people know what they don’t know – i.e. did you know do that we have a brand new X? Or we have developed a Y way of doing things? This combined approach challenges people to keep up with developments whilst raising awareness that the organisation puts stock in this kind of collaboration…


Provide the resources

The curation of a social platform is crucial to its longevity, but this doesn’t have to be onerous or time-consuming. You just need to make sure the right resources are available. Then the results, much like if you planted seeds in your back yard, could result in a flourishing social garden.

So, have you got a thriving Social Learning culture in your organisation? What have you done to cultivate your social garden?

Stayed tuned for the 2nd part of this blog for tips on how to initiate and nurture a Social Learning culture.

Top tips on implementing gamification

The conversation about gamification starts in the board room. But what if you’re a project manager tasked with implementation?


Gamification needs careful change management, not least because you’re dealing with stakeholders with various learning needs and behaviours, and it will represent a big change for some of them.

Many people might like the idea of collaborating and having total transparency about their activities and achievements but others might not be quite so used to sharing. Here are some tips for successful delivery to your people.



Change Readiness

  1. Establish core benefits and success measures

Most important is to make all of the features meaningful to the business. This is a conversation had before implementation admittedly but if the rewards don’t align with user and business need then the project manager will find it difficult to get sustainable user adoption. Features like badges, leader boards and points need to be applied to the right objectives. Ultimately they should help users progress to personal and business goals that they can see are meaningful, support their performance and solve business problems.

  1. Communication channels

What existing platforms and channels are there? Will you only use social, collaborative applications or do the needs of stakeholders demand multi-channel comms?

  1. Cultural analysis

Gamification commonly involves sharing tools and collaborative technology which enable competition, ideas and progress sharing. Scope out the social collaboration and learning habits of your users. Social media and collaboration tools aren’t essential but their use will hugely support gamification across the organisation. You may encounter resistance to the term ‘gamification’. Some senior stakeholders may feel that the term trivialises the concept it is associated to.  Perhaps consider rebranding gamification as something like ‘enhanced engagement’ to get past this resistance.

  1. Map your stakeholders and do a impact needs analysis

Who are your stakeholders? What are their training needs? Are there silos or other cultural norms which will impede progress? You can’t change the culture overnight through your project but you can tailor the way you communicate with people based on a thorough knowledge of their working patterns and preferences.


During implementation

  1. Communicate

What’s the story behind the implementation and in what way does gamification support the vision of the future state of the company? How does it help the individual to do their job and align to the needs of the business? Consistently communicate the value to the user.  Give the context and the reasons why and keep it simple. Consider unifying comms and gamification with branding to engage users and create impact.

  1. Learning and support

Much of the support learning delivery involves community management; introducing features and benefits and sharing progress as well as providing ongoing support:

  • Outline the benefits, share results, reconfirm the business goals and the benefits and the problems solved
  • Get people talking to each other and let them see how they can help to solve each other’s problems through gamified learning
  • Encourage managers to participate and lead their own teams in games
  • Encourage pairing and mentoring between colleagues
  1. Measurement

Most apps contain back end dashboards.  It’s an obvious one but look at how often people discuss, share and download. Offer ongoing support and encouragement by maintaining an L&D presence in the form of community managers who can celebrate wins, demonstrate benefits and keep communication going.

These are some of the things to consider for a project manager or change manager faced with gamification. Careful change management with a focus on your people will support successful implementation. I’d welcome your thoughts on this. Have you incorporated gamification and how did it go?