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The Benefits of Video in eLearning

June 29 2011 | By Kim Oates

In the late 19th century, Eadweard Muybridge took a series of photos of a racehorse galloping down a straightaway. The photos, later set to motion, are considered one of the earliest forms of video.

From there, video quickly evolved – beginning with silent films and moving on to “talkies,” Technicolor, television, and today, the internet.

There’s no question that the use of video is commonplace in our society today—YouTube has become a significant search engine; people go there to search for stuff over Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Things are no different in eLearning. It is becoming more and more common to include a video (or two, or three) in an online course.

Video not only adds a dynamic element to your online training courses, it has several important benefits that you couldn’t get otherwise:

  • Improves knowledge transfer and appeal. The VARK guide to learning styles suggests there are four types of learners: visual, aural, read/write and kinesthetic. Adding video to an online course is a significant help to both the visual and aural learners who might not have the same understanding by just reading the material.
  • Enhances understanding. Remember show and tell? There are times when you need a visual to help explain a point, and video is a perfect solution. You can simultaneously show your audience what you mean as you explain the concept. 
  • Reduces training time. In addition to enhancing learning, video can also reduce training time. It’s easier and takes less time to watch a well-made video than it does to read through pages of dense text or complicated diagrams to grasp a concept.
  • Demonstrates how products work. Without video, it can be very difficult to demonstrate to learners how a product works in the real world. While photos and animation can help, a video can bring the product to life for learners. A video showing the proper way to install a solar panel is better than drawings or photos with a voice explaining that you insert tab A into tab B.

The eLearning Guild's LinkedIn Group had a recent question asked in the discussion forum: Have you ever used YouTube to teach yourself something?  The answers ranged from “how to bleed a diesel boiler” to “how to set up a heart rate monitor”.  The options are almost endless. 

What’s your favorite video that taught you something?  Share it here, we'd love to watch it.