This week’s post is brought to us by our special guest Richard Hart, Director of Sales Training at Georgia Farm Bureau.
There has been a lot of discussion in adult learning about how to maintain engagement in the learning environment. I have found it’s generally agreed-upon that adults are often visual/video learners. Adults today have grown up with video everywhere in their environment. Video is entertainment, it is news, it is communication, it is correspondence and it is everywhere. They encounter video on their television, computer, and mobile device; they even see videos on their watch! It seems natural then, to use video in a formal training environment too. In fact it is a darn good idea that has been used in classrooms for some time.
But how to include video when you are limited in budget and resources? This is the scenario I face in creating and presenting instructor led training to agents & CSRs in a large statewide organization – with a tiny staff. As with most training operations we are strapped for funds and simply can’t afford to pay for professional video production. Our answer: using videos produced by others. How do we use videos in training?
- we use videos to break up long monotonous topics
- we use videos to refocus attention and to keep people from drifting
- we use videos to visually represent key facets of what is being trained. If you visually “see” something you often can better understand it. If you can see it moving (video) even better!
- we use videos to augment but not replace the instructor and the material
- we use videos to influence and reinforce important points in our instructional design
- we use videos so training is not one long series of PowerPoint presentations with one voice talking in the background.
- We use videos legally, that is we ask for permission rather than assuming that using the video is OK. This is not as hard as it sounds.
Where do we find videos to use?
- YouTube is a primary source for many of the videos that we use
- We are careful to obtain permission to use videos on YouTube – Copyrights are often misinterpreted and the definition of “fair use” remains problematic. Better to ask.
- We use videos straight from the Internet using a URL. We used to download videos and edit them to fit the time constraints and topics but ran into difficulty in obtaining approval from content owners. They often want the video to be used in its entirety. Also, folks today understand and don’t seem to mind the ads prior to the video.
- Be careful though – not all of the ads are fit to view by a learning audience!
- By using videos from the URL (which we include in our material) folks can see the video again after class is over. Repetition is good in learning!!
- We use government produced or public domain videos wherever we can, we also use videos from training and nonprofit groups who are usually more than happy to grant approval.
- We occasionally use videos in class from cell phones
- We use this for role play where in the past we used to use VHS cameras as a classroom exercise
- This allows the learner to retain a copy of their role play on their phone
- We do not consider this to be “video” used in training – it is a learning tool however.
Why aren’t we creating our own internally made video library?
- Our company is small, our budget is small, our resources are small, but our training responsibilities are big. We simply don’t have the resources to expend on a video production capability – even though it is easier to do than ever today.
- We have successfully used online sources such as YouTube and thus have not felt the need to create standalone videos. What we are getting is working thus far!
- We also use eLearning and have included some video with modest success, but maintaining adequate production values of locally produced video are a challenge.
- Where this has worked is where we use people they already work with as “actors” – then it is fun as long as this doesn’t become a distraction.
- We believe the quality and depth of our training material is reflected both in the subject matter as well as in the presentation. If we can’t do videos well we will not expend our limited resources on creating bad looking videos.
A recent example of use of video in a training class
- The class was an introduction to farm insurance designed for new hires that had not had prior experience with farm insurance. Many of these folks have never actually been on a farm before. The goal of the class is to familiarize these students with the various types of agriculture they will encounter, get a general understanding of the risks of financial loss faced by farmers, and receive a general overview of the family of Farm Insurance products they will be using. This class is an introduction class which will be followed by an in-depth farm insurance school.
- We used videos to visually represent the following:
- A farmer talks about the financial complexity of modern peanut farming
- We see what modern poultry farming looks like, including what it looks like inside the poultry house.
- Students can witness modern dairy operations, and gain an understanding of what a dairy farm looks like.
- We cover how large farm equipment is used on the farm; in particular we show how a large cotton picker bailer operates. This is perhaps the largest individual piece of equipment that our agents insure –values can exceed $600,000.
- Learners can view produce/vegetable crops and risks encountered in their production. They see how they are different than field/commodity crops.
- We highlight commodity and field crops, both irrigated and non-irrigated, so learners can see how these farms are different. We look hard at cotton and peanut farming, after all – this is Georgia!
- We used videos to visually represent the following:
The use of video allows us to visually reinforce what we are telling students about the different types of farms and farm risks and they will encounter. It is a good way to set up more detailed training. It brings to life the importance of elements of the insurance contract which we will cover later. Finally, more and more underwriters rely on pictures rather than words to assess and determine insurability. It is critical that new staff understand visually what constitutes a good risk in class. Video works better than pictures to do this.
Today we are $0 on video production, yet video is incorporated in every new agent school, every Agency Manger school and many other training classes we do. We plan to continue using the ample internet resources available to include pertinent videos in our instructional design. It really adds to the learning experience.