Employee turnover is a problem all companies are trying to solve. According to an article in the Huffington Post, the top five reasons employees leave a company are:

  1. They don't feel appreciated
  2. The company isn't innovative
  3. There is a lack of training
  4. They don't like their coworkers
  5. Poor work-life balance

One big takeaway from this list is that training your employees directly impacts turnover. In fact, poor job training results in 40% of employees leaving their job within the first year! Before your new hire even gets up and running, they're leaving the company before you can recoup the hiring costs. 

Some companies must realize this connection because in the past few years the amount of time and money spent on training has increased. But on average, companies are still only spending about 11% of their budgets on learning tools and technologies. According to the 2017 Training Industry Report, on average an employee gets 47.6 hours of training a year and the majority of that training is happening in a traditional classroom setting. That's surprising considering that 80% of training budgets are spent on overhead costs for these classroom training events.

The Benefits of Video

Turns out, there is a more cost-effective and easily deployed method of training in the form of blended learning. We're not saying you need to completely eliminate your traditional classroom training, but supplementing it with some video-based eLearning can decrease costs, increase engagement, and expand the role of the trainer. Let's take a look at some of the ways video can benefit your training programs.


Our off-the-shelf programs are often used as pre-work to an instructor-led program. When you have a large group of learners together, people have different backgrounds, different professional experiences, and different levels of knowledge. Instructor-led programs may have participants who are novices and know nothing, and you may have expert learners who already know exactly what you're going to say. So how do we keep expert learners engaged while bringing novice learners up to speed? This is where blended learning benefits learners. By having employees watch video courses prior to attending class, you're bringing their base knowledge up and increasing the efficiency of your classroom time.

Group Training

Have you ever tried to train everyone in a department? You tell yourself you're doing two sessions and everyone has to make it to one of those sessions. But you never catch everyone. For those that miss the training event, information is disseminated through the rest of the department, so they're not hearing the same thing with the same level of accuracy. Recording your session allows you to perfect your message, deploy it to everyone, and ensure that everybody is receiving a consistent message.


Watching a video, or even watching parts of a video several times helps the learner remember the information. If you attend a classroom session you may get a nice binder or notebook, but will you ever look at it again? That's information lost. With video, it's easy to pull up and watch it at the moment of need and apply the information you just learned.  


Videos are demonstration-friendly, which makes explaining a complex concept easier. You can break down a complex topic and deliver piece by piece, creating building blocks for the learner. This allows them to master a skill and move on to the next level instead of overwhelming them all at once.


The use of video reduces travel, lodging, the amount of time an employee is out of the office, and instructor costs. We already know that those overhead costs make up 80% of the budget! Think about how that budget could be allocated to better training resources.


Video increases employee productivity because it allows them the flexibility to learn anywhere and anytime. Are you a morning person? Typically training sessions are first thing in the morning. But what if that's not your peak learning time? Then it's a waste of time. Video allows the learner to access the information just when they need it. As a result, video minimizes business disruption and downtime. Typically, the amount of time a person must spend being trained is reduced by about 40% and companies have the potential to increase productivity by almost 37%.

The Importance of Instructional Design

Anyone can make a video, that's why YouTube exists! But do you want to leave your employee development to amateur video creations shot with GoPro Cameras? You need videos that will get results and change behaviors.

That's where instructional design comes into play. Instructional design is defined by Robert A. Reiser and John V. Dempsey as "a systematic process that is employed to develop education and training programs in a consistent and reliable fashion."

Course length is a crucial component of creating a video. Not only are our attention spans getting shorter, but the average employee gets interrupted every 11 minutes (you can learn more about this in our whitepaper, The Science of Microlearning). So with short attention spans and frequent interruptions, do you think your learners are going to pay attention to an hour long video? How about a 30-minute video? Even shorter than that. Keep the program length around 8-11 minutes and if you have a more complex topic, break it down into several smaller programs. 

Design is an important consideration, too. Try to appeal to as many learning styles as you can when designing a video. For your visual learners, keep the design simple and clean. If there's too much going on, your learner will be distracted and the chance of retention goes down. For your audio learners, you want the information to be clear and easily understood. Avoid distracting accents and limit the amount of sound effects that you use. For your read/write learners, try to keep text a reasonable size. If it's too big, it's overwhelming. If it's too small, nobody can read it! Either way, it's a distraction. Try to limit the amount of text that you have on-screen at one time. 

The Bottom Line: Engagement

The bottom line when it comes to video training (or any training, for that matter) is that you need to keep your learner engaged. If they aren't engaged, they aren't learning. But don't confuse engagement with entertainment. Entertainment is diverting or amusing, but engagement occupies your attention and effort, attracts your interest, and gets you involved. See the difference?

You want your video to be engaging because that's what changes behaviors. When a learner is engaged, they're making connections and linking what they've learned back to the real world. Engagement also creates momentum, for the learner and others. After a program, a learner will apply what they've learned, see the success of the new behaviors, and want to build on it. Success breeds more success, so those looking on will be inspired to participate, too.

What Does this Mean for the Trainer?

With more and more people moving towards video training, the role of the "trainer" has changed. Note that I said that it has changed, it's not been eliminated. Most trainers move right into content creation. They are subject matter experts, so converting their leader-led programs into video is a logical transition.

Trainers are also great evaluators of content. They understand adult learning theory and they are familiar with the organization, so it makes sense for them to evaluate any training programs your company is using. 

What we're saying is that the trainer's place has expanded beyond the classroom. Assessment and skill gap analysis is imperative to determine what training needs to be deployed. Creating curriculum and learning paths is a great role for trainers, especially since they are the subject matter experts! They can carve out a training path for employees to follow. 

Want to learn more about blended learning and the evolving role of the trainer? Check out some of our other content!

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Kathy Irish

Written by Kathy Irish

Kathy joined ej4 in 2007 as our first Instructional Designer. She has over 15 years’ experience in Human Resource Management, Training and Organizational Development. In addition to managing and planning ej4’s yearly new content development, Kathy also oversees all the production on updates (both legal and style-wise) to current off-the-shelf content.

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