Video Training’s Twin Problems (and one more)

As 2016 continues to unfold, there seems to be a lot of concern about the future of training. One of the hot topics of discussions is how training should evolve to support the changing needs of the millennials, who are becoming a majority in the work force. One of the hottest trends is video training – short 2 minute videos that are easy to follow and address.


Don’t get me wrong – video training is a massive improvement over lengthy text documents and manuals. Training videos epitomize the desire for advanced, creative and dynamic training solutions. For a long time video training was an indication of advanced technological capabilities and superior customer service capacity. They even made poor navigation design and confusing UX forgivable, because there was a way to bridge the experience.


But video training comes with a pair of unavoidable twin problems – cost and decay. They are connected in that special way things that cost too much and live a very short life are. That’s the TL;DR. Here’s a breakdown of the problems:

 video training problems


In order to create even a bite sized training video of 2 minutes you usually need to:


  • Write a script
  • Hire a production professional or…
  • Find a narrator
  • Record, edit and narrate again and again until you get it right


All of this boils down to no less than $1000 per finished minute. For a 2 minute video, we are looking at more than $2,000, delivered within approximately one month.


We can always do this internally, in which case we might roll up our sleeves, pay  several hundreds of dollars to download a screen capture utility such like, say, Adobe Captivate. In which case, we will be obliged to learn how to use it adequately, a time-consuming task.


Also, this still leaves us with trouble-making twin #2 – Decay.


The days of annual releases and boxed software are long gone. Software today is constantly updated and enhanced to factor in trends and customer feedback. New features are added on an almost daily basis. All of this means that if you create a training video today, most chances are it will be stale in a few months if not weeks.


outdated content leads to decay

Every time you make minor changes to the UI, move a button, reorder a menu or re-design a user flow – the training video is rendered meaningless. When a video displays a scenario that is not accurate on page, several thing happen: the user gets confused and frustrated and consequently, loses trust in the video, usually resulting in abandonment and more frustration. Bye-bye, $3,000 training video.


This is a direct result of the video structure: it is built as a monolith, rather than a modular tool that can be updated without having to take apart the whole thing.


Seeing is Not Doing

The twins are, in fact, triplets. There is another issue that limits video training’s effectiveness: when it comes to software training, watching a video that shows you how to perform a certain Salesforce task doesn’t mean you’ll be able to actually do it the next time you log into Salesforce.


Users often end up viewing the video on one browser tab and pausing at the point where they think their memory might fail them. Our short term memory is limited to under 30 seconds. A user plagued by lack of confidence when performing actions in training conditions, will move slowly and take longer. Effectively, that means going back and forth between tabs, in imitation mode (rather than learning and internalizing mode).  Can you imagine wanting to repeat that a second time?


Eyal Lewinsohn is the CEO of Iridize. Eyal has been developing software for almost 20 year now, having led R&D teams when dinosaurs were still walking the earth. Eyal is a true believer in making the digital world accessible to all, and in the power of good onboarding to do that. Eyal holds an MBA from Tel Aviv University, is happily married and father to 3 kids and a dog.