Scenario-based learning (SBL) videos can be a very effective way to tackle challenging training issues. From soft skills to safety training, SBL videos offer an engaging way to expose learners to the complications of real-life conditions in a practice environment. However, when these videos fail to meet learner expectations, the cause can often be traced back to one reason: execution. Having great content doesn’t always result in a great finished product.
Based upon our experience working with trainers and instructional designers, we’ve identified some key execution areas that can help elevate your next scenario-based training video from merely passable to an interesting and productive learning experience. Let’s dig in.
Having Your SME Write It vs. Bringing in a Writer
Most of the heavy lifting occurs in the scripting phase. However, relying on your Subject Matter Expert (SME) to pull double duty as expert and writer can be counterproductive. Enlisting a seasoned writer to help craft the right scenarios goes a long way towards meeting your training objectives. The most effective videos often rely on complex chains of vignettes, which benefit from the trained eye of an experienced storyteller.
Professional writers also tend to work faster and can bring a more neutral look at your content. Their fresher eyes can point out missed learning opportunities, identify unclear connections between learning points, and help you avoid the excessive uses of jargon that can lead to learner confusion.
Moreover, a veteran writer can help you build a diverse cast of characters, each with their own signature voice. This allows a wider range of learners to see themselves reflected in the people they see on screen, building empathy and boosting engagement. Add in realistic dialogue for greater authenticity, and you have a powerful package.
Producing It Yourself vs. Bringing in a Production Partner
Using your phone’s camera to film works in some instances, but not as the foundation for a useful video in all situations. Budget can be an issue when developing training. We get it. At the same time, go too low-budget and you may be undermining your organization’s training objectives.
Don’t neglect the importance of production values when taking on scenario-based videos that deal with issues of safety and compliance. Nothing yanks your audience out of the experience like stilted performances, poorly composed shots, and low quality sound. Working with an experienced production partner can make your life a lot easier here. A well-oiled video crew can deliver the visual impact you need to keep your learners’ interest. Most importantly, having someone else handle all the shooting details frees you up to focus on making sure your learning message is on target.
Using Staff as Talent vs. Hiring Talent
Acting ability probably isn’t a reason why you hired your staff, so why are you using them as talent in your videos? Unless there’s some important learning reason for your on-camera talent to be a staff member, avoid this approach. Casting the right talent—under the watchful eye of a strong director—will yield empathetic performances that solidify the learning you want to occur.
There’s a reason why learners respond so well to these types of videos. By creating realistic, multi-dimensional characters, scenario-based learning gives learners someone to latch onto and identify with. They see how key principles can apply to their own experience, which helps improve their retention.
Don’t let poor execution trip up your next training video!