Does Video Training Actually Work?

by Daniel Wilder on September 29, 2022

There’s always a discussion now on the latest and most innovative ways to train employees to be more productive and work safely.  While the need for a diversified training program is ultimately the most successful, classroom training is an essential part of the process, either as an individual or a group.

For years, the integration of Power points and slides was the most common, with the occasional video clip, cartoon, or animation to reinforce the topic being covered.  But which tool is ultimately the most effective in comprehension and retention of the course being covered? Along with that, which teaching method has the most impact?

You can already guess it’s video.  But let’s understand exactly why that is.

Everyone knows that shadowing or working under an experienced worker is invaluable.  There are countless lessons and aspects which are instructed and conveyed, both verbal and not, to the new employee.  Ideally, this is the best process for integrating and educating an employee. However, it’s also not practical at scale, and with constant employee turnover, you may not have the experience available.  But that human connection and relationship carries far more impact than a handout or words on a board. This is where video can bridge the gap in our safety and training challenges.

We all know a picture is worth a thousand words and have heard that saying since childhood. But Forrester Research has shown us how a minute of video is worth 1.8 MILLION words in our ability to comprehend, with 90% of that knowledge being transmitted visually.  But most importantly, is that we learn 60,000 times faster with a visual representation versus a text based.

Here’s another way to think about it: If you’re browsing the internet and you’re sharing content with friends or colleagues, is it more likely to be video, or text?  Over 88% of people are more likely to watch video content versus text based. The reason? It’s visceral, video allows us to relate to the content on a human level.

But there’s another study which also reinforces it:  “The Pictorial Superiority Effect” indicates that using pictures and words together promotes a greater retention of the topic.  On average, three days after a course, we remember about 10% of the information we consumed in a word format. However, if video is utilized, we remember 65% of the information absorbed, specifically if it’s a blend of video and words.

The ultimate goal is to understand and grasp the content being taught.  If you have a live perspective of it, your ability to comprehend what’s necessary to be safe, is greatly increased. Not to mention, video aids in the ability to teach all workers the same foundation for a topic, minimizing confusion or conflict.  Power points or word based methods can leave out and also allow for “interpretation” in many areas of a topic. This lack of clarity can easily lead to a weak foundation for that employee’s success.

The other key area video is ability to excel at, is by providing a visual of environments and equipment which the employee may not even see or experience unless an incident occurred. Hazardous substances and improper lockout and tagout are only two examples, but only showing a slide with a picture and a few words isn’t sufficient in educating the employee.

This is especially the case with many New Hires having no starting point for their education and experience in a workplace.  If an unsafe act or incident begins to occur, and they already have an understanding of the initial warning signs from visual based training, they are more likely to respond safely and properly.

The goal of video training is to increase the comprehension and retention by providing the most realistic example of the workplace possible.

The result? Everyone can go home safely.