Is Video the Future of eLearning?

2014 has been called ‘year of the video’. An astonishing 1.2 billion online videos are watched each day. But does this mean we’ll see a sudden surge in video eLearning? Unicorn‘s Senior Relationship Manager Sarah Nutley investigates.


It is fair to say that it is now a lot easier to create and upload video than it used to be- even on to an LMS. With the use of a smartphone, tablet, or even a webcam you can film and post within seconds! We are all capable of being the ‘next’ big YouTube star – we all have the equipment!

In all honesty, we’ve all had access to video equipment for quite some time now, so why is 2014 being deemed ‘year of the video’? Does it mean we will see a sudden surge in video eLearning? The answer is probably not, but the potential is definitely there!

As with eLearning, the definition of ‘video-based’ eLearning can refer to a number of things: the entire module can be video based or video parts can be incorporated. However it is used, video is a great way of engaging a significant portion of people’s brains. Check out the visual below to see the stats!


Add to these stats the fact that:

“YouTube is the number two search engine in the world.”
Forbes online

And you can see why people are far more conscious of videos now.

From an eLearning perspective, key opportunities to use video include:

Show not tell
Practical Application or demonstrating how-to or how-not-to complete a task. It could be series of clips that ‘show and rather than tell’. It’s a great way to focus on behavioural soft skills that don’t always translate in text!

Allowing the user to ‘live’ the experience and see what it’s like before trialling it in the real world.

Inject emotion
Adding emotion to important points or to convey messages, ie. the personal impacts of being involved in Money Laundering are much clearer when you have someone talking about them.


Time crucial announcements
Short video clips are easy to watch, easy to digest and easy to share so are a great medium when talking to the masses

Time saving
Reducing content users have to read, and providing variety in the learning.

On demand
Creating content that can be re-watched if and when needed.


Tying into another key trend – the move to mobile – video content is accessible in a way that written content is not, making it a top choice to get important messages into the world (or specifically a company)in a way that will get people’s attention.

“In 90% of cases, you can start (a video) with one of the two most effective ways to open a speech: ask a question or start with a story. Instantly you have people’s attention!”

To look at examples of where video is used for attention you can look at current marketing campaigns; did anyone see Three’s latest offering: #SingItKitty?


Within 4 days this had been viewed almost 2 million times.

At Unicorn we are embracing the video age, some of our OTS and bespoke content already includes video – in some cases it’s a vignette (short scenes) to introduce a module or conclude it but we also have entire video modules.  We can bring in actors and film on the green screen or use still shots with graphic treatments or in other instances we utilise animation videos. In fact our main types of videos would be these:

CEO/employee talking head or presentation style


Advanced videos include still product shots, diagrams or relevant imagery to aid the narrative or include animated diagrams, graphics and/or relevant imagery to aid the narrative like this example.

We can do 2D, 2.5D or 3D!
2D can be animated video showing off a product or your company with voiceover and/or music.  And 3D animation can give the user a new perspective without wearing ridiculous glasses.

Typographic videos


These are a popular type of 2D animation that relies heavily in typography by advancing a virtual camera over words, numbers and images in a fluid motion.

Character Vignettes
These are becoming common within eLearning. You can see a character at the curve of their success/failure and empathise with their struggles/fortunes or in the case just hear Henry’s story.

These videos are quirky and fashionable. They get to the point quickly with a professional voice over and accompanying drawn graphics.

The main consideration (excluding budget) should always be on what the module needs to achieve. It is true that a picture can paint a thousand words but you have a lot to think about – the content, the theme and the tone of voice.

As a final thought it’s fair to say that video can definitely be impressive and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. As long as it’s focused it shouldn’t take away from the learning it should only enhance it and in most cases make it a lot more interesting!

How do you (or could you) use video in your organisation? Let us know in the comments.

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10 responses to “Is Video the Future of eLearning?”

  1. Laura says :

    As an events company, we use video mostly for marketing – well done videos of our events inspire more participants the following years, and are easily shared by the participants who are featured in years past. We also do use videos for e-learning occasionally, and think our e-learning participation will definitely increase over the next few years as a time and cost effective way of training staff.

  2. Cam says :

    We’ve been using videos for a few years now and I’ve always found them to be very flexible and useful for training. For example we’ve been using videos for:

    1) Positioning – Useful when we can get our CEO to position companywide/important training event (classroom or e-Learning).

    2) Client Meeting Techniques / demonstrations – either cut the video into small chucks with an introduction, annotate on the video to highlight key points or imbed images/powerpoint slides (slides can build up to give an impression of a ‘poor mans’ animation).

    3) Evaluations – spot what is wrong and complete a form.

    The important thing is to keep it short(-ish) and engaging like multiple actors/ speakers and/or changing the scene such as cropping the video, use of images.

    I’m also thinking of using videos to do role-plays, where different clips are shown depending on what the user selects (done it with still images). Plus it’s easier and less time consuming then animations.

    Is 2014 the year of the video? maybe …

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