Employee training. The words alone can either make or break a standing good mood, depending on your outlook. If, for instance, you’re fresh out of college and starting a new job, then to you, training just means 2-3 more months of “school.” But if you’re like the rest of corporate America, then employee training refers to you logging into your HR portal and pulling up this week’s certification test, or finishing last week’s “quiz.” In a nutshell, we as a society don’t look too kindly on digital-based training in the workplace, but actually learning the hands-on skills you need to perform your job—that’s a completely different story.

I’ve been there, believe me: I’ve completed countless certifications, tests and digital packets through a multitude of human resources portals during my time spent as an auto mechanic. In a previous life, on-the-job “web training” was just another part of my workweek. Of course, there was a reason for all of it. If I wasn’t certified, I couldn’t complete certain tasks as a technician, regardless of whether or not I had the educational credentials to prove otherwise. Being a hands-on worker, there was one thing that annoyed me the most—if I’m working with my hands on cars every day, shouldn’t I be doing the same during training? Reading page after page of information online can only educate a person so much; it’s actually doing—interacting—that leads to a far greater payoff.

In August, interactive video solutions provider Vizigy unveiled a new interactive exercise application allowing users to embed quizzes and exams in their videos for training and education purposes. “Interactive exercises are perfect for situations where you want a viewer to respond to one or more questions before, during or after a video module as part of formal training programs,” says Randy Whiting, Vizigy CEO. But they’re not the only ones making waves in the video training landscape. With platforms now having cloud capabilities of embedding video content directly into a URL or webpage, interactivity-based companies like Vizigy, Tivi and Uscreen are proving to be serious game changers.

Employee training “classrooms” shouldn’t be a reminder of the past for workers in the professional world. That face-to-face interaction, wherein a trainer engages new hires in said classroom, doesn’t have to be a classroom of the conventional sense at all. Online video training doesn’t just impact one person—it benefits the whole team. Virtual training, even via video conferencing, ensures they are on the same page as the rest of the new hires.

New hires lose 70% of the information they’ve learned within 24 hours, which is why gathering all of the training materials online—and in one place—is crucial in preventing knowledge loss for these employees. But how does this pertain to on-demand video training? Sure, keeping a store of video knowledge aids seems reasonable, but obviously the content providers need to make money too, right? That’s where companies like J. J. Keller & Associates, a compliance solutions provider, come into play. Utilizing online training through their video on-demand purchasing portal, J. J. Keller “simplifies [work] by providing an easily accessible, interactive learning curriculum on a consistent, web-based platform for employees across varied locations.”

In today’s business economy, location is essential. If a corporation’s training materials are available “in-office” only, then there’s going to be serious problems. A New York Times article from last year stated that, “telecommuting has risen 79 percent between 2005 and 2012 and now makes up 2.6 percent of the American work force.” I, myself, am a remote worker telecommuting from my “office” in Kansas City to our headquarters in Seattle, so if all of my training materials were sitting in a storage closet nearly 2,000 miles away from me, that wouldn’t benefit me in the slightest. It’s having these materials online and readily available to employees with the proper credentials to access them that makes web-based training—namely through online video—a key element of any business’s infrastructure.

With video, managers and employees can facilitate more effective training at higher levels of retention, whether it’s through live webcasting or on-demand training modules. This methodology allows for workers to watch and process the information at their own pace, instead of feeling rushed in a physical classroom setting with an instructor beaming down at you. TrainingMag.com lists the top three ways of using video for effective employee training as: getting on board quickly, utilizing video for product launches and ongoing training, and showcasing guest speakers and professional development. What we once thought of as the norm for on-the-job education is gone, and interactive video training has taken its place.

(Originally published via LinkedIn Pulse September 9, 2015)


Max Greenwood is the manager & director of social media for Tivi: Truly Interactive Video, a radical new online video platform incorporating interactivity into live and on-demand video content.