As online education platforms evolve, producers of educational video content are gathering data on engagement patterns and evolving their strategies accordingly. With steadily growing libraries of video, they champion engagement and efficiency over all else, constantly questioning video's role within their overall content.
We video marketers can learn a whole lot from these analytically-minded producers.
Fulcrum Labs is an adaptive learning platform that turns instructional material and learning objectives into engaging, ready-to-use online courses. Their CEO, Patrick Weir, told us all about how they decide when to use video, and how their audience informs their production process.
How has your video strategy evolved?
When we first began as a content partner four years ago, we created video for every single section [of a course]. In the R&D stages, however, we discovered that students were dropping out of video rather quickly.
When it came to heavy expository-based content, the students began going straight to the Read modality. Besides the unnecessary allocation of time, resources, and budget, we realized that we were actually devaluing the other, more effective video sections by overwhelming our learners with too much video that didn't always make a memorable impact. As a result, we're much more strategic now and typically produce about 60–80% of video in a course.
How do you decide when to use video?
We evaluate video the same way we evaluate everything else in our content: how will this impact the learning experience in terms of effectiveness, engagement, efficiency, and overall quality of the experience? Can we show this concept or information in a new, memorable way that's not possible via a whiteboard? If the answer is "yes," we create the video.
In this video about Organizational Behavior produced for college students, our goal was to introduce them to the topic in a playful way with something they could relate to. We wanted to show them its relevance and give them something that would make them think. So, we created an 8-bit nod to the "Leeroy Jenkins" viral video with an Org B twist.
If the lesson is expository-based, then we don't go with video. It's important to really question if video will enhance the learning experience. We don't want to use video where it won't make an impact or waste our partners' resources where there is little or no return on their investment.
How do you cater to different learners?
It's important to note that our adaptive platform (where our courseware is ultimately housed and served) has been designed to give the learner options with three learning modalities: Watch (video/animation), Read (text/photos), and Practice (interactive, adaptive assessments).
Naturally, every subject requires a bit of a different approach, and creating an engaging course means considering your specific learners. We approach the look and feel and the tone of the course differently for airline pilots learning about new hydraulics systems than, say, high school students taking test prep courses or middle-aged couples learning about fertility.
Beware of video tunnel vision
As more businesses begin to use video on their websites, there is a tendency to start making video—any video—before considering the larger picture.
Chances are, if you're asking "What video should we make next?" rather than "Would video help us achieve X goal?", you've been affected by video tunnel vision. We get it. Video is exciting, and it can be an extremely effective tool, but like chili powder, it should be used discreetly.
When concepting for your business's next video, take a page from Fulcrum Lab's book, and ask yourself: how will this impact the experience in terms of effectiveness, engagement, efficiency, and overall quality of the experience?