Skillsoft Blog

Need to Achieve Better Learning Outcomes? Then Video-based Courses need to be part of your Learning Portfolio.

June 23, 2017 | by Heide Abelli


The data on the popularity of video-based content speaks for itself - 8 billion videos are watched every day on Facebook alone! It’s pretty clear that people gravitate towards seeing content presented in a video-based format.

As it turns out, that there are really good reasons driving this preference, which also just happen to result in better learning outcomes.

Here are the top five reasons why video-based course content has a positive effect on retention.

# 1 The human brain loves images.

Did you know that humans learn faster from pictures than from words? Most people don’t know that our brains are actually designed for visual information processing. Called the “Picture Superiority Effect” when provided with information that is composed of both a picture and text the vast majority of us will remember 65%, whereas when presented with an image alone, our recall of what we learned drops to 35%. When only text is presented, our recall plummets to a paltry 10%.

#2 Sight and sound make for a powerful combination

Video facilitates the presentation of information two ways - visually and audibly. This kind of “dual-encoding” process significantly increases the likelihood that learning will move from the sensory memory in the brain into the long-term memory, ultimately resulting in both effective recall and subsequent application of the learning on the job.

#3 Watching a video makes learning fun

Because video has the ability to provide both drama and storytelling, it can be much more engaging than traditional instructional methods. Much like many of us are captivated by a favorite TV show, video training content at its best can provide outstanding edutainment. And if we are engaged while we are learning, we are more likely to remember what we learned.

#4 Show don’t tell

A video can take a learner to places traditional techniques cannot. Rather than reading or hearing about a concept “second-hand”, video can take the learner into a conference room where a leader may be engaging in a difficult conversation with a direct report, thereby enabling the learner to make an abstract concept more concrete. This really facilitates comprehension. It’s a “show me” versus “tell me” approach, and one for which there is no good substitute, especially when we need to capture the human interaction component in the teaching process.

#5 It’s faster

A video typically explains information in about half the time it takes to communicate the same information using only words. And given how most learners are starved for time, this makes video training content particularly useful and relevant for the modern learner while increasing the likelihood that a learner will complete the material.

Our course content in business skills has recently undergone a powerful transformation and I’m proud to say that our new video-based course content is second to none in our industry.

Heide Abelli is the Vice President of Leadership and Business Skills at Skillsoft.

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