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A Series of Effective Just-in-Time Training Videos Made by an Unlikely Source

“I got an email saying that the IT department had disabled my mobile phone account. I have no idea what I did wrong.”


My wife recently started a new job and earlier this week she showed up to work to find a new iPhone sitting on her desk. That evening she ripped open the box like a kid on Christmas morning and started getting it set up. She woke up the next morning to find a message from the IT department saying that her account had been disabled.

IT departments, always sticklers for superfluous stuff like network security and prevention of hacking, are just no fun. They seem to like rules. A lot. Unfortunately, most of us lay people don’t really understand these rules.

As I was making dinner later that same day I heard my wife watching something on her phone and chuckling. “Brian!” she called, “you’d appreciate these training videos.”  

I stepped away from watching a pot that wasn’t yet boiling and looked over her shoulder.

“What is this?!” I asked.

“Apparently I had to install something on my phone but nobody told me how to install it, so I googled it and found this series of videos,” she explained.

Her employer’s IT department had put together a string of videos to help staff understand why they need to follow certain protocols, how their privacy concerns would be addressed and how to install required applications on their devices.

Lessons for the rest of us:

  1. These videos are low budget which is perfectly ok. They get the point across to an internal audience and I don’t see how spending thousands of dollars on a more professionally produced series of videos would add value.
  2. Thought was put into the videos. The videos were scripted and choreographed and they don’t feature anyone just talking at the audience. The videos demonstrate the importance of the policies and what could happen if you don’t abide by them.
  3. Humor! I’ve worked with some great IT people who have outstanding senses of humor… but that is certainly not the reputation that IT departments in general carry. These videos allow the team’s personality to come out, make the IT team feel more approachable and above all, help to keep people engaged as they watch the entire video.
  4. Short and sweet. This particular video is only seven and a half minutes, and even within that timeframe, the video is broken into a series of shorter vignettes. There is no need to drag out the content or the key points.
  5. On-demand. Perhaps these policies were taught in the initial orientation session, and perhaps they weren’t. Who remembers anything about policies that they learned during their Day 1 orientation to a company anyway? These videos are always available for staff to reference whenever they need the information.

To provide value to an audience, training videos need not be fancy and expensive. They do need to be effective. Taking a little time to be creative about your content can go a long way to getting people to view the videos and change their behaviors.

If you have other examples of training videos you’d like to share, I’d love to see some examples of effective (or not effective) videos in the comment section!

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