The way we engage with content has gone through an empirical shift. It used to "sit back, relax and enjoy the show." It now has become I want to be engaged and entertained.
I talk to coaches every day, and I'm constantly surprised by how many coaches think that having a series of videos is enough to help clients learn complex processes.
For that reason, I think a deeper dive is needed to explain the difference between an interactive eLearning course and a video training course.
Now, don't get me wrong. Video training is immensely popular and helpful (look at the impact YouTube has made on our society), but like all tools, it has a place where it's effective, but it also has a place where it frequently falls short.
I want to clarify one common point of confusion I hear a lot from coaches, who ask, "I've seen eLearning courses that seem just like a video; what's the difference"? While an eLearning course may look and feel like a video to the learner, the interactivity built into an eLearning course makes it an entirely different learning experience.
Let's start with a general definition of both:
eLearning encompasses all the training delivered through electronic or online technologies, regardless of its format (web page, video, pdf, live streaming…), length, or any other feature.
Video Training is the delivery of training in a linear video format.
Which Learning Method Works Best for Coaches?
How can a coach be sure they are presenting their material in the correct format? Let's examine the differences between coaching with an interactive online course and video training based on the following key criteria:
Length of Training
eLearning (longer) – While individual eLearning course segments can be created in short doses (known as microlearning modules), the entire course is typically much longer. eLearning is better suited for more complex content that needs to be broken down into smaller segments, with the ability to assess after each stage. This allows coaches to keep their finger on the pulse, the pace, and effectiveness of their clients' learning
Video Training (shorter)- Training videos offer bite-sized learning - or what we term micro-learning - meaning that the entire training is completed in one brief video that should be under 10 minutes long. Coaches can use videos when there is some quick information to be expressed rather than a skill set that needs to be learned.
eLearning - tracking recommended: For eLearning courses, tracking is highly recommended because it allows coaches to monitor precisely what their learners are doing, how much time each module is taking, where they get stuck, etc. This will enable coaches to adapt their content to best suit their learners' needs and understand how effectively it allows learners to achieve the final learning objective.
Video Training - no tracking needed - Because videos are best used to teach a specific skill, especially concepts requiring a series of sequential steps, no monitoring is required. The learning objective is short, concise, and skills-based instead of more complex content and concepts.
Video Training - While interactive videos are currently being produced, they are expensive to create, do not allow monitoring or tracking, and generally are used for teaching a specific task or action rather than soft skills or more complex subject matter.
eLearning - eLearning offers a variety of options. Interactive eLearning courses increase learner focus, engagement, and retention. To do this, eLearning courses use different methodologies such as gamification, scenario-based learning, and adaptive learning. These types of modules are more successful at holding the learner's interest throughout the course. More interest leads to more engagement and more successful retention of information. Since most eLearning courses are delivered on an LMS, the instructor can easily monitor and track the learner's progress.
Ease of Use for the Learner
Video Training – Easy- Most learners are familiar with watching a video, and they can watch videos on their cell phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, etc. They can watch whenever they want, no matter where they happen to be—since videos can be downloaded, no internet is required. This means videos offer anytime, anywhere "on the go" content.
eLearning – More Complex - An internet connection is typically needed as eLearning courses usually require learners to be on a particular learning management system (LMS) or access a Learning Portal. In the past, eLearning material was not as comfortable to view on smaller devices. However, technological advances have made eLearning content more friendly for all mobile devices. The increased complexity of eLearning courses is needed to create the learner's highly interactive, engaging, and entertaining user experience.
Video Training is most useful for:
· Concise and clear step by step processes
· Quick, to-the-point updates
· Refreshing your learners periodically after providing in depth-training
eLearning is most useful for:
· Teaching more complex concepts and content to learners
· Creating engaging, interactive, and entertaining content
· Remaining connected to learners, monitoring progress, and adjusting course materials
Your content is your best guide when choosing between video and eLearning formats. Most of the time, coaches impart more complex concepts and processes to their learners, making video learning feel flat and unengaging to the learner.
Think about learning when you were in school – it's the difference between sitting impassively in a large lecture hall OR participating in one-on-one engaging learning sessions with a teacher. In which environment did you learn better and retain the information more effectively?
This example is similar to how it feels to learn from watching a video versus participating in an online learning course that gives the learner feedback, requires engagement, is entertaining, and elevates the learner's skill level.