The Road Ahead – Trends for Learning in 2018 – Video

This is the year to invest in video learning.

Why? Because everyone prefers watching videos to reading, and Internet data seems to bear that out. Some 3.25 billion hours of video are watched every month on YouTube1.  So, video is mainstream, and has been for some time.

Most L&D departments – indeed most organizations – use video in some form to support learning. And, let’s face it, the phrase micro learning usually accompanies video in the same breath. But let’s unpack the video phenomenon a little more.

Helping us with that unpacking is a research report Using Video for Learning based on a survey carried out in October 2017 by the eLearning Guild2 across about 1,000 respondents from a range of industries3. At a big picture level, the report finds that where 41.3% of respondents used video for learning in 2009 this figure rose to 92.4% in 2017. The biggest surge came in the last five years: over 67% of respondents said they began using video in that time period.

Short videos of under five minutes are the most common output with just over 80% of producers4, and most video learning content is passive. A vast majority of respondents in this survey said their L&D departments created the video. Most people [over 83%] used video as part of a course, approximately 70% used it as short tutorials [micro learning], and just over 54% used it to supplement classroom training before, during or after the classroom activity.

Barriers exist to creating video that included subject matter not deemed appropriate, or costs exceeding budget.  This reflects our experience where cost and potential audience reach are major criteria when choosing to produce video.  We would add the rider that video is frequently considered to occupy a particular subject space, for example soft skills development, where a strong emphasis on realism is vital.

But video makes sense for a wide range of topics including onboarding (including the video mission statement from senior executives to newbies) and compliance topics, including roleplay and scenarios of ‘good’/’bad’ behavior; product and sales training, health and safety topics, soft skills and more.

 The Format

According to the Guild survey, most organizations created passive videos [66.3%] compared to animated videos [55.7%] or interactive videos [36.4%] and most video learning takes place on desktops.  While passive video may still dominate a large segment of videos produced, there is no doubt that video that is simply passive can lower attention and engagement levels.

We believe that moving beyond the more passive format to interactive video must be a goal for those designing learning with video.

What is Interactive Video?

Interactivity comes in a few different grades.

At a basic level,

  • Chaptered videos enable viewers to navigate and watch content relevant to them. Useful to measure and analyze which parts are most relevant to your audience.
  • In-video questions – learners respond to MCQs, True/False, Ranking, Text input etc.
  • Personal Bookmarks – learners bookmark video.
  • Interactive Scripts – searchable texts of scripts with jump to functionality.
  • Linked resources, other documents, web sites, PDFs etc.

At a deeper and more interactive level sits branched interactive video. The gold standard frequently mentioned at Awards ceremonies and exhibitions is Lifesaver5, an interactive video designed by the Resuscitation Council UK to teach CPR through dropping the learner into a variety of emergency situations where a variety of different situations demand prompt action.

The fusion of interactivity and live action film with the use of the keyboard to simulate compressions makes for impressive interaction and learning.  This type of simulation where action, roleplay or even rehearsal to webcam and a team of colleagues or supervisors allows interesting social learning possibilities with review, discussion or gamification functionality adding to the overall impact .

Further along the video development curve, we reach video in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) with a growing interest in 360-degree video (video capturing 360-degree view for VR applications).   Live streaming is also becoming a more popular video learning technique, recording instructor/presenter-led lectures in live or virtual settings and recorded for later review and use.


Vertical video – also known as portrait mode video – has become important, and indeed according to Snapchat6 has gone from an unforgiveable sin to a mainstream media staple practically overnight. It aligns with the move from desktops to mobile devices as the main way people consume online video.

While interactive video may be the gold standard, or the standard to ultimately aspire to, in more passive video formats, quality of production values may depend on audience reach.  By this we mean many organizations will go with lower production values for an audience of 40 or 50, but for an audience of a few thousand plus will push for a slicker production.


We Believe…

Video can’t be ignored.  It’s important to stay ahead in technology and functionality related to video, particularly in interactive video.  As we know, many training departments create video learning for their organization and indeed much of this video learning is often created by just one person.

This is made possible by the fact that hardware and software for video production has improved dramatically over the last few years with smaller fully featured cameras and equipment available at competitive prices.  Many video and audio editing tools, as well as animation and effects software, come free at the entry level. Stock video and curated public video content found on YouTube and Vimeo can be used cleverly to construct and complement a video piece.

Video learning has been around a long time for anyone who remembers the video laser discs of the 90s, however its use as a learning tool and component in larger learning programs is relatively new for most organizations and the baseline offering of passive, non-interactive video is giving way relatively quickly to more sophisticated, interactive, visual learning offerings.

Get on the bandwagon.

Intuition’s series The Road Ahead: Trends for Learning 2018 looks at the changing face of learning and, against that backdrop, examines what we see as the most significant emerging digital learning trends. 

Part 1: Preview

Part 2: Microlearning

If you would like to discuss any of the insights in this piece with our consultants, email





3Data collected from the survey is available in the research report, Using Video for Learning, by contributing editor Stephen Haskin.
Largest category is education [19.1%], next Finance/Banking/Insurance [11.4%], Healthcare/Medical [11%], Computers [7.5%], down to Automotive [1.4%]

4‘81.7% said they create videos under five minutes in duration.’ Using Video for Learning’ Elearning Guild, page 13.