Do I need an eLearning module, training videos or both? 6 questions to help you decide.

No matter what you’re aiming to teach your audience, a key decision you’ll need to make is which medium you’ll use to deliver your training. In many cases, this choice comes down to two options – an eLearning module or training videos.

And while both videos and eLearning can be extremely effective methods of delivering training to your audience, it’s fair to say there’s a pretty big difference between the two.

From the level of interactivity on offer to the way your content is taught and delivered, and even the resulting actions your learners might take, knowing which platform is best for your particular type of training can play a significant role in achieving your goals.

As the question of eLearning modules or training videos has come up for our clients here at Magpie, I’ve put together six questions designed to help you decide whether to go for eLearning, training videos or a combination of the two.

(And of course, if you’re still undecided, our experienced team will be happy to offer their expert advice!).

  1. What learning objectives are you aiming for?

The type of learning outcomes you want to achieve through your training should be a key factor in deciding between an eLearning module or training videos as your mode of delivery.

Training videos can be a useful medium for teaching users a particular task or skill, while the interactivity of eLearning can make it more effective for complex or in-depth topics, as well as teaching ‘soft’ skills.

If your learning objectives require a higher level of engagement and retention on the part of the user, then eLearning – with its greater variety of teaching styles such as gamification or scenario-based learning – may be a better option.

The takeaway: Map out your learning objectives and decide which style of teaching and delivery will be most effective and impactful to achieve them. 

  1. What length is best suited to your training?

When it comes to your training subject, consider whether it’s best kept short and sweet or needs to be broken down via a lengthier delivery 

For learning that can be provided in under ten minutes, a training video may be an ideal medium that allows you to get your messages across succinctly and with impact. On the other hand, something requiring a more comprehensive approach – involving an hour or more – would be better suited to eLearning or a combination of both.

Also consider your target audience. How much time will they be willing (or able) to commit? For example, an in-depth 30-minute training session may not be the best option for busy doctors who can only spare ten minutes for the learning.

The takeaway: Determine the approximate length of time it will take to deliver the learning, in order to establish whether training videos or a more in-depth eLearning module is required.

  1. Do you need to track user metrics?

Depending on what you’re teaching, you may wish to monitor and track particular learner activities – such as learner uptake, length of time spent engaging, user performance etc. If this is the case, you’ll probably need an eLearning module combined with a learning management system (LMS) to gain the insights you need.

An LMS can provide you with detailed data and analytics about your learners, allowing you to drill down into things like user behaviour, engagement and performance in a way that isn’t possible with video alone. You can then use these metrics to create reports, provide feedback, or optimise your online learning activities.

The takeaway: Decide whether you need to capture user metrics and identify what data you’re looking to obtain before you begin. 

  1. How active is your target audience likely to be?

When deciding between training videos, an eLearning module or a combination of the two, consider your target audience and their potential level of activity. By this I mean, think about how much effort is reasonable to expect in order for them to access and engage with the learning in question.

For example, are your learners likely to take the time to log in to your LMS and complete, say, a 30-minute module? Or would a 5-minute video that covers the basics and can be accessed from anywhere be a more viable means of capturing their time and attention?

The takeaway: Consider how much effort your audience will be willing to invest to access the learning, bearing in mind that an eLearning module will require a greater level of activity.

  1. How in-depth does the content need to be?

Is your training content able to be delivered concisely, such as with a brief introduction, after which the user can learn the rest as they go (for example, for an intuitive app that doesn’t require in-depth ‘training’ to use)? Or does it need detailed explanations and more in-depth guidance?

For simpler concepts and ‘lighter’ training, video can be a great way to deliver your key messages in a way that’s easy to understand and quick to pick up. Alternatively, an eLearning module provides more scope for delving deeper into a topic.

The takeaway: Opt for video if your content is relatively quick and easy to explain and understand, and choose eLearning for more in-depth subjects.

  1. Are you aiming to drive change and/or action?

Aside from your goal of teaching your audience, is change and adoption part of your overall objective? In other words, are you also aiming to persuade them to engage in another type of action – such as adopting new technology, making contact, or sharing something with others?

Depending on what you’re looking to achieve, you’ll need to decide which type of platform will be most effective at driving change, engaging your audience, and encouraging learners to take particular actions.

 Video or animation can be a very effective way of encouraging adoption. 

The takeaway: Decide what actions you want your audience to take and whether video, eLearning or both will be most suitable to achieve your objectives. 

The power of two: Using video within and outside your online course

When it comes to the question of training videos or eLearning modules, it’s important to remember that it’s not always a case of ‘either/or’.

Videos can be used in conjunction with your eLearning modules, both within the course itself – such as through training and how-to videos – and outside of it to help with change management and to promote the eLearning.

Your One-Stop-Shop for Online Videos and eLearning Courses

Magpie Creative can take care of all your video production and eLearning design and development needs under one roof – so there’s no need to outsource or bring in another supplier for either component.

Our experienced team provides exceptional quality video and animation, while our eLearning specialists can design and develop customised online learning solutions to suit your audience, project and organisation.

Whether you’re after engaging videos, impressive animations, or end-to-end eLearning training courses, get in touch with Magpie and discover how we can help, every step of the way.

Joe Hughes

Joe Hughes

Founded Magpie Creative in 2014 after a long career as an IT Project Manager, including working on several large change programs. Magpie Creative specialises in creating engaging videos focussed on helping organisations implement change.