Video Popularity with
Video: Seven Reasons
for its Popularity with Training Managers
There are many
reasons to choose video over film: convenience,
creativity, stability, flexibility,
and the playback and the recording features.
offices now have a television set and a VCR; even in pre-video days when film
was the only choice for movement and sound, most offices did not have film projectors,
screens, or rooms to accommodate them. Video takes a limited amount of space
compared to film. And video is more transportable. You can carry a camcorder,
video player, and a few tapes on and off places and in and out of cars much
more easily than film reels and projector equipment.
Video is usually less expensive. Duplications of a video tape, often
a necessity in a large training
program, is also more economical than film, since blank VHS
tapes sell for under $5.00. In addition, mistakes are much easier
expensive to correct on video than film.
After years of commercial television, people are accustomed to the
artful, dynamic quality of video. Video is a part of everyday
living, while going to see a film may only be a once-a-month or
once-a-year event. People are comfortable
dealing with a video, and they have come to expect the special effects
that video makes possible.
Much is being done with video character generation (producing words
on the screen), and the process is becoming
cheaper. Words can precede or follow action; words can appear
adjacent to or overlaid on action. Graphics can accompany narrative.
Many of the benefits
of the lecture method still so popular
with trainers can be combined with the added
benefits of subliminal reinforcement. The combination of words,
visual images, and graphics can dramatically
Stability. On the
whole, video withstands the abuse of travel, weather, and use. It is not fed
through a machine loaded with mechanical gears. Video can be stopped and restarted
with ease, where film cannot. Over a period of time, film may break and video
may stretch, but stretching is much easier to deal with in the midst of a training
session. If this happens, usually the tracking adjustment on the VCR will correct
the situation until the tape can be replaced. If a film breaks, it must be removed
from the projector, spliced, and then rewound.
If the heads on the VCR
damage a tape during a presentation, the problem still isn’t as great
as having a film break. And it is much easier to have a spare tape than a spare
Flexibility. A key
advantage of video over film is the ability to reverse and fast
forward to a specific spot with ease. Most VCR’s can search
or scan quickly with the image on the screen. In a training
situation, the relatively short time with which this can be
accomplished is a great advantage, especially when the subject is
behavioral skills. Trainers can use the scan feature of video to
re-sequence course material to fit particular needs, even something
as drastic as trimming a three-day course to one day. That’s
tough with film.
Recording and Playback.
As training moves into practice, video has its greatest benefit- on-site
recording. Most of us do not have a whole sound stage handy, which is necessary
for film. Video is more mobile, convenient and immediate.
of skills. You can tape a sales
representative’s practice session and play it back immediately
as part of several different
training methods: self-study, assessment, group discussion,
feedback, and suggestions for improvement. Fast-forwarding with
the image on the screen can emphasize the simplest unconscious gesture
or mannerism; an image is worth a thousand words in making sales
representatives aware of need improvements. Studies show people
learn more by observing body language and tone of voice. In this
case, the sales rep learns from his or her own image. The
immediate reinforcement provided by video is central in changing
Along these lines, video
can be beneficial in focusing on improvement of behavioral skills in general.
By using a simple evaluation form that parallels the skills being taught, you
have the perfect vehicle for discussion. A sample is shown in Figure 2. The
form becomes a guide for self-improvement.
Video taping is also very
effective for evaluating the organization and completeness of a sales
presentation. Depending on the skills being taught, an evaluation form might
rate a sales representative on his or her delivery alone (without regard
to content). A form for these purposed is shown in Figure 3
5 = Excellent 1=Poor Comments
Eye Contact (strong/minimal)
Again, when a form like
this is completed by both the sales representative, and the trainer,
you have a very useful guide for self-study, discussion, further practice and
assessment. You can also measure and document improvement over time by using
In spite of all its advantages, video does have some drawbacks. For one, it
tends to have a passive quality – it can produce an impersonal one-way
communication that lulls both trainer and trainee to sleep. Viewers are also
at the mercy of the taped information, which is often targeted to the slowest
possible student. Although the tape doesn’t have to be professionally
produced, good production can markedly increase communication.
Like film, video is harder
to update (for example, if the company changes its name) than are slides, handouts,
Video should be an aid,
not a substitute. Perhaps we should view video as a very tasty dish on the cafeteria
line of instructional tools. It is really up to us to decide whether it is the
main course or dessert.