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7 Strategies for Creating More Effective Technical Training Videos

Technical training is nothing new. But it’s becoming a development staple at a time when all of our roles — whether they’re considered “technical” or not — intersect with technology in some way, if only because of the systems and tools we use every day.

What is technical training?

First, let’s define what we mean by “technical training.” We like the definition from Training Industry:

“Teaching the skills needed to design, develop, implement, maintain, support or operate a particular technology or related application, product or service.”

So this might mean training on software or hardware — or other topics that are highly complex, where the specifics matter.

Why is technical training so important right now?

Evolving technology and market demands are changing the types of roles companies need and the skills required. In the next five years, 23% of global jobs will change because of how tech will transform industries, according to the World Economic Forum.

However, many industries — like manufacturing and tech — are struggling to find employees who can fill these new technical roles. So on-the-job technical training will be key for upskilling and reskilling employees to meet emerging needs.

Against this backdrop, Vyond customers and technical training experts Chaya Rao, Director of Training Development at Tanium, and Marco D’Abbraccio, Principal Trainer, DTS Learning Services at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, joined our recent webinar to share some of their key principles for developing technical training that sticks.

Watch the Replay

Strategies for better technical training programs

Chaya and Marco have learned a thing or two about good technical training from their experiences working in cybersecurity (Chaya) and healthcare (Marco). Here’s what they and their teams keep in mind as they’re building training programs for their internal and external audiences.

1. Never separate art from science and science from art.

Highly technical subject-matter experts may put more focus on accuracy and details (the science) than storytelling and learner experience (the art). But both matter in pursuit of our goal to create engaging learning experiences. 

“It’s up to us as designers to keep them in balance for the learner’s benefit,” Chaya says.

2. Pay more attention to what the learner needs to learn than what the product can do.

When you’re creating training about a product or service, it’s easy to start and stay in a product-first mindset. But that’s a trap, Chaya says. 

When learning is the goal, learners’ needs need to be front and center. This might mean simplifying experts’ language and using analogies to help explain complex concepts.

 “As you’re working with technical subject-matter experts, be an advocate for your learners,” Chaya says.

3. Explain the “why,” the “what,” and the “when.”

Taking the last principle even further: helping the learner understand why they should care to learn about this topic — the “what’s in it for me?” — is just as important as the information you share.

Chaya has found that stories are a great way to set the context and show learners what’s in it for them. Before her training videos get into “how” a certain product or service works, she creates a story with characters who can illustrate what’s happening, why a certain product or workflow would be necessary, and when this capability would be relevant. 

4. Give your videos a core visual identity you can draw from.

Good training materials are cohesive and have a consistent look and feel. You can boost learners’ recall and reinforce key concepts by reusing imagery and visuals you present in your videos.

Beyond training videos, Chaya says she and her team have found that Vyond makes it easy to create standardized visuals of Tanium product features and to animate simple explanations of complex, product-related processes.

5. Keep your content relevant, focused, short and sweet.

Marco keeps in mind that his audience in healthcare is time strapped: they rarely get time for lunch every day. He regularly produces training on familiar systems and tools, where his audience already understands the “why.” When you’re communicating “need to know” content to busy people like this, he says, get to the point. 

“Remember that not every video needs scenarios — sometimes they add unnecessary bulk,” Marco says. Also, try to avoid interrupting workflow steps with scenario scenes, or you risk blocking the crucial information from really sinking in.

6. Use humor — but in small doses and only around contextual information.

Humor can engage learners when used strategically. But it can also derail a training when it’s overused or applied inappropriately. 

“You’re not going for belly laughs here,” Marco says. “Just a chuckle or grin is a good goal, enough to keep learners engaged.”

Also, if you’re creating for a global audience, be mindful of how the humor may (or may not) land across cultures.

7. Design for longevity.

In a fast-changing world, Marco challenges us to think “evergreen” where possible with our content. Software user interfaces will change and require updating; that’s inevitable. But wherever else you can, avoid including elements in your video, like dates and cultural references, that’ll quickly mark your content as outdated.

For a deeper dive on Chaya and Marco’s principles, watch the full webinar replay

And if you’re eager to try out these principles in Vyond, get into the platform now — free — for two weeks or chat with us about getting a trial for your whole team.