Learning From The Best Is The Best Way To Learn
There are some really amazing examples of great virtual training out there. These 4 represent a variety of different approaches. By studying them, we can know very well what it is that sets them apart, and in addition what room is there for improvement.
The examples of great virtual training that we will analyze incorporate a safety film from Virgin Atlantic, a Blockchain explanation, the masterpiece of Ray Dalio “How The Economic Machine Works,” and an assessment of your options of renting and buying.
Virgin Atlantic Safety Film
This award-winning airline safety film from Virgin Atlantic is delightfully creative. It utilizes humor and relatability to fully capture attention. Like the main character, we’ve all probably ignored the safety demo at the start of a flight. This helps us relate to the video. We then learn through the eyes of the main character as we follow them through their dream sequence.
Here’s why this video works:
- Personalization with a twist: Each narrated scene has a different theme with a different design of VO. This helps bring contrast to each and highlights various learning points. It also holds attention by creating momentum and anticipation of what theme will come next.
- The contrasting themes also help with another learning principle, segmenting. Each scene contains a single, discrete learning outcome associated with safety (e.g., life jackets, seat belts, and exit signs).
- The background audio drops out at 2:38 when flight mode is started up. Did you catch this? There is just a physical a reaction to this, which reinforces the purpose. Sometimes, the absence of sound can have a robust effect, but we suggest using it sparingly.
- Another learning principle on display is that of coherence. The animations match the voiceover perfectly. While you might be surprised how often videos lack this, this video allows viewers to see and hear what to do at exactly the same time. Observe what goes on from 4:40 onwards for a great example of this.
What could be improved:
- Not much, but if I had to nit-pick, it would be the ending. The sequence beginning at 4:40 acts as a directory of the key learning points, which is really a smart method to visually reinforce the takeaways. However, it’s helpful to list these points on the screen in text form to underscore their importance even further. Consider a small list that builds in the corner of the screen. As we witness the action, we also have accurate documentation to refer back to. This saves us the mental effort of remembering the whole sequence of steps. But still, this really is one of the best types of great virtual training.
I love this blockchain video. It breaks a complex topic on to principles and applies the fundamentals of multimedia design.
What worked well:
- This video is another exceptional example of coherence at work. It weeds out any unnecessary words and graphics to cover an extremely complex topic in less than 6 minutes. Superbly focused.
- Pay focus on the timing of the display of words and graphics with the voiceover. They’re perfectly aligned. This principle is named contiguity plus it presents corresponding text and graphics near rather than definately not each other. Graphics and narration are also in sync instead of taking place successively. It’s subtle and you barely notice it. And, that’s the best thing.
- The 3 facets that make blockchain unique are well signposted (0:54, 2:31, and 3:17), creating 3 mini-chapters. The result is a set of clear takeaways that are reinforced at the end (5:26).
- The utilization of clean, simple, and beautiful graphics supports the narration. Too often, graphics could possibly get in the way, causing extraneous processing. That wasn’t the case here.
What can be improved:
- If such a thing, there are a few a lot of words on the screen in places. Take a review of 0:26 and 2:55. Notice how difficult it is to learn the text, tune in to the voiceover, and ingest the animation. It could have been more helpful to use keywords as opposed to full sentences.
- Another nit-pick, but I’d also show all 3 facets on the screen at exactly the same time near the end for a visual recap of the primary points.
How The Economic Machine Works
This magnum opus from Ray Dalio tackles the most ambitious topic of any that we’ve viewed: the entire economy! Let’s observe it does.
What worked well:
- The use of simple—and might I add, beautiful—animation and voiceover with sound files and music keep the momentum going. Don’t underestimate the role of background music! It plays an outsized role in creating energy, specifically for a technically demanding subject.
- As with one other videos, the signposting is top-notch. You can see clear chapters emerge at:
11:58 (short term debt cycle)
14:35 (long term debt cycle)
29:37 (the summary and conclusion)
However, these chapters present a possibility for improvement (check out the section below).
- You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. The transactions scene at 1:17 makes use of simple graphics that don’t change, but their placement does. By moving them around, you can create new relationships and concepts.
- First principles again, as the explainer starts with a small concept (transactions), then zooms out to show broader concepts (markets, cycles, and in the end deleveraging). Elon Musk will be proud.
- The video makes use of the thought of pre-training by giving definitions of concepts before showing how they connect with each other (e.g., credit, borrowers, lenders, assets, liabilities).
- Repetition is a good thing. For example, “credit is important” is repeated multiple times. Don’t believe me? Just watch from the bartender example at 9:15 and note how every thing before this really is pre-training.
- The utilization of on-screen text is minimal and always matches the voiceover. It’s contiguous, which we also saw in the blockchain explainer.
Here are a few things I liked at specific timestamps:
- 11:58: the short-term debt cycle explainer uses many of the icons, graphics, relationships, and concepts already introduced to show a brand new flow of logic—isn’t it scary to see how debt keeps rising despite each cycle being relatively short?
- 21:13: I really like the way they come back to the previous analogy of ordering a beer at the bar to elaborate on which an economic downturn is.
- 22:16: the budget deficits sequence is yet another perfect exemplory instance of starting with first principles and slowly zooming out to exhibit the interaction of all elements in the device (ominously ultimately causing social unrest!).
- 26:22: brilliant utilization of a simple question mark to transition between a statement of fact (deleveraging could be beautiful or ugly) and the explanation for it.
What could be improved:
- The video is just a little on the long side, nonetheless it covers lots of ground! I detailed the different chapters for instance of signposting above. While this type of feature isn’t possible with a YouTube video, a video in an on line course may use these as natural places to split up the video into bite-sized components.
- Introduce knowledge checks to ensure understanding from chapter to chapter. This helps learners scaffold their knowledge.
- An ever-present counter or list of the factors that lead to your debt burden might be shown throughout that chapter, just like a scoreboard during sports. This will help reduce memory stress on the learner as they now have to try to keep an eye on everything that’s been covered.
- The conclusion takeaways felt a little rushed, and there was an excessive amount of text filling the screen. I’d prefer to see all 3 rules on the screen at exactly the same time. This gives learners time and energy to absorb them.
Rent Vs. Buy
This last example of great virtual training breaks down a commonly misunderstood decision that a lot of of us need to make.
What worked well:
- The opening is well designed and introduces a thought (rent space vs. rent money), that resonates in its simplicity. It’s the initial principle of the whole video. As Elon Musk stated, the lesson here is to “boil things down to the most fundamental truths…and then reason up from there.”
- The example gets technical with the details of each and every expense, but this causes it to be more realistic. If your audience is motivated to master, they’ll appreciate more detail.
- The side-by-side comparison of assets and liabilities, shown over time, creates a compelling case study of the inputs that affect the outcome with this decision. The way they keep time for this creates a visual frame for the learner to scaffold new information.
What could be improved:
- It’s important never to rush video content. For example, this video quickly introduced info on re-investment rates and returns. It would’ve been nice to begin to see the variables in a graphical representation so you may see the inputs change first before you see the influence on the outcome.
If you enjoyed this list of types of great virtual training and therefore are looking for more resources, the eBook 5 Steps For A Flawless Virtual Training is the go-to guide that may help you start and develop your virtual training course. This eBook is for everybody who is passionate about creating meaningful custom virtual learning experiences. Your culture matters. Your corporate values set you apart. Your virtual training should reflect that.