Back at the start of the year Netflix’s interactive episode of Black Mirror ‘Bandersnatch’ gave viewers a new experience – the chance to drive the story by making decisions for the main character. Other programmes have followed, which may have been the first experience of interactive video for many viewers, but the concepts are firmly embedded in the gaming world. People expect to be in control and to touch screens. They want to view media anywhere and on any device, to “lean forward” and participate, to engage with (or create) the story and decide what comes next.
Interactive content has been around in the corporate learning world back to the days of CD-ROMS and earlier. However, this format is changing rapidly and is becoming much smarter and richer both in terms of what is on your screen and the data and analytics generated by the interactivity that can be measure don a learning platform.
Interactive video can allow viewers to control “what to do next,” and watch the characters in the video respond to their decisions. This permits branching, playing out consequences of making choices, jumping to what interests you and watching events unfold through the eyes of different characters. It puts you in the middle of the action and engages you to drive the experience.
Interactive video works well on most modern browsers and any device: PC or tablet, but it really leaps ahead of other e-learning formats on a mobile device. It does away with the suspension of disbelief required to dip in and out of the video, with conventional e-learning screens in between. Now you stay in the moment because you interact with what is happening within the video the whole time, even when answering questions, making decisions, getting feedback, and so on.
Video Arts have just launched over 100 interactive video courses, designed to engage and entertain learners with a richer, more immersive video experience than ever before. In each of the interactive modules, learners watch short videos that use humour, memorable characters and the classic Video Arts ‘wrong way, right way’ lesson structure to bring alive specific learning points. However, each video now has embedded hotspots that appear in each video, allowing users to learn additional points from pop up text and take a quiz without leaving the actual video. Future releases in 2020 will include branching within the video to change the storyline depending on the decisions you make and show the consequences of making that decision.
However, this more interactive and immersive approach to video in learning does not just have benefits for soft skills learning and it’s a fast, flexible and cost effective solution for user generated content too. For example, our client Evans Cycles have developed a suite of interactive videos to provide product knowledge training to its stores. Organisations are also using this format to create an interactive tour of the workplace where learners can visit locations virtually and meet senior executives and key team members. Safety training also lends itself to this format with on-screen hotspots to highlight hazards for example.
To quote Training Industry magazine “The historical divisions between “watch” and “do,” messaging and learning, and formal and informal training have broken down. Passive is out, experiential and participatory are in. Interactive video represents an exciting, evolving new format that can connect directly with learners on an emotional level, and engage them in their own growth and development.”