Triggering Behavioural Change With Microlearning Video

Bite-size video from the Workplace Essentials

Microlearning videos offer a new way to inspire people to change their behaviour.

Martin Addison, Video Arts, CEO

Just because you understand how you’re supposed to react in a certain situation doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll behave that way when the situation arises. This is a crucial distinction because it means that the goal of management, leadership and interpersonal skills training is not just to transfer knowledge or even to develop skills – it’s to guide the learner on a process of self-discovery.

Changing our behaviour is not easy. There are so many ingrained habits that need to be overcome. Intellectually grasping the concept that our behaviour has to change is very different from actually deciding that we will make that change happen. The challenge in learning, then, is to ‘trigger’ people into recognising that they need to change and how they can do things differently. Then you can show them the difference between effective and ineffective behaviour and allow them to reflect on their own practice.

In L&D, it has long been recognised that video content can not only stimulate, engage and entertain people, it can also very effectively trigger them to think, feel and act differently. Good video content achieves this because learners become emotionally involved with the characters in each scenario. I’ve always believed that humour oils the wheels of this process, by helping learners see the impact of good and bad behaviour in a light-hearted way.

What’s different today is that – with the explosive growth in the use of mobile devices – we can all consume video content whenever we need it. This has created the potential for a new form of video-based learning: microlearning video content that is digestible, engaging and easy to access on-demand. This doesn’t mean that the learning process itself is short. The point here is that people only need a small trigger to set their learning in motion. We’re all capable of reflective thought. We just need something initially that will inspire the desire in us to think and act differently as well as a belief in our ability to change.

The idea of providing relevant microlearning just-in-time is well established in L&D. However, the proliferation of mobile devices now means that L&D teams can use microlearning video content as another option for triggering behavioural change – and to provide on-the-job performance support or refresher training.

Getting the right content in microlearning videos

If you’re interested in using microlearning videos to trigger behavioural change, here are six attributes to look for in your video content:

  • A fast-paced script. The big challenge in a microlearning video is to engage the learner very quickly, whilst giving them a tangible take-away that they can apply in their working lives. The video should therefore cut to the chase and get to the learning point quickly.
  • A sticky hook. What’s going to pull learners in and keep them interested? Any learning video needs a coherent theme that is intrinsically relevant and rewarding. However, if you have a series of¬†microlearning videos, this need is even more acute as it will encourage learners to return and explore other content.
  • Credible characters. If a video is to engage people emotionally, learners have to identify with the characters and their story. They have to get caught up in the narrative and the challenges being faced. Condensing these scenarios into a very short space of time is no easy feat. As well as a good script, it takes skilled and engaging actors to make the characters credible and to bring the learning points to life.
  • Humour. If people find a situation funny, it has more emotional impact on them. A video may be slightly exaggerated for comic effect but if it portrays scenarios and characters that the learner can relate to, it is more likely to be memorable and effective.
  • Relevance. Whether or not your content is easy to access, it will only trigger behavioural change if people are engaged and motivated by it. The video content has to directly relate to the needs, problems or personal goals of the learners. Relevance helps to drive out any reluctance to learning.
  • Action summaries. Triggering people to think and act differently through video content is one thing. However, you also want to encourage them to reflect on the scenario that has been presented and on their own practice. Microlearning videos that effectively summarise the key learning points help to achieve this.

Creating an emotional response can inspire people to change their behaviour. Video has always been able to do this. Now though, L&D teams have another weapon in their armoury. Microlearning videos give you a new and different option for triggering behavioural change in a way that’s quick, memorable and above all effective.

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