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Interactive Video and the Changing Face of Training

In 1923 radio was first introduced as an educational tool. It was a landmark step in using new technology in learning. A mere 10 years later the relationship between technology and education had developed so quickly that 52% of schools had already incorporated silent film as a teaching tool.

Fast forward to today and we have the seemingly unstoppable rise of e-Learning. The rapid changes in computer technology have changed the face of education and have revolutionised the professional training industry.

Interactive video in e-Learning

The term ‘e-Learning’ was first coined in 1999. Since then the market has grown exponentially, more than doubling in size in the last five years. 98% of organisations now use some form of e-Learning with 91% of these users stating that e-Learning enables a quicker response to organisational change and 42% of these companies reporting that e-Learning increased their revenue. The online training industry has always attempted to keep ahead of the technological curve, and recently a new technology is beginning to cause a stir, interactive video.

This year 86% of e-Learning customers expressed some level of desire to access interactive visual content on demand. In the same survey the amount of people who strongly agreed that they wanted interactive video increased from 34% in 2013 to 46% in 2014. E-Learning isn’t the only industry to being to adopt interactive video, the marketing industry has recently released some interesting research about its own experiments with the medium; one such study found that interactive commercials produced a 300% increase in views, an 800% increase in shares on social media and a 90% increase in user engagement.

“In order to create an engaging learning experience, the role of instructor is optional, but the role of learner is essential.”

– Bernard Bull


Interactive video in e-Learning could be seen as part of an emerging trend of ‘gamification’. Gamification is already a huge market; by 2014 more than 70% of the world’s largest organisations had at least one gamified application; by 2018 the global gamification market is forecast to be valued at $55 billion. Almost 80% of learners surveyed said that they would be more productive if their university or workplace was more game-like. The results from this influx of gamification have been very positive, 70% of teachers said they saw an increase in student engagement when using educational video games and vendors claim that gamification can lead to a 100% to 150% pickup in audience engagement.

Despite the positive early results there is a lot of room for improvement within the industry as an estimated 80% of current gamified enterprise applications fail to meet their objectives, due largely to poor design. This is where it has been argued that interactive video can help, unlike conventional gamified applications, video content is very controlled. It creates enough interactivity to be engaging whilst keeping the content very much ‘on the rails’ – providing a disciplined and consistent experience system of experiential learning.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

Benjamin Franklin

Initial research

The first major piece of research into interactivity in e-Learning took place at MIT In 2012. After the initial crop of students finished this experiential course a survey discovered that 94% of respondents found one or more of the interactive features useful, furthermore, 94.8% of those surveyed would suggest an implementation of interactivity throughout the MIT OpenCourseWare site. They cited benefits such as ‘working at their own pace’ and ‘multi sensory learning’ as the reason for their extraordinary levels of engagement.

This research does not stand alone, a year later Dr. Kenneth J. Longmuir began to replace his lectures with interactive lessons on iPads. He went on to say “The most frequent statement was that students appreciated the interactive nature of the online instruction.” In fact, 97% of surveyed students said it improved the learning experience. They reported that not only did the online material take a shorter time to master than in-person lectures, but the interactivity of the modules was the “most important aspect of the presentation.”

It is becoming abundantly clear how important interactivity can be for education, it is easy to see how interactive video is beginning to take off. By 2016 98% of organisations are predicted to use video as part of their digital learning strategy. Increasingly however these videos are taking an interactive slant. Large scale projects like Digital Training Solution’s Mission Ready, a project with International Humanitarian Training NGO RedR, have begun to use immersive, interactive video as a central component in their learning approach.

“Education should not be about building more schools and maintaining a system that dates back to the Industrial Revolution. We can achieve so much more, at unmatched scale with software and interactive learning.”

Naveen Jain, InfoSpace

Primed for expansion

Since the slow introduction of Interactive video the results have been very positive. A recent Forrester report noted that average completion rates for linear videos in advertising, depending on placement and device, typically lie within the 50 to 85 percent range, typically however Interactive Video sees completion rates in of above 90 percent — often with repeated views for the same video as consumers explore all paths of the interactive storyline. Interactive video is clearly a market primed and ready for expansion, a tool that could be utilised to massively increase user engagement and may prove to be the next mile-stone in the e-Learning landscape.