Interactive video: a new way to teach soft skills

Employees today have such high workloads and busy schedules that sometimes taking time out to train isn’t top of their to-do list. In providing greater flexibility, elearning has provided a convenient solution to the training needs of many organisations.

Elearning content often lacks engagement

A major problem however, is that content often lacks engagement for the learner. The rise of interactive video has emerged as a very appealing solution to this problem, and its applicability is much broader than you might think.

What is Interactive video?

Whilst traditional videos can engage learners more than static content, interactive videos make the learner an active participant. It could be through making choices in branching scenarios or clicking on hotspots or video overlays. The more engaged and in control the learner is, the higher the retention levels will be – music to the ears of every right-minded L&D professional.

Learning soft skills through interactive video.Interactive video can be designed to quiz the learner at checkpoints throughout the course. By building assessments into videos, the learner and manager will be able to receive feedback on progress, wins, and fails. Again, this is a great incentive to improve in the future, and to make learning relevant to the job.

How can interactive video develop soft skills?

Soft skills are personal attributes which allow people to interact with others effectively. At first glance, it might not be the first area of learning you’d associate with interactive video.

In corporate work soft skills often underpin the company’s brand values. The way people behave is the way the company is perceived. So how can interactive video help learning?

With the ability to personalise and present realistic scenarios, containing behavioural choices, specific skill areas can be targeted in an authentic way. The choices can accurately reflect a person’s role, and they can be subtle and nuanced – as is often needed with soft skills.

Once a Learning Manager has defined their outcomes, interactive video can match learning objectives by including problem solving, gamification, role play, case studies or key speakers (to name a few). And all this interactivity can be tracked to provide the learner and organisation with greater feedback.

Soft skill training

Although not interactive, Media Partners developed Respectful Communicator: The part you play. The online learning uses video to train employees on inclusion, respect and communication in the workplace. Whilst there is no interactivity in their training, the course provides small scenario clips and on screen trainers to demonstrate guidelines that enable employees to immediately put skills into practice; a great start to the use of video for training.

In 2009, Hilton Hotels developed a training video game for use on the PSP console. Choosing from a range of four job roles, employees had to interact and work around the hotel as they would on the real job. A great element added to the game was employees being scored against a unique system to improve customer service. Despite being beneficial for improving employee skills and customer service for the Hilton, there was an obvious limitation – it could only be used on a PSP console.

Changing the norm of ‘boring’ e-learning for soft skills and to increase learner engagement, we developed Academy925. Our platform works to address corporate work training for poor performance and other workplace issues. Using our Near-Life™ technology we deliver training using an immersive gaming method.

Academy925 is based on the premise that experiencing situations first hand is the best way to learn. As much of the learning in this area is already done through role play – interactive video allows that role play learning to take place online.

Using a gamified approach, users play a newly hired manager and their learning experience unfolds in different ways, depending on the decisions they make. Each choice is recorded so that a report can be produced at the end of each scenario. This enable learners to understand where they made the right decision or where they went wrong so that in the future they are able to make better choices.

Final words

With soft skills being so valued by employers, interactive video is a cost effective way to help build them in a safe and supportive way.

It’s certainly changing the scope and potential of how these skills can be learned – and both learners and the organisations they work for are likely to benefit.

About Sonia Patel

Sonia has a passion for games and puzzles and how they improve the learning experience.