Training graphic

How to effectively use video in training

lessonly logo
ilos logo

This was originally posted on and has re-formatted to fit this page.


Welcome Show of hands, who learned to ride a bike just by reading about it? No one? That’s because an enormous amount of our learning is visual and tactile. We learn from a young age that seeing something is an extremely effective way to learn. We like to be there when something happens. Luckily, that hasn’t changed much, and with the rise of the internet and various video hosting websites we can now create, share, and store videos easier than ever before. Using video to train and educate employees in the workplace can be an extremely effective method—when used the right way. This ebook will discuss the importance of video and visual training as well as some best practices for you to keep in mind when building your own.


To cover all the bases on how to use video in training, you’ll be hearing from two writers at two separate companies dedicated to making your life easier. Let’s get introduced:

Eric Rees - Marketing Writer // Lessonly

Eric Rees - Marketing Writer // Lessonly

Hey y’all! I’m Eric and I work at Lessonly. We’re a software company that helps people do better work by providing a learning software focused on the Learners. Thousands of Learners trust Lessonly to keep them up-to-speed so they can do their best work. To help achieve this goal in a more visual manner, we partnered with ilos!

John Stokman - Marketing Strategist // ilos

John Stokman - Marketing Strategist // ilos

Hello! My name is John Stokman and I do marketing at ilos. ilos makes it crazy simple for teams and organizations to record, store and share videos. We’re so excited about this partnership with Lessonly because as we’ve seen, teams have used video in their Lessons in a powerful way, and that’s what we want to teach you in this ebook!



You know how they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words. Video is worth a million”? Well, it’s true. Maybe that is why 93% of marketers are using video in their campaigns. Or why video is expected to take up nearly 80% of the web by 2018. But video is much more than a marketing and training tool. It’s a productivity tool. It’s a tool that exists to communicate processes and answer questions with simplicity.

Show me the science

The question remains: is there any solid proof of visual learning, other than anecdotal evidence like how I learned to ride a bike? Surveys tend to say—yes.

The benefits of video and other visual cues in a training setting has been studied for over a decade now. It has been shown in many cases to support and increase learning, when used correctly. Other studies have shown that “simply incorporating video into elearning environments may not always be sufficient to improve learning.” You need to use it in the right way

So, what is “the right way”? I’m glad you asked.

Context is king for learning

Lessonly is a great way to surround your employees with the context needed for videos to really make sense. Lessonly is learning automation software that companies trust to build out Lessons and Courses that get their employees up to speed.

When adding videos to a Lessonly Lesson, we suggest building context around why your Learners want to click the play button.

  • This is our specific process for adding a lead into Salesforce.
  • This is how you fold and pack a box before sending it out to UPS.
  • This is how you get our coffee machine to function. (This may or may not be an actual Lesson at Lessonly)

Context really matters; it’s how our brains are wired. In our Science of Learning series, where we examined our brains’ function when learning, we found that during the process of encoding, “the speed and strength of encoding increase when you have previous anchors of knowledge for new information to grab ahold of.” Surrounding an informational video with context explaining its importance makes the learning that much more powerful.

ilos makes it happen

Thanks to our partner ilos, recording helpful videos and sharing them through Lessonly go together like peanut butter and jelly. Not only does ilos allow our Learners to host the videos they already have, ilos is also great for capturing screen recordings of complicated processes on the computer. Building informative videos and surrounding them with Lessons that further explain their purpose are the keys to crushing your video training.

Click the video to play >



So what did we learn? Words and images are two sides of the same informational coin.

You can explain something sufficiently with one and not the other, but if you use both, you’ll be golden. Don’t undervalue the written portions of your training when looking to create visuals.

KISS (keep it short and simple)

Here are some best practices for using text in your Lessons:

keep it brief graphic lessonly

When You Need to Be Absolutely Clear

Whenever clarity is of utmost importance, written word is going to be your best bet. This allows you to spell out exactly what you need to say, leaving no questions about what you mean. This is why Terms and Conditions are still an annoying occurrence.

When Content Needs to Be Brief or Digestible

Video is great for explanations, but most videos tend to run longer than they need to. Research shows that there’s a large drop-off in engagement for any video longer than 60 seconds, but that the average length of problem-based learning videos is somewhere near 3 minutes. Use text whenever necessary to keep engagement with videos as high as possible.

Timely Updates

If you need to get in, update your team, and get back out without wasting too much time, write it down. The time invested in writing a paragraph versus preparing a photo, GIF, or video is much lower.

When to use video over screenshots and GIFs

As useful and informative as it is, video isn’t the solution for everything. There are other visual mediums that can convey information in a similar fashion to videos. Don’t forget about images, screenshots, and GIFs!

When you decide it is time to go visual, format matters. Here are some suggestions for choosing which visual medium you should invest your time into:


Sometimes, all it takes to explain a process to a Learner is a still image. These work best for actions that only involve one simple step like ‘Click here.’


GIFs are screenshots on steroids. Functioning as silent moving pictures, they are perfect for processes with about 1-3 steps. They work best for instructions like ‘Click the red button, and then scroll down.’


However, video is still the king if your process is a bit technical or needs extra communication. You’re going to want to use video for all processes involving 4 or more steps or anything that requires a voiceover (and or captions) providing an extra explanation. These are instructions involving multiple steps like: ‘Click the cog, then you will be brought to a landing page. From there go to admin settings and find the toggle bar.’

Different types of media



Creating videos can be really simple. Whether they are recorded in the real world or screen captures, all you need are the right tools and a sense of direction, and you can insert stellar videos into your Lessons in no time.

Once you get the hang of it, not only will customers learn more effectively with video, but you will also become faster at creating videos faster than writing out long text instructions!

Take it from the experts

The ilos team (of 12) averages making about 15 videos a day, so we like to think we’ve gotten pretty good at it. With that in mind, we want to show you what we use and how we use it. You don’t absolutely “need” this equipment, but we highly recommend it—especially if you care about the quality of your videos.

MIcrophone graphic
No volume graphic
Screen recorder playback graphic


The first piece of equipment we recommend using is a simple clip-on microphone. This allows your voice to come through crystal clear when explaining a process to customers.

We highly recommend this Lapel Clip-on Omnidirectional Microphone because it is easy to clip on and offers great quality and ease of use. The description doesn’t say it includes desktop use, but we use it all the time and it works perfectly.

P.S. Click here for an example of this microphones audio quality.

Quiet Room

Office chatter and background noise can be very distracting to your viewer. All you need is a simple room with walls and a door and you’re all set!

Screen Recorder

When it comes to a Screencast/GIF solution we might be a little biased. Not only is ilos a high-quality, simple-to-use screen recorder, it has literally been designed for people just like you. We built it with trainers in mind. We couldn’t find a solution that took the long, fragmented process of creating videos and put it into one app, so we made it!

With ilos, you can organize all of your videos in one spot. It’s fast, high quality, and really simple to use.

“I use ilos practically everyday at work for a variety of tasks. Primarily, ilos is extremely useful in creating and updating our Knowledge Base articles. Instead of just having a text walkthrough, I use ilos to generate step-by-step .gifs, which is such a value add to our customers because it allows them to see exactly how a process works in a matter of seconds.”

– Constance-Marie, Salesloft



Now that you’ve got the knowledge and the equipment, it’s finally time to start recording.

Here’s a couple of best practices to get you started when making training videos and screencasts

Plan ahead

Have you ever started something on an impulse and realized you were not prepared? Don’t get me wrong; it’s good to move fast. But without any planning, your videos will end up taking a lot more time than you thought.

Planning your visual content out will take only a bit of time and you will save you the trouble of re-starting everything from scratch—just because you forgot a crucial point that has to appear in the screenshot or in the video.

Writing a simple script will help you immensely. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a screenwriter who composes brilliant lines. Just keep it simple.

Here is the process I use:

  • Splatter all the points you need to get across in a video on a piece of paper
  • Format the points into clear sections
  • Place simple bullet points under each section

With a plan like that, you’ll be able to clearly convey the message in your video. Just make sure you don’t read each and every line of the script out loud like a machine. That’s why we recommend using bullet points; the video will sound much more natural and personal if you’re talking in your voice.

Get to the point

Videos are made to save time and prevent confusion, not to talk about what you’re having for dinner tonight. You don’t need a long intro (if any) or conclusion. People want answers and they want them fast. Your voice should simply accompany the video with a brief explanation of each step.

Stick to the key points to make your videos clear and concise.

Andrew, our Head of Customer Success at ilos, makes videos every day. Whether it’s answering support tickets or making help center content, he has gotten pretty good at it! I asked him what his number one tip would be, and here’s what he said:

“Make sure that the video you’re going to make is more helpful than text before you start creating. If you’re explaining why someone should do something, save that for the body text in your help article, but keep your video all about how to do something. Mark down all of the topics that would be easier for customers to understand with video as opposed to text, and keep that in perspective as you decide what to make, and how the video should flow.”

-Andrew Boucher, ilos

dont get to pickey graphic

Don’t get too picky

One reason video can become difficult is that we become too worried about tiny errors, which, in the end, aren’t really a big deal. It’s better to avoid restarting a simple video eight times.

Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it!

Wrap up


lessonly logo

If you’re interested in the Lesson creation and assignment powers of Lessonly, we encourage you to sign up for our 15-day, free trial and see if it’s right for you.

ilos logo

Ready to use video in your training lessons? Sign up and learn more about ilos and training.