The Importance of Captivating Training Videos

Posted on: September 18, 2014 by Nettel Media

Category: General

The Importance of Captivating Training Videos

We’ve been very busy these past few months working on various training videos. Meeting with organization leaders to shoot, subtitle and edit training videos got us thinking about how far they have come from just being purely informative tools.

It is important to get the information to your audience, but it is crucial to maintain their attention. This is why training videos now encompass so much background information and have storylines; acting almost like a small documentary or docudrama. This helps connect the content with the audience.

We interviewed our good friend Doris Rajan, Director of Social Development at IRIS – Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society ( - at York University, to hear her perspective on the importance of having a captivating training video:

Q1 – How can training videos remain relevant today, with online attention spans being as short as they are? How do they compare to those you created 15-20 years ago?

A1 – One has to consider that there is a real distinction between on-line training and in-person training. Each method requires a different type of learning strategy so therefore  the video length, messaging and content would differ. On line training requires shorter videos, even if your topic is extensive. You need to create a series of short videos that will keep people engaged, in combination with online text. A PSA usually is a good starting point that can provide in 30 seconds to a minute, a very powerful introduction to a topic.

In the case of in-person training like seminars, workshops, etc. you have the opportunity to engage with your  audience in person in the form of presenting information, discussions and the use of  longer videos. However, videos are more powerful in training workshops when they fit with the curriculum, raher than a  stand-alone piece.

Q2 – Storytelling is a great way to entertain, and most importantly keep your audience’s attention. What are some of the challenges associated with producing a training video that also follows a storyline?

A2 – In our case, many of the training videos deal directly with social issues, so story telling becomes important and powerful as it sets the issue in a real context. The challenge is not to become preachy, sentimental, or false in the portrayal of relationships and situations, but rather to create an honest reflection, backed by research, of the issue at hand. Here the engagement of artists that understand not only how to tell a story and use the technical aspects of film, but that also have the sensitivity towards a social issue, is paramount to create an effective educational video.  If you have a director or videographer that lacks sensitivity, then it will be reflected in the final story. Artists with sensitivity will create a believable story that connects with the audience.


Q3 – What are the main challenges that a specific curriculum/research pose to the production of a training video?

A3 – The biggest challenge is getting the facts right, extracting the essence of all the research and then translating all the points through art, working within the limitations of time, budget, resources, etc.

In our case, we identify how the information from the research will be translated into specific resources like workshops, brochures, presentations, etc. to convey the right information in a way that makes sense and is best exploited by the medium. Once we identify the need for video, we proceed to create a script with that information, knowing that the video is there as one piece of the whole training package to help participants engage in the discussion and tell them the main points of the bigger story.

When your research and curriculum are well intertwined with the art, then the result is quite powerful. We recently had a situation where a police officer who heads up work at her division on the issue of elder abuse, cried after seeing our video about this topic within the context of South Asian communities. She was moved because suddenly many of her interactions with families made sense and she hadn't realized people were experiencing the type of challenges that the video highlighted. When you see that result, you know people will learn and connect more, which is an amazing feeling.


As the attention spans of online audiences continue to decrease each year, it will become more difficult for standard training videos to connect with an audience. It is therefore extremely important to get the information across to your audience in an engaging manner. 

If you are looking to create a training video and need some direction, contact us.

(Photo: Dir. Pierre Tetrault and Erick Nettel working on a training project)

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