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There's no shortage of reasons for why video is an effective learning resource. Not only are employees 75% more likely to watch a video than to read a document, email or web article according to Forrester Research, but video-based learning also has a retention rate of 65%. That means that the majority of employees remembered the material they learned in a video months after they first saw it.

Today, when watching videos on their computers and mobile devices has become second nature to your employees, omitting video from your learning content strategy is a missed opportunity, says Scott McKenzie, channel sales director at ej4, a video learning content provider and trusted Cornerstone OnDemand content partner.

But what makes video such a compelling training tool and how does a company like ej4 determine the best content for your workers? We sat down with McKenzie to learn some fundamentals about video for learning as well as hear ej4's specific approach to creating content.

ReWork: Can you explain the advantage of video as a learning tool?

McKenzie: We are exposed to videos almost 24 hours a day. It's almost a protocol for communication. We leverage that by creating training videos in a cloud-based video format. These videos are based on proven, academic and professional research and validation.

Hence, if you look at our videos, you'll notice that they have a tendency to resemble evening news: somebody in the foreground talking to you, background graphics changing with what you're talking about. If you ever notice, no matter where you travel in the world, evening news has the same format. There's a reason for that. That's the way adults want to learn.

What kind of content do you provide?

We are leaders in the microlearning space. We have content across four categories, with a total of 2,300 courses. There are about 950 business skills courses, 120 workplace compliance courses, 1,200 software courses and a new bundle — sad to say — of four active shooter courses.  Those new ones are designed to save lives by teaching employees what to do when an active shooter is present, how to defend and disarm the assailant, how to care for the injured, and what to do when first responders arrive.

How do you decide which new content to create?

We listen to the field. ej4 has numerous channel partners. I speak to sales professionals on a daily basis. They're approaching me talking about opportunities they have and some of the challenges that their prospect brings up. Sometimes, they bring up something totally new. If I hear another one start talking about it, I say, "Oh! I'm looking at a trend." Then I'll know our buyer development team needs to do some research on it. We also regularly survey clients, get feedback via our Learning Consultants and stay up on trends and modern issues on our own. For example, we now offer courses on opioid addiction and digital addiction.

What corporate challenges might video solve?

Not having enough time for learning is one of the biggest challenges that learners face. Workers are crushed with inter-office texting, telephone texting, emails, our workload, and all the projects we have to do. On average, the typical employee has 24 minutes available at the end of the week. That's a window that video learning could easily fit into, but not all video learning. So if someone's offering a course that's 30 minutes long, they're out of the game. Meanwhile, our courses average seven minutes. We can fit three courses in there.

What are some common mistakes companies make in buying learning technology?

Some just buy whichever option is cheapest, or they go with the brand they know, simply because they know it. But the stand-out mistake is typical of most shoppers: they don't know what they're shopping for. They're feeling around in the dark. Our job as vendors is to not only provide a good product but also educate shoppers on what works, what doesn't and why.

How has ej4 evolved since its inception?

We have made small changes to our design to make our videos more engaging while staying true to our instructional design because it works. We're sticking to our core when it comes to the way we build content, but there's new research and new findings that we constantly dig into. For example, at one time, we would not include interactive elements. We had research that suggested interactivity would detract from the course. Now, newer research says that, if done appropriately within a short course, interjecting some interaction is effective. So we've adapted accordingly and more interactive courses are coming this year.

Photo: Creative Commons