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How to Make Training Videos That Engage & Retain

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Split-screen showing two different angles of woman delivering training video on laptop.

It’s no surprise that in the last few years, work, home, and school environments have changed drastically. As a result, online learning has gone viral — especially in the workplace. As of this year, a full 88% of companies use training videos as part of their professional learning programs.

But video alone is just the start. The companies seeing the best ROI from their L&D programming are the ones who take it one step further. Enter interactivity.

Whether you’re just building out your L&D video content or are a seasoned pro looking for better ways to engage employees, we have everything you need in this interactive training video guide.

We’ll cover the following topics:

Let's dive in!

What is a training video?

Female manager points at computer while female new hire sits engaged. Blend auditory and visual processing methods for effective training videos. Image via LinkedIn Sales Solutions.

By definition, training videos are videos designed to educate an audience about a particular topic or skill. But they're not always called "training videos." 

Depending on their target audience and overall purpose, training videos might also be called:

Whatever your preferred terminology might be (...to-may-toto-mah-to?), the gist of training-based video content is exactly the same: to teach something to someone — usually by explaining, demonstrating, showcasing, or providing concrete examples.

What about interactivity?

So what are interactive training videos, you might be wondering? Well, they’re still videos and they still have the same primary purpose; the difference is that they can’t just be passively watched.

Instead, interactive videos are two-way conversations in which the viewer is prompted (or even required) to interact with the content in some way.

They might need to answer a multiple-choice question, write out a free response, or participate in a live poll. Whatever the specific interaction happens to be, the viewer now plays an integral role in the learning experience. 

Interactive videos are great for any kind of teaching or training environment, but they’re especially helpful in situations where the results need to be quantifiable and measurable. Think employee L&D, where the quality of job training directly impacts critical KPIs like staff retention, customer satisfaction, workplace safety, and overall profitability.

Why interactivity is key for training videos

Woman typing on tablet while watching interactive training videoImage via Christina @ wocintechchat.com

Video-based training is a huge step up from conventional training programs — but at the same time, traditional video can only take you so far. Make your videos interactive, though, and you’ve got a recipe for relevant, meaningful, and collaborative training experiences.

Here are five reasons why interactivity instantly levels up any video training program.

1. Interactive videos hold learner attention

This one’s common sense, right? We all pay more attention when we’re expected to participate, and interactive videos put participation front and center.

By prompting learners to respond to questions in real time, interactive videos turn passive video-watching into active learning. Whether they’re watching a recorded webinar or an on-the-job reenactment, employees are encouraged to think more deeply about what they’re watching — which makes learning stick!

Take it from the learners themselves: 82% of employees say that interactive videos hold their attention better than traditional ones.

2. Courses can be more personalized

One of the most common frustrations around employee training is a lack of relevance — but interactivity makes it easy to personalize training content so that employees get real value out of the experience.

For example, you can create branched learning pathways based on how an employee responds to specific interactions. (Maybe a correct answer progresses you forward to the next video in the series, while an incorrect answer routes you instead to a more thorough review.)

You could even build entirely separate courses — each with their own in-video assessments and certifications — based on the employee’s job title, previous performance ratings, or preferred learning method.

Why does personalized learning matter? According to LinkedIn, personalized content ranks among employees’ top three most effective motivators for learning. 

3. Interactive videos empower collaboration

A major benefit to conventional on-site L&D is the interpersonal element. Employees can interact with one another to share experiences, solve problems, and build supportive relationships. You can’t get this facetime with traditional asynchronous media, but you can with interactive video! 

Through online discussion forums, real-time audience response, and peer review, interactive videos build that sense of camaraderie and allow employees to learn from each other — any time, anywhere.

Adding a social element to your training program is one of the best ways to increase engagement and retention. Top L&D managers agree: 91% report that “employees who learn together are more successful.”

4. Interactivity unlocks rich L&D data

If you’re teaching through a traditional lecture or on-demand video format, it’s difficult to gauge how well learners are actually learning. Are they absorbing concepts? Which ideas need reinforcement? Can learners confidently apply this knowledge to day-to-day job scenarios?

By adding interactions to your training content, you get the answers. In fact, if you’re using PlayPosit by WeVideo, you can monitor progress in real time if you want to! (And if you don’t, you’ll always have a detailed record of every learner’s progress and performance in your analytics dashboard.)

Compare these L&D results with longer-term job data, and you can demonstrate measurable long-term impact on skills, behaviors, and performance.

A study by McKinsey found that only 30% of companies track any kind of metric around L&D. Is it any wonder so many training programs are falling short of their full potential?

5. Interactive videos support ongoing training

Effective training can’t be done just once. Employees need time to apply their knowledge in real-world contexts — and they need to be evaluated on how well they’ve integrated what they’ve learned.

Standard video can’t offer this ongoing evaluation piece, and though in-person training programs can, it’s often extremely expensive to carry out. Cue interactive video! 

After training, have employees submit their own videos for feedback from a supervisor. Allow peers to comment to provide constructive feedback, and then save the video to a shared cloud — giving your entire team an anytime, anywhere L&D library.

Ongoing training is a must, too, as 55% of employees say they need continued training to perform their job duties well.

The bottom line behind interactive training videos

So what can interactive training videos accomplish, beyond the obvious layer of teaching students a skill or concept? Here's just a small sampling: 

  • Satisfy employees by providing more meaningful career development
  • Help retain staff thanks to better training and upskilling opportunities
  • Help you calculate the ROI of training initiatives
  • Establish workplace community and company culture 
  • Drive traffic to your website or platform
  • Educate and empower customers
  • Heighten engagement with your brand
  • Create quality outcomes in the workplace
  • Gain customer satisfaction and loyalty

Especially for organizations concerned with staff retention, video training is an absolute must.

After all, studies show that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development through relevant, high-quality training. And every employee retained means less money and energy spent on hiring, more resources available for deeper organizational goals, stronger institutional knowledge, and a greater sense of community and culture.

Not bad for something as simple as video training!

5 tips to create more effective interactive video training

Women using laptops to make and watch training video contentWith just a few guidelines in place, you'll have the most effective training videos. Image via Kylie Haulk.

Make better interactive training videos by following these five simple tips.

1. Know your audience

The goal of any training video is, of course, to teach your learners. And to do that, you have to know those learners. 

As a content creator or L&D manager, ask yourself:

  • Who are your students?
  • Why are they taking these online courses?
  • What skill or knowledge do they want to gain from your content?
  • What do they already know?
  • What are the most common misconceptions or points of confusion?

Maybe your course learners are staff members taking mandated employee training. Maybe they're new users/customers of your software platform. Maybe they're random people perusing YouTube.

It doesn't matter who you're reaching — it only matters that you speak to their needs as specifically as possible. If you aren't sure about their needs, do research before you even think about jumping into any video editing software.

2. Define & explain the learning objectives

Every training video you create should be based on clear learning objectives. You should know exactly what you're planning to convey in the allotted time — and then communicate that plan to the viewer!

In other words, why should learners commit the time and effort to watch this specific video? What will they walk away knowing?

It's a good idea to review the learning objectives verbally as well as through writing — on-screen video annotations or text captions are perfect for this. If you're posting your tutorial to a video platform or other eLearning software, you can list the learning objectives in the video notes, too.

3. Consider the video length

There are many different types of training videos, so there's no one-size-fits-all rule for exactly how long each video should be. Generally speaking, training videos will be longer than something very bite-sized (like an Instagram Reel or TikTok video)...but shorter than something very lengthy (like an-hour long webinar or multi-hour lecture).

We know, those guidelines aren't the most specific. If you're a hard-numbers-only kinda person, then try to keep most training videos around 3–6 minutes. Depending on the demographic and topic, though, you may need to go up to 20 minutes or more.

The best advice is to let the content itself guide the length of your online learning experience. Make the video just long enough to explain the concept, give an example or demonstration, and address common questions — and no longer!

If you’re developing a training video library or a full suite of online courses, consider splicing up your clips in short-but-sweet increments so folks can follow along without losing interest.

4. Keep it simple

Here's a good rule of thumb: easy-to-follow courses are completed courses.

In other words, the more straightforward your training content is, the more effective it will be — not only in terms of course completion but also knowledge retention, learner satisfaction, and all that good stuff.

Here are some guidelines to keep your training video as simple as possible:

  • Use clear, easy-to-understand language.
  • Support spoken text with on-screen captions, annotations, or explanatory notes.
  • Add animations to call attention to the most important part of a clip (especially if you're showing a screen recording).
  • If the video is long, add an interactive table of contents so viewers know what to expect and can self-navigate.
  • Keep transitions, motion titles, and other video effects subtle enough that they don't distract.

5. Be intentional about interactivity

As we discussed in great detail above, interactivity is a powerful way to not only engage learners but also to get data related to progress and performance. To get the most meaningful data, though, it’s important to be thoughtful about the interactions you add. 

For each possible interaction, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the most important takeaway for the learner? — Make sure you’re testing something useful and relevant (not just the minute details).
  • Is this a concept that needs simple recall, or does it require more complex application? — True-false or multiple-choice questions are good for recall, while open responses are better for analysis.
  • Would the learner benefit from peer input here? — Add a timestamped discussion forum to encourage peer-to-peer learning.
  • Would a reflective pause help? — Add a forced break so learners can think about the concepts being presented before speeding ahead.

Keep in mind that interactivity can go beyond assessments within a single video module, too.

For example, to evaluate knowledge retention in a deeper way, you could have learners create their own videos explaining a concept or recording themselves completing a task. This approach gives staff a more active role and allows for immediate supervisory feedback.

How to make your first interactive training video

Man in casual button-up and black jeans stands on a stage with a presentation format and blue curtain behind him.Educate any audience on any skill with an elevated training video. Image via Product School.

Make an amazing training video — no matter the subject area or industry — by following these six steps.

1. Map out the content

What are you trying to teach with this tutorial? What are the core learning objectives? Is this enough content for one video, or would it be better as several videos spread across eLearning courses?

These are the kinds of questions you can only answer by taking the time to create an outline. Put it on paper, type it on your computer, make a mind map — whatever works for your planning style.

Just make sure you think carefully about the following big-picture pieces:

  • Who the video is for
  • The overarching skill or concept being taught
  • How to break that concept down into digestible learning objectives
  • The type of training video that is most suitable for this topic
  • How you'll assess mastery or understanding

Now's the time to think about anything tangible you'll need for filming, too: locations, people, equipment, screen recording or narration tools, etc.

2. Write the script

Once you've mapped out your training video's content, you're ready to write the script. Remember to keep the language as simple as possible; use short, active sentences and avoid the temptation to cover too many disparate topics.

Here's a good rough guide for any training video script: 

  1. Start by introducing the overarching topic.
  2. Name the learning objectives.
  3. Explain the concept or skill.
  4. Demonstrate the concept or skill.
  5. Demonstrate the concept or skill in another way.
  6. Directly address any common mistakes, concerns, or FAQs.
  7. Summarize the learning objectives.

And don't forget a call-to-action! Many people think that a learning video has no call-to-action — but it can (and should).

Always provide a logical next step for learners, whether that's watching the next video in the course, downloading a related resource, or contacting you for a sales demo.

3. Film the footage

Filming comes next! The exact steps for this will depend on the type of instructional video you're creating: live-action, screen recording, instructor-led lecture, reenactment, etc.

You might need to set up a studio-quality shoot, grab your iPhone for some off-the-cuff footage, or do a quick screen recording. Don't be afraid to capture some extra footage, either — it can come in handy in the video editing step.

If your tutorial content is longer or more complex, you can always draw up a quick storyboard before you actually film. 

4. Edit your video

With your recording all done, it's time to turn that raw footage into an effective training video. Hop into the WeVideo editor and follow this step-by-step process:
  1. Start a new project or choose a tutorial video template.
  2. Upload your footage, photos, or other media. (Or choose from our well-appointed stock library!)
  3. Edit out any audio mistakes if needed.
  4. Customize your clips with text, animations, background music, transitions voiceover narration, and more.
  5. Choose your preferred video resolution and download.

5. Add interactivity

If you want to create interactive training videos (and, trust us, you do!), then export your video directly from WeVideo to PlayPosit. 

Within the PlayPosit editor, you can add all kinds of interactions to your training videos, including:

  • Multiple-choice quizzes
  • Fill-in-the-blank questions
  • Reflective pauses
  • Audience response polls and surveys
  • Free response questions
  • And many more

You can also create interactive tables of content and jump links to help learners navigate the training course. To provide more context or further learning, upload docs, PDFs, links, and other resources alongside your video content.

Pro tip: With PlayPosit, you can add interactive assessments to any video on the internet, not just the ones you’ve created yourself! Grab a link from YouTube and then add interactivity in the PlayPosit editor — perfect for supplementing your own in-house content with billions of videos online.

6. Get it in front of people

You've done the work; now train the people! Take your newly created training video and put it in front of your audiences.

Depending on your workflow, target audience, and need for confidentiality, you could post your training video on:

  • YouTube or Vimeo
  • Your company's online course platform
  • Your company's internal comms network
  • LinkedIn Learning (or another public instructional forum)

As learners work through your training video, keep tabs on how well they're gaining the knowledge or skills you're teaching. (Learner analytics definitely help for this!) Then make adjustments as needed to continue offering the most engaging and effective learning experience possible.

More reasons to turn your training content into videos

Two women watching training videos while smiling and sitting at tableWe all love videos — and they work better! Image via Surface.

It’s clear that interactivity brings some massive benefits for workplace training — but video alone is a huge step in the right direction, too!

Here are five more reasons to make training videos.

1. People love videos

It should come as no surprise that people like video. Not just like — love. Billions of videos on YouTube, millions of people making TikTok videos, the explosive growth of Insta Reels and Facebook Stories...these are just a few indicators that video content is king (training-related or not!). 

Even more proof? YouGov reports that 72% of people would prefer to watch a video compared to reading text.

Beyond the enjoyment factor, though, there's another key component to this love for video-based training: the fact that it works better, too! Studies have found that eLearning increases knowledge retention by up to 60%.

2. Employees expect videos

In our modern multimedia world, video-based learning is expected in work environments, whether you're a small business or large enterprise organization.

After all, with access to TV, computers, phones, iPads, smart watches, and the like at home, tech exposure begins in preschool. And when so much of our lives are lived through digital media, not having a video-based corporate training program can seem old, disengaging, or ineffective. 

Here's the bottom line. To satisfy (and retain) your employees, you need to give them what they want: video training.

3. Video saves money

Which sounds more cost-effective to you? Planning and running a two-day, face-to-face training workshop for employees twice a year, or creating a video-based training course and then sending it to your staff by email? 

Yep, that's what we thought!

In terms of financial inputs, there's simply no comparison between traditional classroom instruction and online training videos. Even if you only replace one face-to-face training event with an on-demand video course, those savings can be significant — especially when scaled across multiple departments, teams, and years.

4. Video is engaging

Training videos are often misperceived as generic pre-recorded lectures, but they don’t have to be. (Nor do your recruiting videos.)

With video-based online courses, you're free to go far beyond the typical boring slide deck or talking-head lecture. You can throw in some explanatory captions, add some engaging animations, insert some images and video clips, and embed some attention-grabbing interactions to keep learners on their toes. 

All it takes is the right online video editor

5. Video is flexible

Gone are the days of a rigid classroom-based learning experience. Especially when bundled into self-paced asynchronous courses, interactive video training lets learners take control of their own path. 

Students can watch video training any time, anywhere. For employees, this flexibility is especially critical — allowing them to go through the company's L&D content at a pace that fits their needs.

After all, we don't all learn at the same pace, and we don't all need the same level of reinforcement! The flexibility inherent to video training makes true learner engagement much more likely.

Level up your training videos with interactivity 

Whether it’s your first or 400th training video, there are always ways to enhance your delivery — and for organizations of all sizes, interactivity is the perfect place to start.

Interactive videos represent the best both of instructional worlds. They're flexible, cost-effective, and convenient (like all self-paced videos are), but they're also more engaging, more active, and more easily evaluated (like most face-to-face learning experiences are).

Best of all?

They’re easy to create in PlayPosit! Take any video, add dozens of meaningful interactions, and get up-to-the-minute data on learner performance. That’s the recipe for professional learning that sticks — and for L&D programs that deliver measurable ROI again and again.