Employees love learning by video, unfortunately they also love being distracted

Jeff Rubenstein on how to win back employees’ attention with video.

Reading time: 4 minutes

There’s no doubt that the internet has made the world smaller and also accelerated the pace at which we live, learn, and work.

In fact, just search online for the “age of distraction” and see how quickly you get distracted by the many articles about how to deal with the way we live now.

Focusing is a challenge, not only for us as individuals, but also for companies and employees, especially when it comes to learning.

While many of the responsibilities we perform at work either involve tasks learned in school or skills acquired on the fly, sometimes we still need to spend time in the classroom as our careers develop.

For many companies, training solutions rely heavily on video because video offers a way to ensure that every employee receives the same exact training while also allowing them to access knowledge at a time most convenient for them.

72% of employees don’t give training videos their full attention

In fact, video training is so popular, Kaltura’s new survey on Video and Learning at Work: The State of Video in the Enterprise has found that over 90% of employees have received workplace training that way.

Unfortunately, to return us to the issue of distraction, 72% of these same employees also admit they don’t always give videos 100% of their attention. 

Since video isn’t going anywhere soon – 88% of employees in the survey said they see video use at their companies growing or holding steady, and 69% say they prefer learning via video vs a written document – the challenge now falls to employers to make sure that videos are effective, engaging, and holding employee attention long enough to get their message across.

The issue of possible inattention to video content seems at least somewhat linked to worker age. Kaltura’s survey found that while 44% of employees in the Baby Boomer generation say they always pay attention to training videos, that number drops to between 23 and 25% for Gen X, Gen Z, and Millennial employees.

This should not be taken to reflect the work ethic of different generations. Rather, for those that grew up using the internet, multitasking in work and educational spaces may be more of a given. Additionally, multitasking does become more challenging as we age.

So, if workers vastly prefer video training, but aren’t always fully engaged with it, what’s the answer?

Looking to how marketers and advertisers design their online video content can provide us with some help, despite the very different purpose of their content.

Thoughtcast Media, for example, offers five key tips for keeping viewers engaged. But while some – such as variation in visuals and having more than one speaker on a video – are easily applicable to corporate training scenarios, others aren’t. After all, we want our workplace training videos to get the job done, not be controversial!

Look at how marketers and advertisers design their online video content

One way to keep viewers engaged, especially those who are used to multitasking because of intense internet familiarity and participation, are interactive features in training videos. This help keep employees focused on the video content, even when that content is longer in length (a frequent cause of attention drop-off).

Kaltura’s survey found that 82% of employees felt that interactive videos held their interest better than traditional videos.

Different interactive features offer different benefits to training, and there’s no reason your organisation can’t employ more than one strategy – even in a single video.

Quizzes as a part of a learning video have the advantage of providing easy-to-understand, measurable results. Not only does the requirement to answer questions embedded in a video force the employee to keep the video on screen, but the quizzes themselves offer a way to evaluable whether knowledge has been obtained.

But interactive features can also be a lot more fun than testing.

Some video platforms now allow training videos to be presented in a choose your own adventure style. This helps employees learn not just at their own pace, but in the way that makes the most sense to them.

This can also provide data to your organisation about what order people prefer to learn material in, helping you to refine your corporate training programme over time.



Making sure training videos look and function in the same way as content that keeps employees entertained on the internet can also be key to keeping staff focused on training videos.

Offering a comments area for discussion, encouraging work-appropriate memes, and even throwing in some cats can all be a reasonable part of your training plan. 

New tools that allow you to create clickable areas in videos can also help employees self-guide their learning and stay focused as they engage with video as a chance for discovery instead of a homework assignment.

In this age of the internet, we all have to battle distraction, but sometimes the way to win means choosing not to fight.

Instead, we can improve our learning and working experiences by using technology to lean into the way we live now by mimicking what makes being online so powerful.


About the author

Jeff Rubenstein is VP of product for at Kaltura






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